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Episode 54: Finding Motivation

Video Highlights

- Motivation techniques from our 9S: Sustenance and Spirit course.
- How to find your personal motivation.
- The best way to talk about the changes you want to make.

Hi everybody, Dr. Cobb with you.

Hope you’re having a great week.

I am currently in wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark as you can see.  I just got over here to teach a couple of fantastically well-filled classes.  We love coming here.  We have great crowds so I’m really excited to be here.

Flying to Europe and coming here is always interesting to me as well because I’m a bit of a linguist.  I love language.  I’m always fascinated by how different languages translate human emotion and concepts. What I’m going to do today in the blog is very quickly go through with you three questions that can change your life.

We have coming up at the end of this month, of course in Arizona, which is our Sustenance and Spirit Course. (Here is a short video introducing 9S: Sustenance and Spirit)  That course is all about nutrition, but really our nutrition course is about 80% how to talk to people.

What we’ve learned over time is that people can know the exact thing that they need to do, but changing their life, changing their environment and their behavior to enact that is often incredibly difficult.

What we talk a lot about in that course is how vital it is to help people find their own motivations for doing the things that they really want to do.  As silly as it sounds that can be challenging for people; especially if that’s coming and having a conversation.

One of the things we’ve learned about the human brain is that the human brain believes what you say to yourself more than what anyone else says to you, especially because you get to rep it out.

You talk to yourself constantly and so asking yourself better, more appropriate questions can really make a huge difference in enacting behavior change.  What we’re going to do today is we’re going to go through, as I said, three quick questions that can really change the path of your life.  I want you to get a piece of paper out and a pen and follow along with me here.

I want you to realize that this is a way you can talk to yourself.  It’s also a way that you can talk to your kids, your coworkers, and your friends and the power of this is found in how the questions are asked.  When we do it the right way you will tell yourself over and over what you actually need to hear and need to know about yourself to make habit change work.

Here’s how this is going to go.  We’re going to use a simple example.  The simple example is I want to wake up to 20 minutes earlier every morning to make my transition to work easier.  Really, really simple, I want to wake up 20 minutes earlier every morning.

What I typically would do in talking to someone is let’s get really clear very detailed, very specific, on what it is that you want.

I want to lose weight is not as specific as I want to lose 20 pounds by August 31st.  That’s the kind of phrasing that I really like to work with.  Once we have a specific goal sitting in front of us the next question I’m going to ask you is, all right, on a scale of 1 to 10 how motivated are you to make this change.  A lot of people when they first hear that question they think, ah, he wants me to be a 9 or a 10.

The honest answer is I don’t care what number you give me so right now you think about the change that you want to make and right now on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being not motivated at all, 10 being hyper-motivated where you are.

Maybe our person here said, you know I really want to wake up 20 minutes earlier and I said how motivated are you for this, and they’re like I’m a 7.   Now once I have a number here’s the important question and the way you have to phrase it.

If you wrote down I’m a 7, I’d say this.  All right, awesome, why are you a 7 and not a 2?  Automatically whenever you have to answer, really think about that and answer that question, what it’s going to make you do is give all the reasons that you’re actually motivated to make the change.

Well if I got you 20 minutes earlier it’d be easier for me to spend some time with my kids.  It’d be easier for me to maybe spend some time just planning my day so the rest of it goes easier.

Whatever it is, you wind up giving yourself reasons to make the change.  Now think about that or contrast it if I asked this question.  All right, what can I do to get you from a 7 to a 10, what often happens is when I phrase it that way people begin telling me all the reasons that they can’t make the change occur.

Remember, if you believe what you say more than what anyone else says what we have to do is use very intelligent questioning to help you say over, and over, and over again, get your reps in, at telling yourself why it’s important, why you’re motivated to make this change, and why you can do it.

Once you’ve asked yourself that question, that set of questions, about motivation, you’re then going to conclude the exercise by asking yourself another question.  How confident am I, on a scale from 1 to 10, that I can make this change and then you go through the same process.  Ah, I’ve tried it in the past, I’m not really confident that I can get up 20 minutes earlier so I’m a 3.

All right if you’re a 3 I’m still going to ask you the question the same way.  What makes you a 3 and not a 1.  Once again we’re going to get you to, as we say, argue for the change that you want.  Get your reps in at telling yourself all the reasons that you can be successful.

This is an incredibly powerful technique.  We use it all the time on ourselves in our office and even when you know what you’re doing to yourself or when you know…  In the office when we know what we’re doing to one another, it’s still profoundly useful because over and over what we get to hear is our own inner conversation leading us in the path or the direction that we want to go.

Give that a shot this week and let us know how it goes.  If you have any questions about it I’d be happy to talk with you about it.

As you know, we’re always trying to come with new simple ways that you can create great changes in your life.  When it comes to behavior very few things are as profound as having the right types of conversations with yourself using the right questions.

Have a great week.

Look forward to talking to you soon.


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