Sometimes it’s hard to do the things we want to do—and it’s especially hard to do the things we don’t want to do but know are good for us. You can boost your motivation by thinking about how to connect your goal to positive feelings.
This worksheet is an excerpt from Mental Health America’s 2023 Mental Health Month Toolkit.
Here’s a web-friendly version of the questions from the worksheet:
For 30-60 seconds, close your eyes and think about being outdoors. How do you feel? What do you see? What is around you? Light? Wind? What does it smell like? What does it sound like?
Open your eyes. Jot down some notes about what benefits you felt being outdoors. Push aside any thoughts about what you “should” feel and really think about the positives about spending some of your time outdoors.
What is one thing you can do in the next week or two to spend time outdoors for your mental health? In MHA’s Connection Survey, 68% of people answered “taking a walk” – that’s often the first activity that comes to mind, but you have other options too! Anything that gets you outside counts as a starting point.
(Examples: reading in the backyard, exercising in the park, a camping trip, etc.)
Motivation is tied to pleasure or the avoidance of pain or fear. We feel motivation from things we say or feel inside our minds or from things we get from others or outside ourselves. What gets you motivated? What helps you feel accomplished, appreciated, or loved?
(Examples: checking off a to-do list, hearing verbal praise, spending time with others, doing things that relate to my values, etc.)
Planning into action
Now that you’ve done some reflecting, it’s time to start preparing for action. How can you make your answers to “Planning” and “Building Motivation” work together? Or, when working toward your goal, what can you do to keep your mind on the positive it brings to your life?
(Examples: When I take a walk, I’ll check it off my list; I’ll share goals and wins with friends for praise; etc.)