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Struggling? How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior

Woman laying on the couch with tv remote and pizza illustrating when you are struggling how to motivate yourself to change your behavior.

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There are usually only two reasons you wonder how to motivate yourself to change your behavior. One is that something you are doing is causing problems, but you don’t want to change it. You want the problem to go away. However, you don’t really want to start or stop doing what would make that happen. The other is you are doing something that is causing someone else problems. Maybe you understand their complaint or concern. However, you don’t really want to change that either. You are inspired to please them. You aren’t as inspired to change your behavior.

An example would be that you don’t like what the scale is saying but don’t want to give up your morning stop at the local donut shop. Maybe you appreciate how high your credit card balance is getting but don’t want to give up impromptu online shopping either.

Maybe your boss wants you to stop sliding into the parking lot on two wheels… 15 minutes late every morning. You don’t want to lose your job, and your boss is a nice guy who isn’t asking for the world. But that snooze button calls to you every morning. Unraveling The Truth: 8 Big and Common Myths About Motivation

Maybe your significant other has asked you to be a more attentive communicator. You know that is a reasonable request, but you are easily distracted and get lost in your phone and the TV.

Cat looking in the mirror at itself illustrating changing behavior is about yourself.

It’s All About You.

Perhaps the reason you want to understand how to motivate yourself to change your behavior has nothing to do with anyone else. It may be that you know you feel better when you work out. You know you are much more energized in the morning, but back to that darn snooze alarm.

So, where do you start when you’re struggling? How do you motivate yourself to change your behavior when feeling lots of stuff? The problem is that none of that stuff is motivation or inspiration. Let’s break it down into some simple questions to ask yourself.

Small boy baking and making a mess.

How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior: What’s Not Going Right?

The first question to ask yourself will define what is or is not happening. What behavior do you want to change, and why do you want to change it? Your answer needs to be short and to the point. Don’t just say, “I want to get in better shape” or “I want to start saving money.” How will you know when you are doing it?

Getting in better shape is an outcome, not a behavior, and let’s face it, round is a shape. Get to the point. What behavior do you want to change? Do you want to walk 3000 steps, adding 500 steps each week till you get to 10,000 steps? Do you want to work out twice weekly and get up to four workouts within the next four weeks?

How much money do you want to save? Do you mean you want to spend less, or do you mean you want to actually accumulate cash in an account? How much money? Are we talking about a specific amount taken out of your paycheck every week, or do we mean you will start saving your change in a peanut butter jar?  Unraveling The Truth: 8 Big and Common Myths About Motivation

Letters that spell out the words be specific illustrating the point of how to motivate yourself to change your behavior.

Get Specific.

Get specific about what behavior we are talking about. Do you want to start doing a behavior or stop doing a behavior? Then the next question is, “Why?” What are you hoping to get out of this new behavior? Are you expecting to gain something or get rid of something? Is your “Why?” about what you want, what someone else wants, or both?

It’s hard to motivate yourself to change your behavior when you haven’t given yourself clear instructions on what you intend to do and why you plan to do it. Also, remember that when you have an excellent reason for doing something, it is a great reminder when you don’t feel like doing it. So, being specific is a game changer.

Drawing of brain illustrating brainstorming process with doodles and words.

How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior: How Would You Have To Think Differently To Behave Differently?

All of our actions start with thoughts. To create a behavior, you have to think you are a person who is capable of that behavior. It will be hard to get to the gym like a fit person if you only think about how out of shape you are. It will be hard to save money if you only think about how broke you are.

So, let’s play with this. It might even take a couple of tries. To change the behavior you would like to change, what will you have to think about differently? Don’t worry about how you will do that yet. Just define what in your thinking will need to change for you to be able to behave differently.

For example, if you were a person who works out four times a week, you are probably going to have to stop thinking that you can’t do that. You will likely have to stop making fun of people who pack their gym bags the night before. You will probably have to start thinking of workout time as valuable and necessary, like brushing your teeth or getting enough sleep. Unraveling The Truth: 8 Big and Common Myths About Motivation

Keep your answer short and to the point. How would you need to think about this behavior if you were going to change the behavior? Once you know what behavior you are trying to change, why, and the mindset you need… you are about to make things happen.

Lightbulb in the center of picture with colorful gears turning around the lightbulb illustrating the need to think differently when you are deciding how to motivate yourself to change your behavior.

How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior: What Could You Do Differently?

Again, this is a place to try things on and play. You aren’t declaring precisely what you are going to do yet. You are just looking at options of things you could do differently. Once you know your options, you can choose which behavior you will change.

For example, you decide from questions #1 and #2 that the behavior you want to change is to save money. You know there is extra money left over in your paycheck. You just can’t seem to hold on to it. So you decide to have money taken out of your paycheck every week and put in an interest-bearing savings account. That’s a big step. But you still haven’t determined the behavior that you want to change.

Corkboard with sticky notes that have question marks illustrating the questions asked when asking How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior.

What Behavior Needs To Change?

You now have your “What’s not going right?” You spend every penny you make and don’t have the money for what you really want. Your “Why?” is because you want to travel, and with this saved money, you could take at least one real vacation a year. So, what is the behavior that you want to change?

The behavior that needs changing is that you now have committed money to your new travel savings account. Now you have to live on less money every week. So, what could you do differently? You could start bringing your lunch. You could stop going to those online sites you buy from regularly. You could track your spending for a month and see where you waste money that gives you no absolute pleasure. The list is endless.

Once you pick one or a few, you know what needs changing, why, and what the new behavior is that you will do or stop doing.

Woman on a scale celebrating her weight.

How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior: What Would Be The Benefit Of That Change?

This is another place to get specific and detailed. This is the carrot on the stick to remind you why you wanted to change this behavior in the first place. This answers the seven-year-old in you wanting to know, “What do I get out of this?”

If the behavior you want to create is to be a person who saves money, what are you saving for? Is it the comfort of knowing you have a rainy day fund? Is it a trip to Italy? Is it a new car?

How much do you want to weigh if the behavior is a new fit lifestyle? What do you want to be able to wear? How do you want to feel? Get these details in your head and out in front of your eyes. Cut out pictures or start a Pinterest board for any behavior you want to change. Get very clear on what you get out of this behavior change.

Steps with words time for action and arrows pointing forward.

How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior: What Are Your Action Steps?

Here is where we stop thinking and start creating some action. You now know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what you get out of it. So, what are your action steps? This is where many people can demotivate themselves. They try to do too much too soon.

You can’t go from being a couch potato to running a 5k this weekend. You can’t go from having no extra money saved to having thousands in the bank. It has to happen one step at a time. So, create your steps and then walk those steps.

Where will you start? Remember, changing behavior is about changing habits. To change from one habit to another, you have to create a new habit and then do that new habit more than the old one. Then, perfect the habit. You can’t perfect the habit till you’ve built the habit.

You can’t start and perfect a new behavior (habit) in the same week. Sometimes, it can’t even happen in the same month or the same Summer. To motivate yourself to change behavior, the new behavior has to feel like it’s obtainable. So, set yourself up for success. Where would be an excellent place to start? Start there and then move up the scale until you are doing what you pictured yourself doing.

Sticky notes with words new mindset new results, you got this.

How Do You Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior Without Struggling?

When you approach behavior change like this, it is now effort instead of struggle. Effort gets something done. Struggle does not. Remember to ask yourself:

  • What’s not going right?
  • What behavior needs doing differently and Why?
  • How would you need to THINK differently to behave differently?
  • What COULD you do differently?
  • What will your benefit be from changing this behavior?
  • What are your action steps?


Get your answers, create your plan, and get started. You can do this. You will do this. YOU’VE GOT THIS!

Enchanted Perspectives Pixi Pebbles Banner Cover

Pixi-Pebbles For When You Need To Know How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior… 

Pixi-Pebbles are songs, quotes, videos, interviews, movie references, and books that we each personally pick for you.

We’ve used these little Pixi-Pebbles to move ourselves from a feeling we’re not enjoying very much…to a feeling that helps us discover our vision of intention, awareness, and direction.

They lead us to hope, possibilities, and a fire under our butt to live life by design instead of default.

In our blog, Struggling? How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior, here is a Pixi-Pebble that came to mind…

Just a little inspiration to get you from here to there…

We love music of all kinds around Enchanted Perspectives. Taylor Swift has inspired us on more than one occasion, in more the one way so it seems fitting one of her older songs about change would be our Pixi Pebble for figuring out how to motivate yourself to change a behavior…go ahead…click here…crank it up and sing this as your anthem for whatever it is you are wanting to change and then get to work on those action steps… you got this! 


Meet Nikki:

Nikki has a way of making almost anything meaningful, interesting, and fun. She loves cats, believes you can learn a lot about yourself by shooting hoops in the park, and has a mad love affair with trees. As a Certified Neuro-linguistic Programming Practitioner, Intentional Living Mentor, Reiki Master, and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, she understands how to help others create change and has a talent for making you enjoy doing it.

Enchanted perspectives creator Nikki and Jennifer sitting against tree

Meet Jennifer:

Jennifer is a woman who definitely lives life by design. As an Artist, Certified Holistic Life Coach, Reiki Master Teacher, Spiritual Studies Mentor, and Certified EFT Practitioner, she helps others find their unique, magical, and authentic selves. She loves art, music, nature, travel and believes everyone can dance. Jennifer is a compassionate teacher that enjoys inspiring others to find their own creativity, intuition, and passion for life.
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