New Year’s resolutions and the power of words

The New Year is upon us and chances are you’ve made New Year’s resolutions. Most New Year’s resolutions are based on taking better care of yourself. Of course I am a big supporter of this. Especially in these uncertain times, self-care is super important. Nonetheless, I ask you to think critically about your motivation for these resolutions. Because motivation is often where things go wrong and it might lead to you being unable to sustain your resolutions in the end.

Especially at the start of the year, we “have to” do a lot of things. Often for others, but especially for ourselves. Losing weight, exercising more, quitting drinking, quitting smoking, eating healthier, planning better, learning something new, etc. And that “have to” is what it’s all about. That “have to” causes us more stress than that it will ultimately please us. Ask yourself why you “have to” do something and for whom? What is your motivation?

If you are motivated to do something because someone else expects or wants something from you, we are talking about extrinsic motivation. You are externally stimulated to do something. This could be in a form of punishment or reward. An example is if some one would give you a 100 euros if you would exercise every day for a month. Usually you can only maintain this motivation for a short time because the punishment or reward disappears at some point or because you no longer get satisfaction out of it. When you are self- motivated, we call it intrinsic motivation. For example, you train for your participation in the Alpe d’HuZes, because a family member has recently been diagnosed with cancer and you want to raise money for more research. So this means that you really “want to” do something. You make your own choices based on the things you want. The difference is therefore to be found in the words “have to” and “want to.”

Motivation problems arise especially when you have the feeling that others decide for you. You do things to avoid punishment or to receive a reward. Ultimately, this will not give you any satisfaction and the chances are that over time you will become demotivated and stop your resolutions completely. In fact, this can even result in feeling worse than before because you think you have failed. So be sure to research where your motivation comes from and whether this is something you really “want to” instead of “have to.”

Words are powerful. That is why I do not speak of New Year’s resolutions, but intentions for the new year. My intentions are:

  • Focus on coaching; because I see a lot of people struggling and I want to help.
  • Living healthier; because I feel my body needs more attention.
  • Exploring my spirituality; because I want to expand my mind.
  • Connecting with people in all areas of my life; because I think we need each other now more than ever.

I want to fulfill my intentions with full dedication this year. I feel this in my core and I am (intrinsically) motivated to give priority to this. So, among other things, I want to connect with you more! Let me know whether you have made New Year’s resolutions / intentions or not at all? And whether you think you are extrinsically or intrinsically motivated? I would love to read it!

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