What Drives us
More Than Anything?

What drives us more than anything else? People always talk about motivation. I am not sure such a thing exists the way we like to think about it. I believe that our emotions fuel our ‘motivation’ for better or for worse. We are emotional creatures whether we like to admit it or not.

The more powerful our emotions are, the stronger our motivation will be. So let’s explore some popular emotions that tend to drive us to action. Negative emotions are great at getting us started with change, but positive emotions help us to continue the change. I will explain how you can use both to your advantage here.


1.      Disgust.  One Monday after a weekend of eating and drinking, you wake up and discover in horror that none of your pants fit. “That’s it’!” You declare. “I’m going on a diet. I’m hitting the gym.” You might do this for a few days, but then your pants feel a little better, and you look longingly at that desert and you just really want it. Your disgust has dissipated somewhat so it’s no longer enough to motivate you. At this point, if you can manage to use positive emotion to your advantage, it will help you stay the course. For instance, notice how good it feels to be able to slip into your pants rather than have to squeeze into them. Notice how your complexion glows after your workout. Notice how refreshed you feel after a snack of fresh fruit rather than a muffin. Allow the feedback you’re getting from your environment be the focus. Also, keep in mind the end goal of how you want to look and feel. Rather than just think about how you don’t want to look (disgust) think about how you’d like to look at your best and imagine that. Use that as your positive emotion.


2.      Embarrassment.  Say that your whole family is going on a trip that involves a small hike. Everyone else can handle it with no problem; however you need to keep stopping for breaks. You feel embarrassed that you can’t keep up. So you decide to start working out for real. You do it for a couple of days, but eventually the memory of how bad it felt during the hike starts to fade, and you realize you’d rather stay home and watch TV than go to the gym. Now, one thing that can be done to keep this train moving is to allow yourself to do your favorite activity while working out! What if you invested in some inexpensive home exercise equipment, and made a deal with yourself that you won’t watch TV unless you are working out? Or until you have already finished your workout? Your new positive emotion can be pride in taking charge of how you spend your free time and how you order your priorities. Also, keep in mind that the next time your fitness is unexpectedly tested, you will do great!


3.      Fear.  Say that a doctor’s appointment is coming up and you really don’t want to face the music. You haven’t checked your weight in months, but you know it isn’t good. You’re also wondering if your cholesterol is finally over that limit that you were so close to last time. So, you crack down with your nutrition in the couple of weeks leading up to the appointment. However, the appointment comes and goes, and while your weight isn’t great, the doctor didn’t seem terribly distraught. Your cholesterol is still (barely) within range. Your fear goes away and you really just want to go back to the way you were eating before. However, what if you could bottle up the momentum you cultivated and think of it as excitement? Excitement about the fact that if you keep going, by this time next year, the doctor won’t believe how much weight you lost, and your cholesterol hopefully will be right within ideal range. You have 52 whole weeks to do this—so much less pressure! How exciting is that?! Rather than live by dodging bullets, look forward to becoming a superstar!


I hope these tips helped! I know they help me when I choose to tap into them! Please share this article if you found it helpful.

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