We started tackling many of the common myths about motivation last week. This week let’s use the facts to build a sturdy home for our motivation, one that supports lasting well-being.

image it 2A home such as this begins with a well designed plan and a strong foundation. Our clear vision of well-being is the blueprint that guides the building process. When we consult our vision daily, it keeps us on course.  Successful athletes use visualization to “practice” in their mind running a perfect race and winning. Why not use this skill with our well-being goals by spending a few minutes every morning imagining what it will be like to reach our own definition of optimal well-being – feeling energized, balanced, and happy inside and out, doing things that we enjoy with ease? While helping us to stay on track during the day, visualizing also creates the positive state of mind that promotes health and well-being in the body too.

Next, we need a level surface on which to build. Have you ever been so focused on one part of your life, say, getting ahead in your career or raising children, that other areas such as physical well-being suffered? Focusing all our energy in one area sure gets the job done. However, we often emerge to find that other areas have suffered. Noticing a big jump up on the scale from the holidays triggers a rise in motivation to work on healthy habits and get the weight back down. Motivation soars until … the credit card bill arrives. Suddenly motivation is redirected for financial well-being and motivation for physical well-being fades. The same happens if a family crisis occurs – all motivation goes in that direction. We can feel like a tumbleweed in the desert being tossed around and well-being can seem impossible after a while.

wellbeingAt heart, we want to feel well in all the areas shown in the image on the right. Setting goals with an awareness of how all of these areas are connected, we tap into our natural motivation to achieve balanced well-being.

Finally, our foundation needs to be deep and strong to withstand outside forces. Practicing mindful self-compassion keeps us grounded when forces pull our motivation away from what we really want. Our thoughts about the jump on the scale might sound something like this is terrible, I was so bad over the holidays, I am so mad at myself for getting to this point, I have to be really good now. In our analogy, criticism is a huge sinkhole under our foundation. Initially, beating ourselves up seems motivating. Over time, though, it drains the motivation right out of us. Staying aware with compassion, we respond instead of react, getting back on track while creating a strong internal support system that is always there when we need it.

Activate It:   Take time this week to build a strong foundation for your motivation.

  • Spend a few minutes each morning visualizing how you will feel and what you will be doing at your optimal state of well-being.
  • Jot down how reaching this goal will impact all other areas of well-being.
  • Listen to how you talk to yourself about this goal. What do you say to yourself to get motivated? Ask yourself, is this how I would encourage someone I care about? If not, try rephrasing with compassion and encouragement.
  •  If you are looking to develop more skills for mindful self-compassion, check out the resources page.

May You Be Well,


Janet Huehls, MA, RCEP, CHWC