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I've been thinking about all you lovely people who started your New Year Resolutions and who have subsequently 'given up'. Starting and stopping something we want to achieve (a goal) is a common occurance for many. Have you ever thought why that might be? Well todays BLOG is all about motivation. Does it resonate with you?

We all have core beliefs; what we believe to be true of ourselves, the world and people around us. Our beliefs go hand in hand with our values. Our values tell us what motivates us in a certain way (why is the problem important to you).

When we frame (the words we use) a goal or something we want to change / achieve we will either use towards or away from statements. Here are some examples:

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; which is a positive direction.

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 ‘is not a direction’.

Away From people might frame their goal as ‘I hate how I feel’ or ‘I need to feel good for others’ or ‘I need to fix this’ or ‘I shouldn’t feel this way’. 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 feel better the problem lessens because the fear/anger/frustration/irritation/hurt/sadness/guilt/pain (negative feeling) diminishes. Some people whose motivation might be ‘to not feel awful anymore and want to feel liked’ and when a person spoke to them once the negative feeling they had diminishes and so does their motivation, so they never reach their target.

Does the following diagram look familiar?

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). An exclusively ‘away-from’ motivated person will stay where they are until the next thing that they dislike comes along and makes them want to move again. Away from motivation is inconsistent; it won’t get you all the way to your goal.

Another reason why away from strategies don’t work with problems/goals/change is that our unconscious mind does not process negatives. If we 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….. Did you think of a blue tree? Can you remember a time when you told yourself NOT to do something such as ‘Don’t panic’ and you panicked? This happens because our unconscious mind removes the word don’t (negative words). We should use more positive language such as ‘I am going to take few deep breaths and let the feeling pass’. In order not to do something our mind has to come up with a representation of doing it, than trying not to do it. Away from motivation is also extremely stressful because to keep yourself motivated you have to constantly think of unpleasant stuff!

If you focus on something positive and you start feeling better or feeling more confident 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.

What to do if you have too much away-from motivation and too little ‘towards':

1. As you think about what you want to get away from, imagine moving it away from you until it’s small and distant. Usually this will reduce unpleasant feelings.

2. Think about what you want instead of what you want to get away from. Get very clear about what this will look like, sound like, and feel like. Adjust your image until you are strongly motivated to get there. Usually imagining a big, bright, 3d picture of it will give you the strongest motivation, especially if you add sound as well.

Alternatively, if this works better for you, write a one-page description of where you want to get to. Revise your description as much as you need to make it really compelling.

3. Check the proportions of your motivation again. If the ‘away-from’ component is still over 30%, imagine that you’ve taken some action already and got some way towards your goal. What does the away-from component feel like now?

4. If imagining what you want doesn’t come easily to you, think about your values – what’s important to you. This should help you to get clearer about what you want.

It is proven that if you consistently do something for 21 days (it could be a little more or less for some people) then it becomes a habit. We are working towards removing the bad habits we have programmed into our unconscious mind and replacing them with more helpful habits. As we have said a number of times, you need to practice, practice, practice.

With Love xxxx

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