How changing the language caused a mindset shift.

I don’t mediate. Yes, I understand all of the health benefits of doing it. And I even did it somewhat regularly at one point in my life.

But it’s hard. It’s boring. More importantly, it’s time-consuming.

Oh, wait. It’s supposed to be all of that but in a positive way.

I get it, I really do.

Over the years I’ve tried it from different angles. First I practiced Tai Chi, badly and with little patience. Why do you have to move so slowly?

Then I began practicing Vinyasa yoga. This was an improvement until my travel schedule made it impossible to attend classes.

Years later, I returned to yoga during my first pregnancy, but not for my second. Yoga and two kids under the age of three wasn’t a good mix and we’d relocated.

Attempts to re-boot my yoga practice failed year after year.

While earning a specialization in positive psychology, various professors challenged me to try mediation.

I hated it.

I especially didn’t like the loving-kindness meditation practice, though I couldn’t explain why. It might have had something to do with the professor requiring us to do it.

Unwittingly my instructor had abandoned an underlying principle of the Self-determination Theory of Motivation. My sense of autonomy about engaging with a new meditation practice was squashed.

Photo credit: Kori D. Miller

The interrelationship and satisfaction of each element increase intrinsic motivation. Taking just one away reduces it.

Boom! No loving-kindness meditation for me.

After a few semesters, I revisited the practice and learned to appreciate it for its simplicity. Finding a guided one that I could tolerate (I mean enjoy) was paramount.

The event could be anything. How you describe the event is what can lead to changing your motivation.

Event: Running your first 1/2 marathon.

Language: Training is hard. I’ll never be in good enough shape to run one.

Motivation: Low (And the more I feed into that language, the more my motivation becomes like the Titanic.)

But if I change my language to:

“Training is challenging, and honestly, after a run, I feel pretty good.”

My motivation to continue goes from low to medium. The more I feed this language to my brain, the more my motivation to train increases.

I’m a human guinea pig and do this stuff all the time. It’s effective and works.

How will you calibrate your day?

I’m a habit change aficionado, facilitator, and coach who loves helping others achieve their goals one bite-size step at a time.
I’m a habit change aficionado, facilitator, and coach who loves helping others achieve their goals one bite-size step at a time.

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