Brook Remote Care

Week 3 – Finding your “why”

Purpose: Discover your motivation for creating sustainable health behavior changes.

Time to read: 6 minutes

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

WHAT IS MOTIVATION? 

Motivation is a process that initiates, guides, and maintains behaviors. It’s what causes you to act in a way that moves you towards your goals. It involves biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces to activate behavior or action. Often described as why a person does something at the core. Anyone who has set out to accomplish something has likely pushed through obstacles and had endurance, whether mentally or physically, to achieve the goal in the face of challenges. 

Motivation helps you: 

  • Take action (you have to start somewhere!)
  • Become more efficient as you work toward your goals 
  • Persist in the pursuit of your goals even when roadblocks arise
  • Improve the intensity of which you put effort into your goals 

WHERE DOES MOTIVATION COME FROM? 

Motivation can come from a variety of sources, but the two core categories of motivation are referred to as intrinsic and extrinsic. Both sources can help with getting into an “action phase” with your goals, making you focused on reaching them!

Intrinsic motivation

  • Comes from inside you
  • Typically is personally gratifying
  • Often don’t need outside motivators 

 

Extrinsic motivation  

  • Comes from forces outside of you 
  • Might be in the form of recognition, praise, or incentivization
  • Might involve other people in your life 

HOW TO USE MOTIVATION TO SUPPORT YOU 

Once motivation is present, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, reaching your goals will be easier and more likely. Keeping motivation top-of-mind is critical for reaching your goals, no matter what they are.

Here are some helpful steps when thinking about your goals and motivation: 

  • Find what really matters to you and adjust your goal so it’s in alignment with your values.
  • Try breaking up your goal into multiple, smaller goals if it feels too big or overwhelming.
  • Reflect on the past, remind yourself of what you’ve accomplished and the strengths you have. A boost in confidence can help you continue on your path.
  • Try working on pieces of your goals that you know you’re capable of achieving first, then work your way to the more challenging pieces. 

ANCHOR BEHAVIORS 

Motivation levels wax and wane over time depending on what’s going on in life. At times you may have intrinsic motivation, and other times you may need extrinsic motivation. 

This is why the concept of ‘anchor behaviors’ can be helpful. Anchor behaviors are habits you do on a daily basis that help to anchor your lifestyle routine. They could be as simple as carrying a water bottle with you, testing your blood glucose or blood pressure, taking your medications in the morning or night, etc. By doing these habits each day, you are focusing on anchoring yourself during your day. You may notice that as you start to do these habits it becomes easier to make other healthy choices, or at least build awareness around daily habits. 

Remember that picking the healthy choice isn’t always the easiest or most natural, and that’s ok! By showing up, making a plan, and following through with it you’ve brought awareness and more healthy choices into your life. This is how your Health Coach can work with you to determine a path forward with whatever goal(s) you want to work on. 

There are 3 R’s for habit formation: 

  1. Reminder 
    • The cue that starts the habit (e.g., putting your workout clothes on, placing your walking shoes by the front door, or placing a bowl of fresh fruit where you will see it when looking for a snack).
  2. Routine 
    • The action you take or the habit itself (e.g., choosing a side salad with vinaigrette dressing instead of french fries, hitting your steps goal for the day, going to bed at a decent hour each night for a week, doing a guided meditation for stress relief when you feel anxious).
  3. Reward 
    • The benefit you gain from the habit and celebrating successes along the way (e.g., feeling more energetic, sleeping better, treating yourself to a new pair of shoes after you walk a certain amount of steps 10 days in a row).

NEXT STEPS

  1. Chat with your Health Coach about your “why” – where your motivation is currently. Together you can build on that motivation and discover how your Coach can best help you nurture it and keep it top-of-mind.
  2. Jot down 1-3 things you would like to either feel or do differently relating to your health. Why? What would you gain?
Image of Brook Health Expert Kelsea
Reviewed by Kelsea Hoover, MS, RDN

as of September 2023. Kelsea is a Registered Dietitian with her Masters degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University.

Disclaimer:

Always be sure to reach out to your healthcare team when making changes to your diet or lifestyle. There are certain conditions and medications that need to be considered.