Motivation has a simple definition: “The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.” Why is the motivation to walk across the room to eat a cookie often stronger than the motivation to hit the gym? For most of us, the cookie gives us quicker satisfaction. Often, people can be our motivation to achieve more and better ourselves, but this too is a slippery slope.
On the flip side, it’s frustrating to see someone you love unmotivated when you know they are in need of a change. Whether the person could stand to live a healthier lifestyle, is in a toxic relationship, or worries too much and has an unhealthy view of themselves, it’s often difficult to get through to those you love. This is especially heartbreaking if the problem is grave such as a drug or alcohol addiction.
The short, unfortunate answer is that you can’t be a sole driving source of motivation for anyone. No one will truly change unless they want to. No matter what the problem at hand is, people will only change when they are ready. Your hope and fear is that it won’t be too late for them to make a move. How you can help someone who doesn’t see the need for different behaviors?
The best way to encourage the ones you love is through action. Ask them to go for a walk to get them moving. Give them healthy recipes. Send them information on how to best quit smoking. Point out what healthy relationships look like. The sad truth is, someone who doesn’t see their unhealthy lifestyle as a problem will never find the motivation within themselves to change. If they change simply because they want to please you, they don’t truly see the dangers in their behaviors. Sometimes, the best thing to do is back off and allow your loved one to continue their destructive behaviors. It sounds harsh, but when your efforts go unheeded, you often begin to feel unappreciated and the relationship suffers.
If you know you need to make a change and someone who cares about you tries to help you, the best thing you can do is acknowledge their concern. Change won’t happen overnight, but the first steps in bettering yourself is often to listen to those who care about you. In response to their loving concern you could let them know that you’re attempting to make progress. A phone call to tell a supporter that you got off the couch and did a few pushups in an attempt to get healthier would mean the world to them.
While everyone can’t be a motivational speaker, we all want the best for the ones we love and hope that we can be a part of helping them achieve that.