Finding Motivation in the Journey

I was listening to a conversation on a podcast the other day. Both participants talked about how they are motivated by the journey of change. They are curious about implementing a change, and seeing what eventuates, what is different, and how it is different.

I thought this was a very interesting approach. Pulling back from focussing just on the final result, while truly experiencing, and being motivated by the change itself. I equated this to how I changed my mindset around long car journey’s. When I was younger, it was all about the destination, how soon could I get there, how tedious the miles of open road were, and how bored I was sitting behind the wheel for hours on end. Now I savour the journey itself. When planning my route, I see what points of interest are on the way, what stops I might take for meals and whether I want to break my journey with an overnight stopover. I include the journey as part of my holiday, and not a barrier to it.

How might this approach look when making a lifestyle change? Instead of using your desired outcome as your sole motivation, you could tap into being motivated by the process, because everyone’s experience is going to be different. Some get the quick and clear outcomes they are aiming for when making change, some experience positive outcomes they didn’t expect, and still others experience no discernible change. In any case celebrating the process is worthwhile. Sure, if you were hoping to lose some weight, and that didn’t happen, you would not be as happy as if you had lost the weight, but you can celebrate that you set a plan in motion, you followed the plan and you adopted a healthy habit. You probably improved your health in some way, even if you cannot identify that improvement through weight loss.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by a change, you could feel curious about it.  You could recognise you may go through some stages of discomfort, boredom or euphoria.  You may even greet these, as a sign of progress, and be curious as to what you may feel tomorrow – will this feeling stay, go, diminish or grow? At the very least it is evidence you are on the journey. It is also an opportunity to learn more about yourself as a person, and your body and how it adapts to the particular change you are making.

If motivation is solely based on outcome, there is a risk you are more likely to give up, when the results don’t match your desires. Finding motivation to support your health goal is vital to succeeding to make change. If you are thinking about making a change, and are looking to increase your motivation, maybe focusing on the journey will work for you. Are you curious to find out?