In this episode, Naomi introduces listeners to the Stages of Change framework, using an example from her personal life to illustrate the stages one can go through when it comes to readiness for change.
She also discusses how being aware of this model can be useful of coaches, managers, health professionals and even individuals when it comes to aspiring to or assisting others with change.
In the last episode of the podcast, we spoke about this whole idea of ‘finding motivation’ – and how motivation doesn’t necessarily stimulate action, but action stimulates motivation.
If you didn’t listen to that episode, and you want to tweak your perspective on motivation in a way that might actually help you find motivation, you might like to go find that one and listen to it now.
Listen to this episode
What you will learn:
- About the stages of readiness using the Stages of Change framework.
- Naomi’s own example from her personal life to illustrate the 5 stages of change.
Featured / Referenced:
Prefer to read? Download the full episode transcript:
Read the full episode transcript:
You are listening to the Dream For Others® podcast with Naomi Arnold, Episode 10.
Dream For Me, Dream For You, Dream For Others®. And now your host, award-winning life and business coach, Naomi Arnold…
Hello there! I can’t believe we are up to Episode 10 in this new format of the podcast already. I hope you’ve been enjoying it so far.
Today I wanted to talk to you about motivation. By the time this episode goes live, it’ll be late March. By this time the motivation we felt in the New Year might be starting to fizzle a little bit.
Those fresh goals and New Year Resolutions might not feel so fresh anymore. That idealistic energy we feel about the potential of the year and the possibility of what it could be might start to be sinking. So I thought it might be the perfect time to talk about motivation with you.
Now motivation is one of those topics that has been studied widely across different field. There are so many different theories and perspectives on motivation – ranging from psychodynamic, to behaviourist, to cognitive, to humanistic, to evolutionary. And then of course you can examine social and cultural influences, the role emotion and thoughts and personality can play, and why one might be motivated in some areas of their life but not in others.
So really, we could do multiple episodes on finding motivation and they could each focus on a different perspective and what practical insight that perspective can offer us.
But today, we are going to strictly focus on the concept of ‘finding motivation’ – because challenging how we think about this can sometimes in itself help us find motivation.
Then maybe in future episodes, if it’s something you would like to dive into a little deeper and understand some more, we could explore different motivation theories. If this is an area that you would like to learn more about, maybe let me know in the comments on the show notes or by tagging me on social media at @naomilarnold #DreamForOthers. You’ll find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest under that handle.
Now what is motivation? That might seem like a simple question, but it really isn’t. And one of the reasons why it isn’t simple is because there is the technical definition of motivation and then there is the way we have been socialised to view motivation and how this then influences our behaviour.
Here is a technical definition of motivation which I quickly pulled from a psychology textbook, edited by Burton, Westen and Kowalski. For those who are curious about which one, I’ll pop a reference in the show notes.
The definition they have in the textbook is: “The moving force that energises behaviour. It involves two components: what people want to do (so, the direction in which activity is motivated) and how strongly they want to do it (so, the strength of the motivation).”
Now the part of the definition that I wanted to emphasise and focus on today was the very first sentence “The moving force that energises behaviour.”
A lot of people seem to think that you either have this force or you don’t. You’re either a motivated person or your not.
They seem to think motivation is this mysterious quality that you have to find – hence the title of this episode, finding motivation.
I mean, how many times have you or have you heard someone else say, “I just find the motivation…” when talking about a goal or a task they need to complete.
And I believe the reason we often can’t find motivation, is because we’ve been taught to view it this way. But that’s not how motivation works.
My Dad, Dr Geoff Arnold, who was previously a counsellor wrote about motivation on my blog in 2015. I’ll pop a direct link to the article in the show notes, for anyone who wants to read his musings on the topic – because I love and totally agree with the way he describes motivation.
He points out that there is a difference between the way we talk about motivation and the way we experience it. So again we talk about it as thing thing that we either have or don’t have, this thing that we need to find or tap into.
He says that we treat motivation like it’s the starting point for action. That once we find it, we’ll act.
But this arguably isn’t what motivation is. We are usually, one might even argue always, motivated by something.
As Dad says, “there is always a stimulus, something that is ‘arousing’ in some sense, something that leads us into the feeling of being motivated. So the motivation comes from the arousal, not the other way around. In other words, we don’t just ‘find motivation’, we first find a stimulating experience and then the motivation follows. It is action-based, the motivated feeling comes from an engagement, a doing of things that will stimulate further activity.”
So this means, motivation isn’t the precursor to action, action is the precursor to motivation.
This can be good news, because it means that we have some control or choice when it comes to motivation. If we want to become motivated, we don’t need to look for this mysterious characteristic, we don’t need to wait for motivation to find us.
We need to make choices, to take action, to do things that will stimulate motivation.
When we’re goal planning, we need to not just think about defining the goal we want to achieve, and the tasks we need to complete in order to achieve it. We also need to think about what actions we can take that will help us feel motivated. We also need to think about what actions might re-inspire motivation when that goal gets hard or when we begin to procrastinate or when our inner critic might be making us back off a little.
This is why when I run goal setting workshops, I will always get participant to create what I call an Emergency Motivation or Inspiration Plan. I also have an old blog post on this topic which I’ll include a link to in the show notes as well.
Basically, that means pre-empting and pre-planning what you can do to stimulate or arouse motivation – particularly during periods when you’re starting to feel unmotivated. This requires you to understand yourself, what works for you, what motivates you – because it might be different to what motivates me.
So some of the things you might like to think about are…
What activities motivate and inspire you? Does being active, moving your body or getting out in nature stimulate motivation?
Does having an accountability buddy or reaching out to a coach, or a therapist, or a personal trainer, or a friend, or a health professional, or a mentor help you move forward?
Does taking a break and sitting outside work? Does focusing on being present, on your breath, on meditating, on journaling about what is making you feel stuck help?
Does asking yourself particular questions that you know will help you in that moment do anything? One question that works for me is – What is one action, one little step, that I can take now to move toward my goal? Even though I’m not feeling motivated, what is one thing that I can do – big or small – right now to stay in the game?
Do affirmations help? Does putting little affirmations and reminders around the house or as alarms on your phone help?
Do habits or rituals support you? And if so, what do you need to do to make these happen?
Does becoming aware of and working through the negative thoughts of your inner critic help – and if so, maybe this is an action, to block out time and go through these.
Is there a playlist that motivates you? Does putting on a song and having a dance break re-energise you?
And when you look at your specific goals, is there anything in particular that you know will support you here? Is there anything you can do to make your environment more conducive to feeling motivated as you strive this goal?
Are there any particular blocks or barriers that you can already foresee might come up, and how can you pre-empt and pre-plan for these?
So this is the message I would like to leave you with today. If you were to view motivation in an active way, rather than in a passive way. If you were to stop waiting for motivation to find you, and to instead take actions that will stimulate motivation, what might that look like? What types of things might be doing if you viewed motivation in this way? What types of things might you stop doing if you viewed motivation in this way?
For me personally, I know that having a solid support network motivates me. And being discerning about who I turn to for the specific support I need in that moment helps – because oh my, it can be unmotivating when you turn to the wrong person for support, even if you love them dearly and they might be the right person for supporting another context.
Taking breaks, getting out in nature, moving my body, stretching, journaling, asking myself that one question – what is one thing I can do. These help motivate me.
Reading. Knowing how I work. That I need to research, study, reflect, plan… Knowing that I won’t be productive or in flow until I do this… Knowing when I tend to lose that motivation, at what stage in the process, and what helps to re-focus and re-engage…helps me.
So I would love, if you’re willing to share, if you would pop into the comments on the show notes page or tag me on social media at @NaomiLArnold #DreamForOthers, and let me know what stimuli, what actions, can you take to arouse motivation? What can you do when you notice you’re dropping the ball on a goal, to refocus and re-engage? I would love to know and who knows you might inspire me and others to take similar actions too.
Now I’m going to return next week with another motivation related episode. But this one will focus on the Motivation to Change theory or Stage of Readiness theory. This episode will be useful to those who get frustrated by others not being motivated. It can be helpful for managers or for coaches or other helping professionals to identify where folk might be situated on the Stages of Motivation or Readiness to Change.
So stay tuned for that episode if it sounds useful to you. Otherwise we’ll be shaking things up with some different topics after that, and then as I said earlier, if this is a topic you’d like to return back to and explore further, just let me know.
I look forward to hearing what motivates you and may it help us in bringing to life our dreams and our dream for others too.
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