Encouragement is the fuel for motivation. When we feel encouraged it feels good, and we want more of it, so we are motivated to get the next thing done so we can get those feel-good feelings again. The drive to feel good can be strong enough to motivate us to do more.
When we attach the good feeling to accomplishing something, we want to do it again so that we’ll get the good feeling again. You can use some very simple techniques to build up your own motivation by practicing self-encouragement. When you finish the task you’re working on, sit back and close your eyes for a moment. Imagine that you are your boss or supervisor sitting across from yourself. Give yourself some praise. Let that you know that you did a great job. It doesn’t matter if you just washed the dishes, made a pot of coffee, or completed an assignment. Whatever you just did, compliment yourself on it. Even if the compliments seem ridiculous (“Wow! You just brushed your teeth like a champ!”) you are building up those good feelings and attaching those good feelings to the act of getting something done.
In hypnosis we call this process of attaching a feeling to an activity an “anchor.” Anchors are handy because they allow you to use that activity to access those positive feelings anywhere. Encouragement is an excellent way to reinforce positive behaviors, and when we tap into those positive emotions we feel when we are being encouraged, we effortlessly create new patterns of behavior that match those positive states.
You can use this self hypnosis technique to create an anchor that will help you build up your own habit of encouragement and let you bring your positive feelings to the surface any time you choose.
To begin, sit in a safe and comfortable position and just take a couple good, deep breaths. You can let your eyes close if you’d like. Let yourself think about an area in your life where you would benefit from a little encouragement and motivation. Next, think about the most important ways you would benefit from making some positive changes. If you had more motivation and if you felt more encouraged to do these things, what would be different?
Once you have that in mind, imagine that you’ve already made the changes and that you are already enjoying your success. Create an image in your mind of the you that you want to be, and let it be clear and vivid, so that you can see you there with everything going just how you want it to go.
Now, let yourself remember a time in your life where you did something you didn't think you could do before. A time when you used your own abilities to get something done. Whatever first comes to mind is perfect.
Now really get into that memory with as much detail as you can. Remember the sights, sounds, people, the things around you. Go into that memory as if you were there again, seeing it through your own eyes, hearing the sounds around you in your own body, the smells and temperatures. Make it as real as possible, almost as though you’re there again now.
Now remember that feeling in your body, that feeling of accomplishment, pride, strength - however you label that feeling - let it build up inside you.
Now with that feeling of your own awesomeness filling you up from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, squeeze together one of your fingers and your thumb and let those positive feelings build up even stronger until it fills you up and becomes the dominant sensation in your body.
Now release your fingers, relax your hand and take a deep breath letting yourself relax.
Repeat this process, using another memory, letting those feelings build up and then squeeze together that same finger and thumb once again, letting those positive sensations get even stronger.
Great! When you’re finished, bring back that image of you how you want things to be. Notice how it’s clearer, more realistic, as if there was never even a question that this was a possibility. Take a couple slow, deep breaths and let yourself enjoy that feeling, reminding yourself that this success is nothing new, this is who you are.
You can use that subtle gesture of squeezing your finger and thumb together anytime you need a little boost of encouragement.
Language may be the most powerful tool we have. The words we use have the ability to create strong emotions and lasting patterns of behaviors. The way we speak to ourselves shapes the way we think.
You can take a moment and think about something that was said to you that made you feel confident, happy, or important. Those words were so powerful, that even now, by remembering the experience you can begin to feel those positive feelings again. The same is true for negative experiences.