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Motivation for Success: Making Changes Last

Finding the motivation to reach our goals can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack. We know it’s there somewhere…but we just can’t seem to obtain it. To address this issue, health coaches and behavior change specialists often use a method called motivational interviewing.This technique allows individuals to resolve ambivalence toward behavior change and toward reaching their goals. It encourages individuals to find internal motivation, a vital component of lasting changes. So there lies the key to finding the motivation you seek. By using various components of motivational interviewing on yourself, you’ll bring yourself one step closer toward your goals.

1. Find Your Why

No matter what your goal or desired behavior change is, there’s a reason behind you wanting to make it or do it. Start making a list. What are some of the positive things about the targeted behavior? How will your life improve after this behavior change is made? How will benefit you from it?

2. Address Your Barriers

So what’s standing in your way? Time to make another list! What’s the downside of making that behavior change? Are there certain things that you would miss if you made this behavior change (i.e. I would miss cookies if I went on a diet to lose 5 lbs.)

3. Do the Pros Outweigh the Cons?

Ask yourself if the positive aspects of the behavior change outweigh the cons. If not, how can you tip the scale in the other direction?

4. Seeing the Big Picture

Think about your life goals. What are your values? Who’s the person that you aim to be? Ask yourself, “If the universe worked in my favor, what would I be doing one year from now? What would my life look like?” When you step back and look at the big picture, you can envision what is truly important. You can envision your goals becoming reality.


When making goals for yourself, they should be SMART! Ever hear of SMART goals? SMART goals are a vital component of making a behavior change. Your goals should be…

S – Specific: who, what, when, where, why

– Measurable: you should be able to track your progress!

– Attainable: is the goal really attainable to you? Think about time, money, resources, etc.

R – Relevant: Why does this goal matter to you? Why do you want to achieve it?

– Time Bound: Set a deadline. WHEN do you want to achieve this by?

Setting SMART goals makes it more likely you’ll achieve those goals. They allow for structure and accountability.

6. Affirm

Your thoughts and words become reality. Choose several positive affirmations for yourself.

“I will achieve these goals”

“I am strong, healthy, and happy”

“I will get this new job”

My affirming your goals, you’ll prepare yourself for actually meeting them. Thoughts are very powerful! They can make or break you. AND they can serve as the burning flame you need to reach your goals.


Written by GUADS staff member Angelina with contributions from yourcoach.be, psychologytoday.com, & motivational interviewing: third edition – helping people change by WR Miller and S Rollnick




















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