Strategies to Long-Term Motivation and How Hypnosis Can Help
by Erika Slater
In this special Hypnosis Brief I want to discuss long-term motivation, and how hypnosis can help you stay the course to get to your prize.
First-off I’m not a motivational speaker but I’ll share what I’ve seen from people I’ve helped achieve a long-term goal and what it took for them and include some current research on the topic as well.
Motivation comes from within. You can’t buy it in a bottle, or order it from Amazon, or watch it in a movie. Can you be inspired to get motivated from a book, or a movie, or even a speech? Yes, you can. But it’s short-term, and even then, I’d argue, it still comes from “inside” you.
Getting motivated is a conscious decision, but keeping it going is an unconscious decision. To achieve long-term motivation, you need to engage your unconscious mind. This can be done in various ways where the things you do to achieve a short-term goal become habits to help you achieve a long-term goal.
There are various things at play when it comes to motivation and understanding them helps you, so, I’ll cover them for you today.
GOALS AND MOTIVATION:
First, we have to separate goals from motivation. They’re not the same, but people often confuse the two.
Being a non-smoker can be the goal of a smoker, but it rarely provides the motivation to stop on its own and the long-term motivation to stay a non-smoker for rest of their life. There’s a reason for the goal, and it’s the “reason why”– motivation – that determines their attitude and motivation level. This could be wanting to stay healthy, live long, a life event, or financial reasons.
Likewise, for a person wanting to lose weight and stay fit and healthy, they have a goal – usually a weight in mind or a clothes size – that personifies success to them. Again, there’s usually a reason for the goal that keeps them going – resilience – when the going gets tough.
People who don’t have a strong reason to make a change struggle with achieving a goal as they lack the basis for long-term motivation. For example, they may be able to stop smoking for a day, or even a week, or eat healthy foods for a month, but not be able to sustain it after the initial surge of excitement has subsided and real-life starts getting in the way.
SHORT-TERM GOALS VERSUS LONG-TERM GOALS:
This is true… they are!
Making a commitment to go to the gym every day for the next month is more doable than committing to go each day for the next year!
But what about those who possess foresight and want to achieve bigger and greater things, you know the kind of “far-off into the future” goals? These are the kind of goals that take time to reach, sometimes years and even decades. How do you keep you desires alive and burning to keep the yearning to achieve those kinds of goals going?
You have to live one day at a time and constantly be able to keep your ‘eye on the prize’, knowing and expecting it to be yours to take ‘one day’! Elite athletes are able to do this because they’ve developed a mindset that constantly provides them the motivation to stay the course, and accept getting to where they want to be requires dedication and long-term commitment.
Most dreams people have, ‘die’ because they take too long to achieve. Even though they know certain dreams won’t come to fruition until sometime in the distant future, they pack things in early because they lose motivation to get to their prize.
Let’s face it! Today we all live in a world of entitlement and ‘in the here and now’ society. If it doesn’t come to us as quick as fast food, or at the “speed of the internet”, then, it makes us ‘crazy’ with waiting, or we just don’t wait but move on to something else that does come quick, or we take short-cuts that impacts quality of our life.
STRATEGIES TO LONG-TERM MOTIVATION:
Do you have a goal that inspires motivation in you? I’ve already discussed motivation comes from within, and goals that fit into one of these four categories is a good candidate for a high-level of motivation: possible futures, possible selves, near-term gratifications, and task interest .
Research on this topic conducted by University of Virginia professor Thomas Bateman  concluded you can tactically think about these four categories as you work towards long-term goals by asking the following:
- What would the future hold if I achieve this goal?
- What would it mean for me personally?
- How can I build in short-term gratifications?
- How can I build in and appreciate the most interesting and fulfilling parts of what I do?
Bateman also suggests for any personal or professional goal you include what he calls self-regulation strategies to keep you motivated:
- Have a mix of short-term goals hitched to your long-term goal. Staying motivated by having relevant but attainable short-term goals provides incentive to keep things going over the length of getting to where you want to be.
- Receive feedback over time and evaluate progress toward your long-term goal. So, if your goal is to lose 100 pounds over a year then this breaks down to approx. 2 lbs. per week or 8 lbs. per month. Weighing yourself regularly can provide this feedback and reset expectations on progress.
- Maintain focus on how actions will impact your goals and do not attend to distractions. We live in a world of distractions these days, whether it is constantly checking our email, or social media, or bombarded with thousands of marketing messages a day. We need to ignore that which doesn’t help us focus on our goals and this can be as simple of “blocking” time on our calendars for ourselves to do the work!
- Elevate the attractiveness of your goal by thinking about how risks and work will pay off. Words are mighty and so spend the time wording your goal in such a way that it excites you even when you know it encompasses a ton of work, commitment, and more than fair share of hardship and risk. Anything worth achieving involves some adversity so plan for this and keep your eyes on the prize!
- Diminish negative emotions and focus on what you find interesting and amusing in your work. Your goal(s), and work needed to get to it, can be a marathon run and not a sprint and during this time its natural you’ll feel emotions like fear, anxiety, frustration and disappointment. So, during these times it’s important to remember your reasons why you started out on the goal and what you enjoy about the journey to achieve it.
- Use failure as a basis for improvement rather than allowing it to leave you feeling discouraged – or worse, devastated. Failure is a harsh word but the point here is that one bad meal choice doesn’t mean your whole diet and weight loss goal is “down the drain” and you’re a failure and back to square one. It’s another form of feedback and no more and no less. Scientists doing experiments expect failure and use it as a motivation to keep discovering. Remember the Thomas Edison experiment where he discovered 10,000 ways a light bulb would not work!
LONG-TERM MOTIVATION AND HYPNOSIS:
Sometimes getting to goals requiring long-term motivation can require more direct intervention than just willpower alone. People get stuck or challenged in various situations, and seek help in any way they can get it. I’ve written about resilience and persistence before   and these articles discuss how having the right mindset can provide that extra bump to transform your dreams into reality.
Call it what you will – mindset or attitude – one method to help you achieve these mental changes is using hypnosis. Hypnosis can be a powerful resource in helping you achieve long-term motivation by overcoming thinking habits keeping you from reaching your success. These habits can be caused by fear, procrastination, feeling overwhelmed, or that critical voice in your head reinforcing why you’ll never be able to sustain the motivation. Hypnosis can help you overcome self-destructive habits and replace them with positive versions in your unconscious to sustain you.
Hypnosis is a great way to keep a passion burning inside of you as fresh, frequent and new post hypnotic suggestions are implanted into your unconscious mind which will help you keep your ‘eyes on the prize’ and help you going forward with resilience and persistence. It can provide a fresh start and outlook for you. If you’re interested in working directly with me then discover all my online and in-office Hypnosis Services here or you can check out our Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products here >>>
In my clients I’ve seem different paths to achieve the motivation they needed to make a significant and long-term change. It’s an individual journey and finding your own triggers for long-term motivation can feel like a journey on its own, but it’s one worth the effort, and with indirect or direct help of others can make the difference between dreams and reality.
Let me know how you enjoyed this article and how I can improve it.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO MOTIVATION:
Erika Slater CH
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