“…control exerted to do something or restrain impulses...”
Let's stop talking about willpower, okay? First of all, I don't think it exists, do you? If there is such a thing, the control and restraint they are talking about have failed me time and time again. So, let's stop trying to summon enough willpower to get the job done.
“…the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way/the general desire of someone to do something…”
Instead, let's take a look at motivation. Isn't it much better to find good reasons to do something rather than having to power through it against your will?
You might say I'm just throwing semantics around. Maybe, but here are a few ways to summon motivation and reach your goal without all the anguish.
Steps to activate your motivation
Your goal could be anything — losing weight, increasing fitness, eating healthy. For the purposes of this blog post, I'll use one of my goals : To increase making healthy food choices. Here are the steps…
What is your goal? The first step in reaching a goal is to identify it clearly. Be specific with your definition and be reasonable with your expectations. I have been shaping my plant-based eating for a while now. I have gone through periods of pure plant-based eating with some success. But maintenance of strict plant-based eating requires, for me, a good deal of control and restraint. So, I'm not fond of the effort it takes, and the failure when my effort isn't enough.
Therefore, my goal is merely to eat healthier by eating plant-based as often as possible and to use vegetarian alternatives and minimally processed foods when absolutely necessary.
To have a better chance of success at meeting even the easiest goal, do some serious thinking of why you have chosen that goal.
For example, for years, I have eaten primarily processed foods containing fat, sugar, and salt. Consequently, reasons to shape my eating toward plant based and away from processed foods are:
Steps to reach the goal:
Decrease/eliminate extensive use of heavily processed foods
Increase consumption of plant-based foods
Use minimally processed and vegetarian foods when plant-based alternatives are not available
Do the work
Work on each step of your plan to meet your goal. Accomplishing each step is rewarding, but don't forget to reinforce yourself for each accomplishment - even the little ones- within each step. If you goof up, and you will at some point, re-assess your plan, evaluate your reasons, make necessary modifications and move on.
Evaluate whether your plan is working and reinforce the reasons for your goal
To maintain motivation, it is good to evaluate how things are going periodically. To analyze whether your system is working, look back to see how far you've come in reaching your goal. If all is going well, pat yourself on the back and continue. If there are glitches, identify them honestly, and modify what you are doing.