What to do When Motivation Fades

By Teresa Amaral Beshwate, MPH

Do you remember a time that fear fueled motivation for you? Perhaps it was a diagnosis or a hard-to-hear message from your doctor, or maybe it was a friend’s untimely passing that caused you to rethink your daily habits, sedentary lifestyle, fast-food obsession or love affair with sugar. Fear sent you flying right onto the bandwagon, but only for a short time. Does that sound familiar?

While fear can propel us into action, it has never proven to be a good long-term motivator for anyone.

Fear-based motivation fades quickly and with it, our good intentions for shaping a healthier future.

But did you know that motivation can and should be generated daily? A key first step is having a vision and knowing your why. What do you really want for yourself, more than anything, and why?

Maybe you want a long and healthy life. Why? What would that mean for you and for those who care about you?

Whenever you feel motivated it is because you’re thinking about what you really want and why you want it. That vision is fueling and inspiring you. In other words, your thoughts are producing feelings of motivation and commitment.

Whenever you don’t feel motivated, immediately analyze your thoughts. (Spoiler alert: they have wandered away from your vision and are most likely fixated on some immediate gratification or short-term pleasure which is probably contrary to your vision.)

What is great about thoughts is that we get to choose them. But first we must become more aware of the thoughts we are thinking - especially since they can fly under the radar, completely unnoticed unless we make an active effort to monitor them.

Inventory your thoughts and decide if they are serving or sabotaging your goals. Then simply choose to think those thoughts, on purpose, that serve you best. You can have a daily dose of renewed motivation by simply thinking about your vision and your why. Those purposeful thoughts produce feedings of commitment and motivation, which drive corresponding actions that ultimately get you to the results you want for yourself.

It’s a bit like reviewing and recommitting to your company’s mission statement each morning before you start your workday. Only it’s more important than that – it’s your quality of life and longevity at stake.

Teresa Beshwate