Need Motivation? Try a Why-Do List

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Let’s face it, we all struggle with motivation from time to time. Asking questions such as “Why aren’t I more motivated?” or “What is getting in my way of doing this?” result in us rehearsing the reasons we don’t want to do something. Why not create a “Why-Do” list?

  • Start by picking one thing you want to or should be doing but, for whatever reason, are feeling unmotivated.
  • Stubbornly refuse to ask yourself the age-old, rational, yet highly un-motivating questions mentioned above. Asking ourselves the wrong questions, we end up reciting excuses, often leading to inaction or guilt.  
  • Instead, focus on two more positive and motivating questions addressing why you want to do something creating a list to get you to argue in favor of doing the task. 
    • The reasons should be timely, compelling, and personal.
  • Why might I … (go to the gym, quit smoking, change my diet) 
  • Why are these reasons important to me? (The key word being me)

As you will see, the answers help you rehearse the positive reasons for doing something.

Instead of telling yourself, as you might have before this exercise, that you have to start walking because your doctor told you to or because your family wants you to, you may end up with much more personal and motivating reasons such as…

  • I want to walk in the morning because I always feel better when I do. 
  • I want to walk in the morning because my back feels better the rest of the day. 

Your answers help you rehearse positive reasons for doing whatever it is you are struggling with. And the best part about the “Why Do” list? The personally meaningful reasons you come up with help you stay motivated and stick with your goals.

Adapted from Dr. Michael Pantalon Instant Influence technique. “These seemingly irrational questions are part of my very successful, scientifically-proven Instant Influence method (based, in part, on Motivational Interviewing), which has been shown to motivate people from the Emergency Room to the Board Room, from patients with addiction and mental illness in the South Bronx, NY to executives and employees of Fortune 100 companies who are resistant to organizational change, as well as, many other individuals from all walks of life. They may even work for you.  Why might you give it a try?”

Michael V. Pantalon, Ph.D. is an award-winning faculty member and psychologist at Yale School of Medicine.

Author: bestselfcoaching

We are a work in progress. Working to recognize and outgrow limitations, transcend self-limiting beliefs, and reframe dysfunctional thoughts about ourselves, who we think we should be, and who society assumes we are. This doesn't stop as we get older. As a coach, fitness expert, and change agent, I help people harness their strengths and navigate transitions. Whether it is taking charge of your health or getting unstuck to define the next chapter in your life Best Self Coaching is your partner.

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