Our values tell us what motivates us in a certain way (why is the problem important to you).
When we frame our goal (the words we use) we will either use towards or away from statements. Here are some examples:
TOWARDS - Attain, Gain, Achieve, Get, Include, Towards, Can’t wait to get there, Accomplish, Reward, End Result, Goal, Feeling better about my self, To look more attractive, Want/can/will/should
AWAY FROM - Avoid, Exclude, Recognize, Problem, Don’t like…, Trouble Shooting, Fix, Steer Clear of
Prevent, Solve, Fix, Health problems, Not looking great, Not feeling great, Need, Don’t/can’t/shouldn’t/couldn’t
Towards people are motivated to achieve or attain goals. They have trouble recognising problems. They are good at managing priorities. They move towards something they want.
Away From people focus on what may be and is going wrong. They are motivated to solve problems and have trouble keeping focused on goals. They move away from something they don’t want.
Away From people might frame their goal as ‘I need to get fitter’ or ‘I need to look good’ or ‘I need to fix this’ or ‘I shouldn’t be eating that’. They are looking at it from a negative point of view point. When using away from statements the motivation when you move away from the problem goes down. As you start to lose weight the problem lessens because the fear/anger/frustration/irritation/hurt/sadness/guilt diminishes. Some people whose motivation might be to lose weight because they didn’t like what they saw in the mirror started to lose weight but as the image changed (as they started to lose weight) the negative feeling diminished and so would their motivation, so they never reach their target. Have you ever started, stopped, started and stopped again?
Away from motivation will not get you all the way to your goal and it is also stressful to you as you are motivated by negative thinking. Thinking about what you don’t want is self-sabotage (fight or flight).
Another reason why away from strategies don’t work with problems/goals/change is that our unconscious mind does not process negatives. If I ask you not to think of a blue tree, just don’t think of a blue tree, no, don’t think of a blue tree….. I bet you thought of a blue tree. Can you remember a time when you told someone NOT to do something such as ‘don’t spill your drink’ and they spilt the drink? This happens because our unconscious mind removes the word don’t (negative words). We should use more positive language such as ‘be careful with the drink’. In order not to do something our mind has to come up with a representation of doing it, than trying not to do it.
If you focus on something positive and you start feeling better or start losing weight you will continue to move forward. Let’s contrast this with towards motivation; where you know where you’re aiming at, and you really want to get there. If you get knocked off course (as inevitably will happen sometimes), you just correct your course so you’re pointing at the goal again, and keep going. Towards motivation is directional.
As you get closer to your goal, your motivation if anything gets stronger. You’re almost there! It’s nearly within your grasp! Are you going to stop now? Of course not! Towards motivation is consistent. As you move towards your goal or change you are also introducing positive habits (and therefore removing the negative habits) that will ensure your change has a lasting effect.