Dr. Levy's CBT Blog
Insights on Well-Being, Contentment, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
I'll start with the bad news. If you are standing in one place waiting to find motivation before you take a step in any direction, you won't find it. We all think that we need to have motivation in order to move forward. The reality is, we don't.
I imagine that you brush your teeth every day, right? And how motivated do you feel each night before bedtime to pick up your toothbrush? Do you say to yourself, "I am looking forward to brushing my teeth tonight...and tomorrow night...and the day after?..." Probably not. Yet, you still do it. No motivation. Instead, just willingness to do what needs to be done.
To move forward in any direction, we need willingness. A stance of seeking movement even when you don't feel like it. Doing things because they need to be done, not because you're excited, giddy, or moved to do it. Odds are that once you get moving, motivation will follow. But you simply don't need it in order to get started.
That said, the New York Times just published an interesting article on small tasks that you can do to enhance your motivation. Note that all of them require you to take a step before you are motivated in order to find that motivation. Some ideas include rewards and treats, looking for meaning, relying on social support or competition, and using self-compassion. Check it out here.
Along those lines, in TEAM-CBT we have some really cool tools that can help with the procrastination that comes with lack of motivation, including Cost-Benefit Analysis, Triple Paradox, Devil's Advocate, and Problem-Solution techniques. You can learn more about them in therapy or independently through Dr. Burn's books.
Dr. Daniele Levy is a licensed psychologist offering CBT via Teletherapy from Menlo Park, CA. Her background uniquely combines leading edge training in behavioral sciences with deep expertise coaching and mentoring working professionals in dynamic organizations.