The Real Reason You Can't Stay Motivated — & The Easy Fix That Helps You Reach Your Goals

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how to stay motivated using love not fear

There are only two, true motivators: fear and love.

They are both powerful tools, but they motivate us in different ways. When we use fear as our motivator, rather than love, problems can arise that get in the way of our growth.

Fear is normal, but it doesn't have to run your life or be what motivates you to work toward your goals.

Fear is a biologically hard-wired motivator for the human race. We’re programed for survival. It’s what drives us in all areas of our lives, from entering into relationships (think procreation) to going to work (being able to eat and shelter ourselves and our family), and just about any other thing you can think of. 

Survival is at the base of our instincts. Consequently, fear plays a big part in helping us survive. 

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It alerts us to dangers — both real and imagined. It pops up when certain situations remind your brain of past events or disappointments that you'd rather not experience a second time. Most of your limiting beliefs or fears came about when you were very young, at the age before your logical mind was fully formed.

You weren't able to discern between fully dangerous situations and situations where, because of your age, you felt threatened. This is where the "imagined fears" can come in.

When this happens, your brain sends off a warning signal to avoid the situation at all costs. But what if, in your adult life, it isn't really a danger for you? What if it's a false signal, and it's getting in the way of your success, or in the way of your relationships? 

In this case, the signal or limiting belief isn't serving your best outcome. 

If your brain is still sending signals that are tied to an earlier difficult or traumatic experience, then in its effort to protect you, it's actually hindering your progress.

But, you don’t have to let your "survival instinct" run your life. It’s great to be aware of real dangers. You need that. But if you let fears such as "fear of success", "fear of failure", or even the "fear of being hurt" run your life, you lose out. 

You won't put yourself out there in any big way. You also won't express your true self — not in a rich or full way. The "fear of success", "fear of failure", "fear of being hurt", and "fear of public speaking" are all real fears for many, many people. 

None of us wants to feel pain or be hurt. But if past experiences that you’ve been through, are causing you to avoid something you really want, then fear is getting in the way of your life.  And it’s getting in the way of your full expression in life.

How do you work with the fear to inform you of what needs to be released?

Your fear is a very valid emotion. It has valuable information for you. Rather than run from it, find ways in which to process it, gently and easily so you’re able to calmly look at what your fear can tell you. 

When you have this information, you have the tools to make smart decisions and to take solid action. Let your fears inform you of what might need to change, or even, what needs to be healed from your life's experiences. 

Let go the of the fear and instead, come from love.

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Once you’re examined and released any fears, you now have a choice — the choice of what motivates you. You can now choose love, and to be inspired and excited by what you’re going after. There’s more oomph to this kind of motivation. It’s a much more enjoyable way to approach your goals and your life, which is why it'll help you better reach your goals than fear could.

We all have fears. It comes with living on this planet. We continue to experience life and sometimes, it doesn't go all that well. So the process of examining, being informed by, and releasing fears is a continuing process. 

As you learn the tools that facilitate an easier way in which to examine your fears, resistances, or doubts, it becomes an easier process and one you’re not as reluctant to do.  

There’s never a reason to go through difficult emotions or re-traumatize yourself over a past experience. There are many techniques and tools out there that can help. you to calmly and easily move through the process. 

As you do it, it becomes easier and easier.

Instead of going to work out of fear (you're afraid you won't have any money to survive or pay your bills), choose a different motivator. Choose to go to work because you love what you're doing or because you love what your income provides for you. 

When you make this shift, you might even realize that your current career doesn't fit with your vision of joy, love, or fulfillment. 

When you're motivated by joy and love, you make different choices. Maybe you'll change your career or maybe you'll just be happy to go to work because you fully appreciate what your job is giving you. Either way, it's a much more enjoyable way to approach your job. 

To get to that shift though, you have to be willing to examine the current fear behind your job and your career. And it's not as tough as you might imagine. 

When you work through that fear, you're free to let it go and to make a different choice.

What techniques can you use to move through fear more easily?

Over the years, I’ve explored and used many techniques that do just that — allow a person to calmly look at a past event, fear, or trauma so they can easily let it go and move on from it. 

When you do this, your life changes. How you react or respond changes and you feel more empowered.  

One of the techniques I use with clients (and on myself as well), is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Also known as "Tapping", it’s a modality of discussing an issue while tapping on acupressure points to let go of the intense feelings around an issue. It also changes how you view the event, emotion, or situation in a way that benefits you.  

Whether it’s being able to see what you can learn from the experience, or change the outcome of future, similar experiences, when you change your view, you come from a more empowered position. You've experienced it, learned from it, and now you have the tools to make a different choice in the future. 

EFT quickly calms the amygdala, the part of the brain where intense emotions are stored. When the amygdala is in a more relaxed state, you’re able to logically and calmly look at your fears or your past negative experiences. These are the events or emotions that are negatively impacting you or limiting your life right now. 

By using EFT, you can completely change these limiting beliefs, and input more positive beliefs. You can input beliefs that support your vision of the life you want to create.  

Whether you choose EFT or another modality, find ways where you can easily process emotions of fear, anxiety, or doubt. When you do, you won't be as resistant to looking at and utilizing your emotions in positive ways. 

You'll find you're willing to learn from your experiences and you no longer feel like a victim to your emotions.

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Sumi Jones is a Life Coach located in Santa Barbara, CA.