Motivating Change from Within

When it comes to any major change, the truth is you have to actually want it within yourself in order for it to last. This goes for any kind of change, big or small. You can't form a new habit and make it long-lasting if you're doing it for someone else. You have to recognize where you're at, look deeply at the issue you're dealing with, and decide how you'd like it to look differently.

Wave The Magic Wand

Pretend you have a magic wand. After you use it, the change process is complete and you're where you want to be. What does it look like? What is different? Think about this for a second. Journal about it so you can go back to it.

Scale Your Motivation

Ask yourself this question: "On a scale of 1-10, how much do I want that change?" Follow up this question by asking yourself, "Why am I at this number, and not zero?" Use the answer to this question to begin the "change talk" process. 


All humans experience ambivalence at one time or another. Ambivalence is when you see the reasons for doing something, but you also see the reasons not to do something, so you often end up doing nothing. Ambivalence is a common place for many individuals, so if you're there - you're not alone. Here are some examples of ambivalence: (NOTE: These thoughts do not usually occur together. We go back between these statements in our minds often, sometimes hour by hour, sometimes day by day): 

"I'm never drinking again, I hate being hungover and it's expensive." 
"Is it Friday yet? I need to get drinks with my friends ASAP."

"I hate feeling bloated and sluggish after I eat ice cream. I need to give up dairy."
"Cheese is my favorite food. I could never stop eating dairy."

"I wish I exercised more. I want to be healthier."
(Insert literally any reason not to exercise here)

You get the picture. Sustain talk versus change talk. 

Change Talk vs. Sustain Talk

Talking about the problem is helpful to some extent. When you talk about the problem, you're on your way to finding what the issue really is. From this, people often realize what exactly it is they want to change. Once you identify what it is you want to change, talk about it! "Sustain talk" is when you continue rehashing the issue over & over. "Change talk" is when you are able to identify what you'd like to see happen differently. 

Notice the difference between:

"I need to stop buying clothes, I'm spending way too much money" 
"I am going to start putting $40 per week into a savings account" 

Goal directed language takes you further. 

Get Specific

Basic enough: turn "I want to lose weight" into, "I want to exercise 4-5x a week for 30 minutes each time". "I want to eat better" becomes "I am going to eat 4-5 servings of vegetables a day". If you're the type of person that runs late, you might be thinking: "I need to be more on time"; instead, be specific: "I'm going to set my alarm earlier to leave the house 10 minutes before schedule". 

cELEBRATE The Small Stuff

And the big stuff. If your goal is to eat 4 servings of veggies a day, and you eat 3, which is two more than you were usually eating, be excited about your success rather than beating yourself up for being one serving short. When you make it through a work week and get there on time each morning, celebrate that by rewarding yourself! Work toward something. Maybe it's your favorite flavor kombucha at the end of the day or maybe at the end of the week you get that cute scarf you've been looking at (unless of course, saving money is your goal ;) If this is the case, an act of self-care is just as rewarding!). Tangible items and experiences help remind you that you are doing the best you can, and you are succeeding!