Let's talk about motivation

Helen McGillivray is a psychological therapist with over 28 years of clinical experience, including 14 years providing psychological therapies. She specialises in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Helen is accredited with

The BACBP, the leading organisation for cognitive and behavioural therapies in the UK.

This week, we noticed that motivation is one of the most common positive feelings in our analytics, so let's talk about it.

Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviours. It is what causes you to take action, whether it be getting a glass of water to reduce thirst, reading a book to gain knowledge, or climbing Ben Nevis three times in one day.

We all know that feeling when we get caught up in “I should go for a run” but we frankly cannot be bothered - it's a very familiar battle. It’s the pressure to do something when our thoughts and feelings really don’t want us to. The thoughts I am familiar with sound like “You will not do it well”, “It's too big a task”, “Why bother?”, “You deserve some time off” ... With these thoughts comes feelings of guilt and frustration. We can get consumed with these thoughts without even being aware.

It’s ok. It’s normal we can't feel motivated all of the time. So, let’s stop trying so hard. BUT, if it's something that really matters to you, and is something you value, then just take small steps and keep showing up. Eventually the thoughts will stop shouting, and your actions will become habits. If it matters, these new habits will become part of your routine which might even bring results- this is when motivation happens.

Pay attention to what matters most and your core values. Take action towards those and let the thoughts come and go- we don’t have to pay attention to them.

We never regret going on that run, but we do sometimes (not always) regret the long lie- or is that just me? However, it's just as important to treat yourself with kindness when we do fall prey to the Netflix weekend. We cannot be motivated 365 days of the year, and there is a lot of good stuff on Netflix... be kind to yourself.