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Posts tagged ‘motivation’

Motivating Yourself To Start Doing “Whatever”

SOURCE:  Dr. John Townsend

We all have some “whatever” that we just can’t motivate ourselves to start taking steps towards weight loss, job changes, marriage improvement, self-image growth, budgeting, health, and dating, for example. And there is a big gap between wanting a change, and actually doing the behaviors required to make the changes. But there are things you can do today, actually right now, to translate your “want” to action. By the way, this article isn’t a “path to success”, that’s a different blog. It’s more of a “get motivated to start by some good action steps” procedure. Here are the tips:

Clarify your “why”. Write down and read through several times, why this area of self-improvement is so important to you. Motivation comes from values and desires from deep within our brain, and they are very powerful to change behavior if we understand them. For example, say you want to lose 30 pounds. Your “why” might be because you want to feel better, to have more energy, to be a better mom or dad to your kids, to live a longer and more productive life, or to be able to wear skinny jeans! Whatever the “why” is, it has to be more than a thought, it must involve a feeling that also resonates inside. Keep working on it until you have it clarified.

Visualize the positive outcome. This is basically unpacking the “why” and applying it to the future. Write down a description of how you will experience life without the extra weight. It might be something like “I’ll wrestle with my kids more in the living room because I feel good and have the energy to spare.” Some sort of “video” makes things more real and vivid for us.

Focus at least 3 times a day until you actually “do” a behavior. Research on motivation and change shows us that in some area of life that we often get stuck, or paralyzed, or afraid to do some step. If this has been true for you, give yourself time to think and reflect on the “why,” intentionally focusing on that area. Your brain will enter a state of readiness and be prepared for that step. In the example of weight loss, that might mean signing up for a weight loss class. That’s a commitment and an action.

Let 3 people know. You need people on your team here! Just letting them know about your “why” and what your first step will be, is a tremendous motivator. They become your cheering section, and this will help you with that next action.

Motivation can lead to behavior, and behavior to change. I hope the best for you!

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What Kind of Character is Your Adversity Revealing?

SOURCE: Adapted from an article at  Stepping Stones/Lighthouse Network

Unfortunately, we live in an era when people are more intent on being a character than in developing character. Why not, since we live in a convoluted upside down society that rewards characters and oftentimes punishes those who display real character.

Character is the set of outward-facing qualities that tell our friends, our families, and the world who we really are on the inside.

Character is the reflection of what is really at the center of our heart. It’s not about the words we speak, because anybody can say anything to mislead, pose, or evade the truth, intentionally or unintentionally. Character is about how we actually live our lives, not what we tell people we would do in a given situation. What we actually do, our outward behavior, reveals the attitudes and motivators in our hearts.

Anybody can wear a mask to hide the true nature of what is on the inside. This makes it difficult to know, rely on, or trust someone. But this is where pressure, stress, life’s storms, and adversity come into play and show their value.

You see, it is much more difficult to put on a mask in the midst of challenging circumstances … it’s often during those storms that people’s true colors are revealed. What’s exposed either makes us interesting and more attractive, or reveals some inner ugliness!

Pressure and adversity push what’s inside us up to the surface. Storms reveal whether your coping mechanisms are mature or immature. Most importantly, difficulties cut through all the layers to expose who is on the throne of your heart, God or self. We have talked many times about how decision-making gets very warped when me-centered propaganda is the basis of decisions, and this is a hallmark of “poor character.”

So how do we develop character?

In Romans 5:3-4, Paul teaches us that suffering produces character. While it is admittedly difficult, try to see and be thankful for the fact that God is using life’s difficulties … and Satan’s attacks … to build your character.

God brings storms to:

1. Build character;

2. Reveal to us what is at the center of your heart; or

3. Allow you to succeed through the adversity, shining His glory to others to guide them through their storms.

Today, take notice when things don’t go your way. What does your behavior reveal about the character of your heart? What is your knee-jerk response? If you acted on the first thought that came to mind, what would you learn about your heart? You can build character, but it will take intentionality and practice. Better to practice building character, instead of me-centered living … on the edge … at the whim of the next storm, which will exhaust you daily.

Character development is your decision, so choose well.

Dear Father, Thank You, God, for the opportunities You give me to grow in Your strength through my difficulties. I pray that You help me develop character that pleases You and allows me to be an example of a good child of Yours. I confess, Lord, that I spend too much time and energy on my image management. Help me shift that effort to improving my character. Suffering and difficulty seem to be the norm for me rather than the exception. Help me, Father, to use them to build perseverance … and to use perseverance to build my character. With Godly character, hope will be strong and abundant. I ask in the name of our Suffering Servant, Jesus Christ; – AMEN!

The Truth
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.   Romans 5:3-4 

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

 

Four Things You Need To Know About Addiction

SOURCE:   Published September 13, 2011  | FoxNews.com

In 1971 President Richard Nixondeclared a war on drugs. The motivation? Not the ghettos with their drug dealers, nor the hippies invading Woodstock, the embrace of Rock ‘n Roll, free love and getting high. No, it was the rampant addiction among U.S. soldiers in Vietnam that had him concerned. He told Congress this addiction was “public enemy number one,” and so the war on drugs began. Years later, First Lady Nancy Reagan rebranded the campaign as “Just Say No.”

Forty years ago seems like a lifetime, doesn’t it? Back then the perception was that treatment was all about the strength to say “no,” and that those who could not shake their addiction simply did not have the willpower; they were weak.

Today we know that genetics, brain chemistry and upbringing all play a role in addiction, and it’s commonly accepted as a disease of the brain among professionals. So, does this mean that willpower no longer plays a role in the recovery from alcohol and drug abuse?

Here are four things you need to know about addiction:

1) Genetics Play a Role: This where it all begins. Researchers look for “addiction genes,” which means they’re looking for gene similarities between parent and offspring when addiction strikes. The National Association for Children of Alcoholics warn that children of addicted parents are the highest at-risk group to become an addict, themselves.

Children are 8 times more likely to develop an addiction if their parent is an addict. Interestingly, the chances for the son of an addict becoming an addict is four times greater than a daughter. Also, children of alcoholics are more likely to marry alcoholics than the general population thus leading to an even greater likelihood of alcoholic children — a vicious cycle indeed.

The Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center stated, “… our data suggests there may be a cognitive difference in people with addictions. Their brains may not fully process the long-term consequences of their choices. They may compute information less efficiently.” The study continues, “The genetic findings raise the hopeful possibility that treatments aimed at raising dopamine levels could be effective treatments for some individuals with addictive disorders.”

2) Biology Also Plays a Role: If genetics play a big role in addiction, it’s reasonable to assume that brain chemistry does, as well. The addict has a craving for alcohol or drugs that may trump the love of their children, spouse and work. It rules their world, and often the need is too intense to easily resist.

Dr. Peter Kalivas, a Charleston researcher, has actually pinpointed changes in the brains of cocaine-addicted rats. Cocaine increases dopamine (a pleasure/reward chemical in the brain) which causes changes in brain DNA. Thus doing cocaine actually changes brain function and this causes cravings.

Dr. Kalivas’ research is now testing how to reverse that change in order to make treatment more efficient and effective.

3) Motivation Is Key: Health Psychology, a peer-reviewed journal, will soon be publishing a study sponsored by the Society for the Study of Motivation, which reports brain scans can actually predict if a person has the propensity to be motivated to overcome their addiction.

There are two aspects of motivation: recognizing you have a problem and wanting to correct it.

Every journey begins with that first step. In every recovery program, the first step is always the same — admitting you have a problem. If you don’t think you problem, how can you possibly fix it?

Once you realize you have a problem then what? If you remain on the same path, you may lose your spouse, your family, job, friends, perhaps freedom itself — whatever it is you value most, is at risk. This is the motivation that many need to finally make the decision that it’s time to get sober. And if this study is as promising as it appears then we can be able to scientifically determine who has motivation and who doesn’t. The next step is to figure out why and then see what can be done to increase it.

4) Taking Personal Responsibility Is Still Very Important: Everyone should be responsible for their actions, and the addict is no different.

Take the diabetic, for example. This is a medical illness which may be treated with medication. The diabetics that manage their illness the best also take charge — they exercise, eat properly, test their blood sugar levels and get the proper amount of sleep. Those that are proactive with their health will have a longer, healthier life as opposed to those that say, “Poor me, I’m a diabetic and there’s nothing I can do except take my insulin.”

The same personal responsibility applies to the addict: Attending meetings, consulting with sponsors, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, attending 12 step programs and the desire to stay sober are all conscious decisions that must be made in order to remain clean. The addict must also choose friends wisely, and get rid of the enablers and the users. To get/stay sober is a 24/7 job and the addict must be responsible for his life and lifestyle.

We live in a world where many do not want to take responsibility for their life, health or happiness. It’s so much easier to say, “Woe is me, I’m an addict, it’s not my fault that I can’t stop. I have a disease!” However, instead of the victim saying, “poor little me,” the responsible person says, “Yes, I have a disease, but I’m in charge of me and will do my part to overcome it.”

So, in 2011, while we understand that addiction is genetic and biologic, yet we cannot fall prey completely to the, “There’s nothing I can do, it’s a disease,” way of thinking. As much as many would try to tell you otherwise , motivation and willpower are still important. Just ask anyone who has cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, arthritis or any other severe medical illness, the will to persevere and overcome is everything.

Dr. Dale Archer is a psychiatrist and Distinguished Fellow of The American Psychiatric Association. He  specializes in analyzing and understanding human behavior across a wide variety of fields and is a frequent guest on FoxNews.com’s “The Strategy Room.” For more, visit his website: Dr.DaleArcher.com.

A Formula For Understanding Our Emotional Responses

SOURCE: Adapted from an article by Dr. Robert Kellemen

What are emotions? Emotions are our God-given capacity to experience our world and to subjectively respond to those experiences. This capacity includes the ability to internally react and experience a full-range of both positive (pleasant) and negative (painful) inner feelings.

The very root of the word emotion is motere, the Latin verb “to move,” plus the prefix “e” meaning “to move away.” This suggests that a tendency to act is implicit in every emotion. All emotions are, in essence, inclinations to react, the instant plans for handling life that God has instilled in us. God designed our emotions to put us in motion. They represent a quick response that motivates action—emotions signal the mind to go into high gear.

Emotions play a crucial editorial role that force us to do a double-check, to look outward and inward. Emotions are our “psychological sentinel” that connect us to our inner and outer world.

Once connected, then we react to our external and internal world. What we desire (relationally), think (rationally), and choose (volitionally) (our inner world) determines our emotional reaction to our external situation (our outer world).

What we believe (Romans 12:1-2) (rational direction) about what quenches our thirst for relationship (Psalm 42:1-2) (relational motivation) provides the direction we choose to pursue (Joshua 24:15) (volitional interaction) and determines our experiential response (emotional reaction) to our world.

A Formula for Understanding Our Emotional Responses

Consider a basic formula for understanding emotions: E.S. + I.P. = E.R. Our External Situation plus our Internal Perception leads to our Emotional Response. Picture our emotions like this:

• Negative Situation (ES) + Biblical Belief (IP) = Legitimate Painful Emotion (Sorrow, Sadness, etc.) (ER)

• Negative Situation (ES) + Unbiblical Belief (IP) = Illegitimate Painful Emotion (Hatred, Despair, etc.) (ER)

• Positive Situation (ES) + Biblical Belief (IP) = Legitimate Positive Emotion (Joy, Peace, etc.) (ER)

• Positive Situation (ES) + Unbiblical Belief (IP) = Illegitimate Positive Emotion (Pride, Self-Sufficiency, etc.) (ER)

Your boss says to you, “You blew it.” Your emotions react to this external event and to your internal images and ideas. What if you believe, “I must have my boss’s approval”? Then you will respond with illegitimate negative emotions such as anger, depression, hopelessness, or hatred.

If, on the other hand, you believe that “I would like my boss’s approval, but I know that I am accepted by God,” then you will respond with legitimate painful emotions such as sorrow, disappointment, or remorse (if you were truly in the wrong).

The key to our emotional reaction is our belief or perception about the meaning behind the event. Thus, events determine whether our emotions are pleasant or painful, while longings, beliefs, and goals determine whether our emotional reaction is holy or sinful.

Obviously, our emotions are useful, beneficial, and very good (Genesis 1:31). Just as obvious, our emotions often are hurtful, harmful, and very bad. We are to be angry, but not sinfully so (Ephesians 4:26). Anger can be good (Mark 3:5); it can be evil.

So it is with all emotions and moods. Designed for mood order (Creation), we experience mood disorders (Fall), and can experience reordered moods (Redemption).

The Rest of the Story

This is not your father’s view of emotions! No—we’ve been sold a lie that says emotions are all bad. Yet, designed by God, God says emotions are very good. In fact, our moods can be very good. That’s also not what we’ve been taught. When we think “mood,” we think, “He’s so moody!” “She’s in such a mood!”

We need God’s view of moods.

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