I hear this all the time from members and prospective members:
And they’re looking to us to provide it.
No one can “motivate” you. No one. So if you’re looking for me or anyone else to “motivate” you, you’re going to end up disappointed and you’re setting me up to fail.
What I CAN do is help you understand WHY you’re not motivated, and then give you TOOLS for discovering your own motivation.
That’s what a coach is for:
To help you craft a path to success. Which is, in itself, motivating.
Here’s how it works…
Let’s say you want to lose weight but you’re struggling with exercise consistency and sticking to healthy nutrition (and proper sleep and stress management). You’re struggling to stay “motivated.”
The first thing to remember is that it’s not your fault that these practices are difficult for you to maintain. Remember; we evolved and adapted for conditions of scarcity.
We are not biologically adapted to cope with conditions of industrialization, of abundance. So, we overeat and avoid exercise.
The second thing to do is to run the issue through the filter of the Expectancy Value Theory.
The Expectancy Value Theory, in layperson’s terms, basically suggests that the strength of your motivation is based on two factors:
1. How likely you believe you are to be successful doing something
2. How much you feel it will benefit you
Let’s put this into action using the “I want to lose weight but I’m not motivated to stick with my plan” scenario.
Using the Expectancy Value Theory, ask yourself how confident you are that you’ll be successful in your quest to lose weight and how much you feel it will benefit you if you succeed.
You’ll arrive at one of three conclusions:
“I’m really confident that I’ll be successful but I don’t really think it will benefit me that much.”
I’ll use myself as an example for this. I don’t want to lose weight, I’m fine with where I am. I’m confident I can lose weight because I know how to do it and I’ve done it, but it’s not something I feel will be valuable to me.
So, why waste my time pursuing something that doesn’t matter to me?
Formula: High Confidence + Low Benefit = Low Motivation
“I know that losing weight would benefit me greatly; I’d look better, feel better and function better. But I don’t have a lot of confidence in my ability to succeed because I’ve “dieted” and such in the past and I always gain the weight back.”
This is the scenario that I think most people face. They want to lose weight but don’t have a lot of faith that they’ll be successful.
So, why bother doing something if you feel you’re doomed to fail.
Formula: Low Confidence + High Benefit = Low Motivation
“Losing weight would be a huge benefit to me and I have a great plan in place and a great support system, so I’m really confident in my ability to achieve my goal!”
This is the winning formula. This is worth investing time and energy into.
Formula: High Confidence + High Benefit = High Motivation
This is a great tool!
You can use this filter for anything you keep telling yourself you REALLY WANT TO DO but find yourself really struggling to stick to:
- School – “I really want to finish college, but….”
- Dating – “I need to get back out there, but…”
- Finances – “I really need to get on a budget, but….”
Checking things against the Expectancy Value Theory can be a great jumping off place for uncovering why you’re having a hard time seeing something through to the finish line.
It doesn’t answer every question. There are other factors, too. But it’s a great initial step for examining:
- “Do I believe, I mean TRULY believe, that I can accomplish this?”
- “Is this something that will benefit me in a BIG WAY?”
If the answer to the first question is no, then you have a confidence issue. Knowing that gives you the opportunity to examine why. Maybe you just need help.If the answer to the second question is no, then you have a “value” issue. The thing you’re pursuing doesn’t have a lot of value to you. Knowing this gives you the chance to examine the intelligence of continued pursuit, to drop it altogether, or to pivot toward something that really matters to you.
Here are the morals of this story:
If you’re coming to someone else, like a trainer or coach, for “motivation,” you’re screwed. A LOT of research has been done on this. No one can motivate you.
What a coach can do is to provide you with knowledge, with a plan of action, with support when you stumble, with a proven methodology that greatly improves your likelihood of success.
That can contribute hugely to the confidence variable in the Expectancy Value Theory. If their insight, coaching and knowledge increase your confidence in pursuit of something that will really benefit you, that can help to increase your motivation.
But YOU are the one doing it. The coach is just providing the map and the support.
So, in a roundabout way, other people can contribute to your motivation, but they can’t GIVE it to you or provide it for you.
This is just the first layer of the “motivation” onion. Tons of research has been done on motivation theory and for good reason.
If we can unlock the driving forces behind what does and does not motivate us, how to get it, find it, manufacture it, share it, then we will possess POWER when it comes to growth and change.
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