Good habits

Change One Word to Change Your Motivation

We all struggle with getting motivated to do things we need to do but don’t really want to do. We say things like “I have to go to work”. I have to clean the house”, “I have to do my homework”. This takes something that is a necessary task and makes it somewhat more difficult to be enthusiastic about.

Changing one word of this sentence will make a difference in how you feel about doing the task. Changing the word will make a subtle shift in your motivation to do it. If you change the word “have” to “get” you’ll start to feel the difference. Instead of saying “I have to work out”, try saying “I get to work out”. When I do this, such as when it’s time to clean the house, I find that I actually start to look forward to it. It seems to work on the concept of cognitive dissonance. If your words don’t match your original thoughts or feelings, it creates dissonance, which is uncomfortable. To resolve this your brain has to figure out why you are looking forward to doing something you don’t want to do. It will then start coming up with reasons to make it fit. For example, when I start saying “I get to clean house today”, my brain will start coming up with reasons for why I might be looking forward to this. I start having thoughts about how much I enjoy making the house look tidier, how I like being responsible, and so on.

Try it for yourself and see what happens.