Motivation: Making Positive Changes.  

This may print better using the Word version.


Preface:  The solutions below are quotes, summaries from secular writers along with some personal applications.  If you are a Christian, as you read through this and apply it, read the verses referenced along with many of the ideas.  It’s best for Christians to complete “Motivation from Within” first.


There are two kinds of motivation, Internal (from within you) and External (an outward force). Internal motivation is needed for lasting change. Even internally motivated people do best working with others.

 "Dependent people need others (external) to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts(internal). Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.”

Mark below what seems like something you can relate to and put into practice.

·        External motivation (Consequences)

o   When rewards stop, activity stops

o   The need for someone outside of you to approve of you or something outside of you to prove your worth. John 12:43

o   Since we can not always obtain outside approval, we may be unhappy with ourselves when it is not readily available.

o   People who feel they are being controlled, following other people’s rules show less persistence in pursuing their goals.

List some possible consequences when what you do is because of pressure of some sort from external sources? _______________________________________________________________



·        Internal motivation

o   Definition: Desire and ability to achieve goals outside of a structured situation or outside rewards.

o   Results

§  Ability to pursue a goal to its conclusion. I Cor 9:24; 2 Tim. 4:7

§  Longer life, better health, relationships, jobs, more money, lower chance of jail time.

o   Tools

§  Focus on emotions; feel something. How does success feel?

§  Make note of prior hard work and your gains. Persistent people spend twice as long thinking about their accomplishments.  So think about them!

§  “You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.”  Who/what makes you bigger?

§  Master your motivation and find your drive. I Cor 9:16; 10:31

§  Our greatest values drive our behavior. (See values below)

§  Build your self-awareness.  Think about what’s going on inside of you.  2 Corinthians 13:5  Romans 12:3

§  Learn how to push your own buttons from the inside out.

§  Develop internal rewards. Start by receiving external rewards from others. Then identify specific changes you have implemented and give yourself credit for following through with these changes.

§  Make note of specific positive feedback. Take notes for a day or week recording specific self-statements about the goal you are trying to achieve. Then review the list and mark whether the statements are negative or positive. Make an effort to be more specific in your positive self-statements.



Mark which of the below you expect to work out best for you.

·        Connect to your values. Tie your values (below) to what you wish to accomplish.

·        Find your WHY.  Figure out a compelling purpose for what you wish to accomplish.

·        If needed, change your WHY.  I Cor 6:19-20  Eph 2:10  Micah 6:8

·        Change your HOW. Do it faster, slower or better.

·        Remember the feeling. Remember a feeling when things were going the way you want them to go.

·        Shift to past, present or the future.  Find enjoyment in one of the time frames, a memory or a hope.  Don’t allow your mind to stay in a painful time frame.

·        Find a meaningful metaphor.  Ex: “I can do anything with God’s help.”

·        Take action.  Just get started.  James 1:22; 2:17

·        Link painful tasks to good feelings.   Ex: Play your favorite song and feel the feeling the song gives you.

·        Impress yourself first.”  Look to yourself first for affirmation, not others.

·        “CHOOSE” to.  Think, “I’m CHOOSING” rather than I MUST, HAVE TO, or SHOULD.

·        Pair up.  Find someone to walk or work alongside of you.

·        Change your question. Instead of what’s wrong with a situation, ask what’s right about it.

·        Play to your strengths.  Spend as much time as possible doing what you’re good at.


1.    How specifically can you put those you think will work into practice? _________________________________________________________________






2. After trying them out, mark differently which ones worked best.

What are your values?

___ CURIOSITY - The desire for knowledge and experience.

___ ACCEPTANCE - The desire for inclusion.

___ ORDER - The desire for organization.

___ PHYSICAL ACTIVITY - The desire for the exercise of muscles.

___ HONOR - The desire to be loyal to one's parents and/or God.

___ POWER - The desire to influence others.

___ INDEPENDENCE - The desire for self-reliance.

___ SOCIAL CONTACT - The desire for companionship.

___ FAMILY - The desire to raise one's own children.

___ STATUS - The desire for social standing.

___ IDEALISM - The desire for social justice.

___ VENGEANCE - The desire to get even.  Rom 12:9

___ ROMANCE - The desire for intimacy, sensuality, and sexuality.

___ EATING - The desire to consume food.

___ SAVING - The desire to collect things.

___ TRANQUILITY - The desire for emotional calm.


1.    Put a G next to the values that you think are God’s business.

2.    Put a I next to the values that are most important to you.

3.    Write down at least 3 values and how you can use your important internal values to help you not fail









Mark in some manner below what is meaningful to you.

·        Changing the environment (what is around you) where you gave in to your bad habit is the easiest and most powerful tool. Studies show that 45% of behaviors are repeated in the same place almost daily.

o   Example of Heroin Addiction

§  Only 5 percent of the people who were addicted in Vietnam did not become re-addicted when they returned to the United States.

§  90% of addicts treated in the U.S. and returned home relapsed.

o   As needed, and as possible change

§  Where you go

§  What is close to you

§  Who is close to you I Cor 15:33

o   Put whatever you can in place to make: James 4:7

§  Failing harder to do  (even if it forces you to just take 30 seconds longer)

§  Succeeding easier to do (even if a very small change)

o   Have a reminder (Ex: A sign, a daily text message from a friend)

o   Join or stay in a group so you see change is possible. Hebrews 10:25

·        Replace, not just stop a bad habit. What is your replacement? Eph 4:22-24; 5:18

·        Have a plan

o   Write out the steps you take before your unwanted behavior and your ways of escape. (Use Steps to Failure study) I Cor 10:13

o   Write out the triggers that lead to your unwanted behavior. (Below)

§  Write out how you can avoid the triggers as much as possible.

§  Commit ahead of time and have a plan written out for when the trigger happens

§  What can you think differently when the trigger happens?


·        Work with your willpower

o   Without God’s intervention, it is limited. Rom 12:3

§  Plan as few changes as possible at a time.

§  Make as few decisions as possible. (Follow a routine as much as possible)

o   Be accountable to a friend who will also be of help to you. Prov 27:17

o   Think about how important success is to you.

o   Think about somebody else who has good self-control, who sets a good example. I Cor 4:15

o   Believe that you have lots of willpower. 2 Cor 12:9  Phil 4:13

·        When struggling

o   Eat something, like protein. Mark 5:42-43

o   Get enough rest. Mark 6:31

§  Most failure is evening hours or after

§  Impulsive crimes are mostly committed after midnight.

·        Practice self control. When you get to the end of your day and you KNOW you won’t “fail” at something important, practice self control. 2 Timothy 1:7

o   Wait a few minutes before doing something you want to do.

o   Just listen to someone when don’t want to or want to talk.

o   Do some sort of physical workout.


Improving Success

Mark in some manner below what is meaningful to you.

·        Motivation is more important than intelligence or ability to complete tasks.

·        We’re more motivated by the need for autonomy, mastery and purpose when performing complex tasks

·        Nothing more motivating than progress in meaningful work

·        Nothing more un-motivating than setbacks

·        Many small gains are better than occasional large gains

·        Nearly every person is motivated by different needs, at varying degrees, and at different times.


1.    What parts of your environment are best changed for you to have success?

New environment

Specific Plan for change

Where you go

Who you’re with

What is around you


2.              What do you lose by making those changes? ______________________



3.              What do you gain by making those changes?  ______________________



4.       Required for Christians: Read Mark 8:35-36 below.  What additional thoughts do you have about the above two answers? _____________________


5.      What can you replace your bad habit with? (MUST DO THIS!)



Mark 8:35-36 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?


6.    Fill in the below for the triggers that apply to you. As much as possible, include both actions and thoughts.  I Corinthians 10:13 2 Corinthians 10:5


Actions/thoughts to help avoid the trigger






Physical feeling

7.    Fill in the below for the triggers that apply to you. As much as possible, include both actions and thoughts.  I Corinthians 10:13 2 Corinthians 10:5


Actions to take and thoughts to have when triggered!






Physical feeling


Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Prov 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Mark 5:42-43  Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 6:31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

John 12:43  for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

Rom 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Rom 12:9 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

I Cor 4:15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

I Cor 9:16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

I Cor 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

I Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

I Cor 15:33 Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

Philippians 4:13  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Hebrews 10:25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

James 2:17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.





Leader information and supplements below








Motivating Others

o   Stories are the most powerful weapon

o   Leaders should be deliberately redundant

o   Rewards one expects to receive are most significant

o   Give responsibility. We found if we randomly assigned people to be the boss that they don’t show that willpower depletion effect as fast. It’s postponed.

“Just a little bit of practice every day can increase self-control and improving self-control in one area of life tends to improve all areas of life.”

This quote seems to be in conflict with having limited willpower although the study didn’t indicate any of the subjects were in a crisis mode, nor that the final test was on the same day as the “workouts.”  I suggested the “workout’ to be in the evening only when one knew they wouldn’t fail.



But you’re an objective, self-determined, independent, unique snowflake, you say? No, you’re not.

·        Those around you affect more of your behavior than you think. Poor fitness, car purchases, lateness, having children, charitable contributions, divorce and stupidity are all contagious.

·        Your environment manipulates your decision-making more than you care to know as well. You act warmer when it’s warmer and colder when it’s colder. Context rules how you eat; you consume more when plates are bigger and food is closer. When you see kindness, you are kind. What you wear affects how you act.

·        Sorry to squash the idea of soulmates but who you date is only 2% about what you want and 98% who is nearby. The boost from caffeine and the fun of a roller coaster makes you think a date is more attractive that they really are. The happiness of relationships is often more about the fun places you go and things you do together than the characteristics of the people in it.

The reason you’re often so good a predicting other people’s behavior and so bad at predicting your own is because when forecasting other people’s actions you always take context into consideration. With yourself, you assume you’re objective.

We are often lazy creatures of habit, strongly influenced by the world around us. We don’t even use our leisure time to do what we really enjoy, we do what’s easiest. And without a prod we don’t do the ethical thing, we do what’s convenient.

But the predictability of our reliance on context points to a remarkably effective method for improving one’s life:


THE RIDER AND THE ELEPHANT:  I’m holding the reins in my hands, and by pulling one way or the other I can tell the elephant to turn, to stop, or to go. I can direct things, but only when the elephant doesn’t have desires of his own. When the elephant really wants to do something, I’m no match for him.

The old parts of the brain are like the elephant: A simple yet powerful creature, ruled by primal emotion and desires.

The new brain (or prefrontal cortex) is the rider: Smarter and more rational but easily overpowered.

1.    Keep the elephant calm.  Don’t do things that will tempt your desires. Manipulate your environment so as to make what you should do easy and what you shouldn’t do hard.

2.    Strengthen the rider. And don’t let him get tired.

3.    Train the elephant.  Break bad habits and create good ones. Much of what we do every day is based on impulse and habit, not conscious thought. More than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.



Don’t fantasize


·        Fantasies steal the energy you need to achieve your goals:

·         You’re getting the reward before you’ve done the work and this kills your motivation.


·        Baby steps: Set easily attainable mini-goals you’re sure to succeed at. Success along the way is critical.

·        Reward yourself for small amounts of progress

·        Accept you may fail and consider it a temporary setback