For the last thirteen years, in each two-day workshop, I've asked my clients if they love themselves, if they think they're perfect. No-one answers "Yes". It's damn difficult to motivate yourself if there are things about yourself that you don't like. And, indeed, chances are that there are things that you don't like about yourself that you've been meaning to change but never do. After all, research shows that most people have similar New Year's Resolutions from one year to the next! And, on top of all that, people then read so-called self-help books and try to talk themselves into feeling good about themselves and being motivated.
Self-affirmation is pretty much a waste of time. Positive self-talk bombards the conscious mind with feel-good statements that don't make the conscious mind feel good! Because the conscious mind feels nothing - it just thinks - around 50,000 random thoughts each day. And most of those random thoughts are either useless or self-destructive. Your barking up the wrong tree.
It's your subconscious mind you want to get in touch with. It's your subconscious mind that harbours your self-doubts and your misconceived self-perceptions. It's your subconscious mind that uses those incorrect self-perceptions to create your everyday behaviour - your perceived strong points, your perceived weak points and their related self-defence mechanisms. It's your subconscious mind that was programmed with your view or yourself and the world during your so-called formative years, your childhood, when you were "young and impressionable". And, nowadays, today, it's your subconscious mind's out of date (many years out of date) self-view that creates your daily life.
Years - decades - of work in the fields of humanistic, behavioural, clinical and neuro psychology all prove this conclusively. Your subconscious mind, which is visual, took snapshots of the things that impressed you when you were young and impressionable. Those snapshots were programmed into your subconscious and those programs run today to enable you behave automatically through what psychology calls automaticity. Automaticity is great for getting habitual repetitive tasks done without you having to think about them. But your whole life is habitual and repetitive, your work colleagues and your nearest and dearest are so familiar to you that everything you do to them, for them and with them becomes habitual and repetitive. So, in fact, automaticity "enables" you doing almost everything without thinking about it. You don't even have to bother to turn up!
And that's why the University of Chicago will tell you that you only put 1% of you into the here and now. No wonder most people don't love themselves - they don't know themselves. How could they, they're not all there!
So, to motivate yourself you need to stop automatic behaviour. You do this, quite simply, by starting small. Stop doing little things automatically and, sooner or later, you'll start doing really important things mindfully too. Tomorrow morning, brush your teeth with the hand with which you don't habitually brush your teeth. The result will be that you will be more "all there" than normal and you will have started to disrupt your repetitive pattern of normal mindless living. This, in turn, will draw more of your subconscious mind's attention into the present moment, so that less of your subconscious will pay attention to the out of date snapshots that have been, up to now, dictating your automatic behaviour.
You don't have to talk yourself into being motivated - the normal person isn't listening anyway! You simply have to be a little more present than normal - more than 1% present. Then you will suddenly realise that you feel better, are more effective, more efficient and that little bit more turned on. Motivation becomes a useless concept - because concept is all it is. You feel motivated - you feel turned on - you experience the difference between being dead from the neck up and being more alive.
And when you are more alive, more turned on, more alert and more present, you have presence. Presence makes you more impressive. So, not only might you motivate yourself, you might motivate a few people around you too!
Try it tomorrow morning - you've nothing to lose - and so much to gain.
Willie Horton was born and educated in Dublin, Ireland. An ex-Accountant and ex-Banker, he has worked with business leaders for thirteen years, enabling them understand how their state of mind creates their lives. Clients describe the results as 'unbelievable' and 'life-changing'. Willie now lives with his wife and children in the French Alps. For more information, visit: