Motivation can be defined as when your focus on the positive aspects of an action (these aspects could be the end result, could be the experience itself) is greater than on any negative aspects of that action.

I believe that motivation is seen both as a superpower and, if it is lacking, something that we should be able to somehow obtain in the same way we can get money out of a cash machine. Lacking in motivation is somehow seen as a weakness. For example, say you missed your workout today. People will often infer that you didn’t really mean it last week when you signed up for the gym and bought those new trainers: you must be flaky. You should have somehow worked harder to keep your motivation levels high.

What has motivated you whenever you have felt resistance? Not just to walking away from junk food, but in other challenges such as learning to drive, studying etc?

Motivation vs Activation

I believe that it is helpful to divide what we see as motivation into 2 distinct categories

MOTIVATION - getting over resistance because of something that connects you to your core self/higher power. Uses the neo cortex (modern brain). For example being a role model to a young person.

ACTIVATION - getting over resistance through using a positive trigger. Uses Cavebrain, the subconscious. For example, being at a seminar - your Cavebrain triggers you to hug a stranger when you would never normally do that, because everyone else is doing it. Or training youself to respond to a trigger (eg see your swimsuit on the bed - you go swimming). Theta affirmations use activation.

Activation can be wired into your subconscious, but needs repetition. Many forms are temporary.

Pauly Principle - needs a period of conscious effort, but at some point - as long as you have been consistent - it will bed down as the permanent normal. Think brushing your teeth. 

Motivation is sometimes harder to access than activation (especially if your patterns of resistance have become solid habits) but I do find it has the potential to last longer. If I avoid junk because I am shopping with a child, then that action has more chance of becoming hardwired into my identity as a role model. 

I think mixing motivation and activation is the key.

In my description of motivation and activation, note that these are both qualities/abilities you ACCESS. They already exist within you. You have a core self or belief in a higher power. You were born with the ability to use triggers to activate yourself into the best action.

Note the difference between accessing abilities and OBTAINING them which is how many people see as the route to increased motivation. I imagine this has framing has been created by consumerism and encouraged by many self-styled gurus who sell pipe dreams to anyone with £$9,997.

Watch Out For Hidden Blocks

The hidden assumption underlying the glorification of motivation is that if it is strong enough, if you are Anthony Robbins enough, motivation will steam roller all internal blocks.

This is true - sometimes.

However many blocks are invisible and more powerful than people think. eg A sugar craving after an argument can destroy motivation to be sugar free because the perceived need to manage emotions with sugar is stronger than the sugar free goal in that moment. 

Dealing with blocks like the perceived need for sugar as an emotional manager is often a much better route to freedom from sugar than to pile on morivation like make up over acne.

Just as an architect’s drawings are not enough to build a house, you need a range of strategies - not just motivation - to walk away from the dessert aisle.

Powerful Sources of Motivation

Identity - What would the queen do? 

Connection - being part of a group that accepts you. Even a connection with one understanding person helps. Small commitments and accountability is hugely motivating

Seeing yourself as a role model - focus on who you can help by withstanding the resistance you feel in this moment. Last year I had what was going to be quite a chaotic eating episode. My IFR was on fire, I bought the junk in town (eating some as I walked out of the shop), and cycled home revelling in what I was about to do. But on that journey I checked in with myself. How was this helping my clients and listeners? I had an idea, which was to record my pretty crazed emotional state. I got home and did just that. Result: I put the junk in the bin and poured washing up liquid all over it. You can hear that audio here (scroll to the foot of the page)

Pain - when my life felt unmanageable and I could not bear who I was addicted to sugar

Curiosity/experimentation  - “I wonder if this strategy will work? I do not have to succeed at it” 

Rebellion - against your inner compulsive/harsh critic....against people who have no faith in you


#1 Make a list of concepts you can access to motivate you. Try having a talisman of each one with at all times, for example a picture of someone you want to influence. You can look at this to access that motivator.


#2 List the best triggers you can use to activate you and make them part of your routine eg Note in your diary "9pm - watch movie on iPad" if that means you avoid sitting in front of the TV mindlessly eating.