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Exploring Your Motivation: What Works and What Doesn’t?

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Motivation can compel success and satisfaction, so explore what motivates you to find better ways to deal with challenges and stagnancy in addiction recovery

Motivation is commonly used, but many people do not know what motivates them and why. Motivation refers to “the start, the direction, the intensity, and the persistence of behavior. It is the passion that fuels action; the will that ignites drive, hard work and dedication.” Motivation can be both internal and external. Internal motivation means someone possesses self-motivation that results from personal feelings, thoughts, values and goals; on the other hand, external motivation comes from people or things—family members, coworkers, money, grades, praise or punishment.

Common internal or intrinsic motivators include the following list:

  • Learning something new or overcoming a challenge; mastery
  • Maintaining control over the body and behavior in spite of the environment; maintaining self-assuredness
  • Satisfying a sense of curiosity
  • Being competitive and winning in one’s set criteria; achieving goals
  • Helping others and feeling rewarded; feeling like you have meaning and purpose
  • Receiving praise and recognition for actions and accomplishments

Whether a motivator is internal or external does not matter as long as it leads to successful outcomes. Motivation is the driving factor of a successful life, because it keeps people healthy in a world where fast, processed foods offer convenience and a minor hit to one’s budget. It causes people to show up for work day after day despite the critiques of a tough boss or a stressful project. Motivation causes people to achieve goals and improve their qualities of life. In everything that someone does, motivation pushes her to act.

If you know what motivates you and what does not, then you have profound help. Explore your motivators and commit to aligning yourself with the things that ignite your fire, and then you will obtain great power. You can become focused and goal oriented, someone who knows what his purpose is in the present moment and how to achieve it. The more someone explores his motivation, the more instinctual it becomes to use them when presented with a challenge. A highly motivated person will apply himself more often and more frequently to constructive habits and activities.

How to Find What Motivates You

Everyone has different motivators. According to Abraham Maslow, the American psychologist who is most known for his hierarchy of innate needs that culminate into self-actualization (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs), “any action can be understood by simply analyzing the need it satisfies, or even fails to satisfy.” To self-actualize and understand what is motivating you, practice mindfulness tactics that allow you to identify your environment, feelings and actions. Mindfulness causes people to be aware of the present and to pay attention to what they are feeling and why. This state of mindfulness helps people identify why they are motivated, what causes it and what gave them satisfaction. In other words, practicing mindfulness is a productive way to explore the things that motivate you.

Also, pay attention to the cause-and-effect relationship that occurs from your achievements or moments of satisfaction. Take note of different experiences and what caused them to be enlightening and to establish good tactics for motivating yourself. Finally, several resources are available to explore self-actualization and motivation. There are online quizzes, self-help books and professionals who can bring some great insight for your unique skills.

Self-knowledge is a key element that fuels motivation during addiction recovery. Once a recovering addicts gets to know herself, what makes her tick and what she values, she will grow to care about herself enough to make healthy decisions that benefit her. If someone does not care about himself or know what makes him happy, then he will find nothing that motivates him, because he does not know what will bring him a sense of reward. Develop self-knowledge and self-motivation to thrive in a rehab program.

Where Can I Find Help for Addiction Recovery?

Self-motivation and personal drive are essential for addiction recovery. While it is ultimately within the addict’s control whether or not she remains sober, the support of others will be a tremendous asset during recovery. People cannot expect to find nor maintain sobriety all alone, because they need the help of knowledgeable and experienced recovery professionals to find the skills and tools they need to sustain recovery. They will need friends, family and peers to support the transition from addiction to sobriety. They will need support groups and other recovery groups that will keep them focused on strengthening staying clean in the real world.

Addiction recovery is about more than abstaining from a particular drug or behavior: it is about making serious life changes that will support recovery. It is about identifying the issues in life that trigger addictive thoughts and tendencies, and it focuses on repairing these issues or implementing better, healthier coping tactics. Addiction recovery is about improving a person’s quality of life and changing the cause-and-effect relationships that influence maladaptive behaviors. This level of change does not happen overnight, nor can it happen without the help of others.

If you are ready for addiction recovery, then know that we can help. Our toll-free helpline is operated 24 hours a day by trained addiction counselors who can assist you. Our staff will answer your questions, address your concerns and provide all the information you need to begin recovery. If you are ready to look for treatment programs, recovery services or support groups, then they can connect you with the options that are right for your individual needs. Call now to chat with an addiction counselor today.