People & Human Resources

What holds you back and what propels you forward?

Engel Schmidl /

Most of us are fairly clear on what we want to change, what we want to improve and the gap between that reality and the one we are living. The question remains – what is stopping you from taking the necessary steps to make it all happen?

An interesting exercise is to look back over your life at what the trigger was that led you to take the first steps to the situation you are in now. Mostly, these triggers are key relationships, jobs, financial freedom and current geographical location. This can give you a keen insight into your personal motivational triggers for making longer lasting change in your life today.

So often in life we choose the stable and unchallenging path as we seek safety and comfort. Unfortunately, this safe road often leads to long-term dissatisfaction, but choosing the alternative is difficult – we are risk-averse creatures.

The trigger to change for the better

This is what we look for to change a bad habit. Smoking, losing weight, stopping a path to self-destruction, undertaking a new course of study – these are all activities in which we seek a variety of long-term benefits. Feelings of satisfaction or the physical benefits of improved health are great goals – but it usually takes something significant to tip us over the edge. Perhaps you walked up a flight of stairs and were so worn out you needed to take a five-minute breath? Maybe you have seen one too many overdue bill and have decided that you’ll no longer allow this kind of stress in your life.

How can we create a trigger rather than wait for one?

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a button you could push that would give the sort of motivation that one of those trigger moments does? Well there is a process you can walk through, and it is a very enlightening one. These trigger moments are usually realisations – a specific thought or event that makes us realise that things are not as they should be.

Start by looking at what you enjoy

The things that give you mental satisfaction in life are the things that bring you the most joy. Assess the things in your life that make you the happiest. Likewise, make a list of the things in your life that bring you the most frustration and discomfort. Now think about what percentage of your life you spend feeling happy versus feeling angry/stressed/frustrated?

Is it a 50-50 split? Is that acceptable to you? What about 90% happiness? Does that sound reasonable? Or does that sound unattainable?

The most powerful trigger that exists is that elusive thought, “I can do something about this”. Solving all of your problems in one big hit is probably an unlikely scenario – but doing something that contributes to your wellbeing is always within your grasp.

Do something today

Whether it’s a grandiose declaration or pledge to change a life habit or a quick phone call or email to someone for a chat about life in general, you can do something right now that will help contribute to your overall happiness and move you closer to that trigger point to do something great.

Maybe you can be a trigger for someone else

When you know that a trigger is a realisation then you can start helping those around you and helping them live their lives to the fullest. Nobody likes to be told how they should live their life, but you could certainly ask these pertinent happiness questions to those that trust you and are seeking your advice.

Eve Ash has produced a wide range of resources and books and also a range of podcasts – check out ASK EVE!

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