No One (Even You!) Lacks Motivation

Learn the secret to staying motivated

By Jen Nash, DClinPsych

Something that I hear time and time again in my work with people with diabetes is, "I have no motivation."

They know what they should be doing to care for their health, but they can't seem to summon up the how.

So when I tell them, "You are one of the most motivated people I have ever seen"—they tend to stare at me in complete disbelief!

But then I explain.

They are motivated to do all sorts of things in life.

Watch their favorite TV show. Eat a delicious meal in the company of loved ones. Sleep late on the weekend. Spend a day pursuing an enjoyable pastime or hobby.

I bet there's not a single person reading this who finds that the concept of "motivation" enters their mind when they are thinking of doing these fun activities! In fact, if you are anything like me, you are raring to go and experience the enjoyable feelings that these activities bring you.

So the crucial difference with these things is that they are a short-term route to good feelings, which health-promoting activities such as exercising, eating healthily, or testing your blood often aren't, especially when you are just beginning to engage in them.

No one feels motivated to do something if the costs seem to outweigh the benefits. Go to the gym in the evening or curl up on the sofa watching TV? I'm sure you can see what I mean!

So the secret with motivation is to link the activity that feels like a challenge with one that feels easy. You could:

  • Plan your exercise so it's immediately followed by watching your favorite TV show.
  • Make the doctor's appointment you've been putting off for months and visit your favorite museum or gallery afterwards.
  • Test your blood glucose and then phone a friend you love to chat with straight after.

By pairing the "not so fun" with the "fun," you'll reward yourself today, while building up health and vitality for the future.

Dr. Jen Nash is a clinical psychologist who has lived with diabetes for more than 20 years. She runs, an education, therapy and coaching service that supports people with type 1 and 2 to manage the emotional and psychological impact of day to day life with diabetes.

Read Dr. Nash's biography here.

Read more of Dr. Nash's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

Last Modified Date: June 13, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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