How Do I Motivate Myself?

by Alexia Camfield on April 23, 2015

How Do I Motivate Myself?

How Do I Motivate Myself?

One of the most common struggles I hear from my clients is regarding self-motivation. How often have you found yourself grappling with how to get yourself moving along the path towards accomplishing something that you have repeatedly identified as being something you want to make happen? I want to offer you some coaching ideas about how to end the madness!

To start, motivation is an inside job. External motivators can serve as behavioral rewards and influence our desire to behave in a certain way but true motivation comes from an internal source. Motivation is an energy we generate in how we choose to approach the pursuit of whatever it is we desire. This energy comes from how we are thinking and feeling as we consider bridging the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

I want to share some of the top motivation squashing themes I regularly hear my clients struggle with:

  1. Feeling overwhelmed. Thinking that the tasks required to achieve the results desired will be exhaustive and not enjoyable.
  2. Feeling discouraged. Reviewing past evidence in which they have had the same goals yet either not followed through or hit up against barriers ultimately not accomplishing their desired goal.
  3. Feeling defeated before even starting. The focus is on the size of the gap between the starting point (where they are now) and the desired end point.
  4. Feeling lost. “I don’t even know where to start.”
  5. Feeling inadequate. So often my clients compare their starting point to people they have identified who have accomplished or already made progress in the same endeavors.

Do you see a theme here? The feelings that kill motivation (overwhelmed, discouraged, defeated, lost, inadequate) are generated by the thoughts around the pursuit of what we want. So, the good news is, if we want to generate better feelings (motivational feelings) we just have to work on generating better thoughts. If you would like a refresher on the coaching model click here.

Some of the steps I encourage clients to take to create motivation for themselves include:

  1. Take a step back from pushing the process and look at what it is you are wanting to accomplish and why. What inspires you about this? Inspiration is the spark to any motivation. Identify as many things as you can that inspire you about what you are wanting to accomplish. Write these things down. Pen to paper. We make a different, stronger connection when we write that when we just allow thought to happen.
  2. Identify the thoughts and feelings that are killing your motivation. Review the coaching model and work on cleaning up any thinking that is not serving you. Take it even further by working on identifying thoughts that work to generate motivating feelings. (hint: you can’t get to the better thoughts without first cleaning up the oppositional ones)
  3. When you think you don’t know what to do, that is a lie, you do know what to do. Change your thinking. You do know what to do. That is one of the BEST pieces of coaching advice I could ever give you. Take action. Brainstorm a list of 10 things you can do to start. 10 ideas or actions that you could do. Don’t over think them. You don’t have to commit to them. Get a list going. Use this strategy over and over anytime you aren’t sure what to do. Pen to paper. Don’t stop until you get to 10. Even if you have 9 good ones. TEN.
  4. Pick one thing you can do today. Even if it is super, tiny. One thing you can commit to today. Pick 3 things you can do this week. You can pick more but highlight the THREE that you will commit to for this week. Schedule these on your calendar. Pen and paper. Any extras are an awesome bonus.
  5. Weekly pick a day and time you are going to devote to repeating this process. All of the steps above. This is your professional staff meeting with yourself about this important topic. If you are working with a coach or a therapist or have a friend who is an accountability partner it can be helpful to use them to feel accountable to the process. This can be a great use of external supports. I also want you to strengthen your internal supports and a weekly me myself and I meeting needs to be on your calendar for the rest of your life. It is one of my favorite times of the week. I like to meet with myself on Fridays as it gets me excited about the week to come and frees me up to enjoy some play time over the weekend.
  6. Create visual cues. Write yourself little notes or place pictures or quotes in places that remind you of the specific goal you are working on. Put a sticky note in your day book or in your car or create a screen saver that helps to spark the reminder of what inspires you to have this goal in your life.
  7. Finally, record your progress and celebrate your victories. Compare yourself to yourself. Work to break through your own personal bests. Look to others for inspiration but avoid comparison. Expect that there will be setbacks. Know that there will always be another list of 10 things you can do to move forward. Know that even though others can help you with ideas for that list you yourself already know what to do to get started. It’s all about how and what you choose to think.

If you somehow are still stuck, don’t go it alone. Share your plight with a few people you trust and just be willing to hear any feedback they have. There is always a way to ignite your motivational resources. As always I am excited to hear about what you are working on in your lives. Email me!

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Strategies for having the life you want: Pie & Gratitude

by Alexia Camfield on November 17, 2014

“With the rising of the sun you ask, what will I make of this new day?” – Oprah
I can’t think of better November topics with Thanksgiving almost here than Pie and Gratitude! In October I was invited to attend Oprah’s Life You Want Weekend. It was set up like a classroom / workshop and in addition to Oprah there were several key speakers or teachers who shared insights into navigating our lives and the challenges we are presented with in a way that we are ultimately able to co-create lives we want.

The “trailblazers” (as she calls them) that Oprah had working with her for the Life You Want Weekend in Houston were Deepak Chopra, Rob Bell, Elizabeth Gilbert and Iyanla Vanzant. It was an impressive group and each one had valuable information to teach. I have included what I took away as a top piece of information from each in my Inspired section as well as the current books they are known for under On My Bookshelf.

One of the workshop activities included a pie chart. I use pie charts regularly with clients as a way to get a visual of where the energy of their daily lives is divided. The pie chart is also great for helping us see that anything we want to add will impact the size of the existing slices.

Life Pie:

  1. Think about all of the areas of your life today. List the most important ones.
  2. Draw a fairly large circle in the middle of a piece of paper. Divide it into slices based on the areas you identified as being important and with consideration to the amount of space each area is taking up in your life.
  3. Based on how you feel about each slice, make notes to the side about what changes you would like to see as well as highlighting any areas you feel positively about.
  4. Draw another pie chart with the considerations of the observations above. Have this pie chart represent the life you want. Notice if any ideas jump out at you for ways to move closer to this version.
  5. Repeat or reflect on this exercise regularly.

Last month I recommended the book “Start” by Jon Acuff. This book is about breaking out of average work and into great work. One of the best points Jon makes is that we need to be able to weigh in and start where we are without self-criticism. He believes when we start where we are we have a much better chance of getting where we want to be. I couldn’t agree more. So, as you reflect on the pie that is your life today, remember to look at this as information so that you can work towards a pie that better reflects the life you want. Try to refrain from critical thinking about what your start looks like.

As important as working towards co-creating the life you want is, taking the time to reflect on what is going well in your life can also have a very positive impact. Keeping a daily gratitude journal has been shown to increase happiness, energy, optimism, overall well-being and empathy. It has also been shown to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. The studies I have seen recommend 30 days of noting 3 gratitudes each day. There are many app’s out now that make it easy to cultivate this habit. I like Gratitude 365: because it has an option for a photograph entry each day as well as a list feature. The gratitude365app makes it convenient and fun and reminds me not to take for granted all that is good in each day.

“With the setting of the sun my heart is filled with gratitude at yet another day to live on purpose.” – Oprah


I have so much gratitude at all that I have learned this month and the opportunity to continue working on growing my life. I included a copy of my current life pie above. I would love to see yours! Bring it in or email me.

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“I’m Late! I’m Late!”

October 29, 2014 Both Sides of the Couch

Whenever I have a client come to me for help with being on time, I cringe because I too share this problem. Regardless of how early I start my day, I typically begin slipping into a pattern of falling behind schedule which has a tendency to snowball until there is a break in the day […]

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How to Get More Hours in Your Day

September 22, 2014 Both Sides of the Couch

So with Fall in full swing I know my calendar is feeling a bit tight and I wanted to refresh on some of the key strategies for increasing productivity. Each of us has the same 24 hours in a given day and how we manage this resource greatly impacts our quality of life and success […]

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Personality Advantages

August 26, 2014 Both Sides of the Couch

Would you like to know your top two personality advantages? I always work to help my clients be able to identify their strengths. Knowing what we are naturally good at helps us identify how we can be most successful as well as what assets we can draw from to navigate life challenges. I recently was […]

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How to Have a Happy Family

July 29, 2014 Both Sides of the Couch

In graduate school I learned a lot about assessments. Psychological researchers are great at designing tools that allow us to gauge just about anything relevant to being human. One of the more interesting tools I came across was an assessment to measure healthy family functioning. It was broken down into 26 elements and the manual […]

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The Hero’s Journey

June 23, 2014 Both Sides of the Couch

My clients are heroes. The reason I ever get the privilege to know them in the first place is because of their desire to answer a call for change in some important area of their lives. In Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey this is known as the call to adventure. For my clients, this can come […]

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