Is there some change you wish to make but you just can’t get motivated?  Have you lost the motivation you used have in your career, hobbies, relationships, personal health?  Are you frustrated that motivation doesn’t simply “appear” when you need it most?

One of the reasons I LOVE being a life coach is because most people are looking for motivation to change.  Or motivation to deal with change for the best of outcomes. And some are looking for the key motivation behind their motivations, the areas where emotional and spiritual intelligence need development before they are able to accept new challenges such as losing weight, exercising, finding a new jobs or finally realizing that a relationship is broken beyond repair.

All of us have moments when our motivation goes dry, when we find simple, daily tasks too burdensome. How do we get our motivation back on track?  What can unblock us?  What motivates our motivation?  I offer four keys that unlock the door to personal motivation.

Key One: Take responsibility and quit blaming!
A lack of motivation is an interruption to our routine. It’s also a call to take responsibility for what is now going on, rather than blaming yourself, others, or circumstances. You may feel disappointed and even angry.  How do you shift to a win-win result? 

You may be tempted to blame partly because it feels so good! You can deflect personal responsibility and focus on an objective reason why you’re not motivated…the weather, the boss, your partner, distractions at home, a lack of discipline, hiccups! When you blame you are actually just cheating yourself.

Taking responsibility usually doesn’t feel that great at first.  This is because, unlike blaming, taking responsibility and acting on it is not a spontaneous emotion, but, like love, is a deliberate and conscious decision. When you take responsibility for being at least partially involved in the outcome of a situation, you acknowledge what you might have done differently and change behaviors that benefit your desired outcome.

Key Two:  Your intuition has a message for you!
Intuition is the “sixth sense” rooted in our hearts that gives us information that our brain misses. Taking the time to listen to your heart will give you a wealth of information as to what’s really happening in this moment and how it either supports or sabotages the values you hold dear.  There are many kinds of intuition. For a fuller explanation, email me ( and I will send you the chapter about intuition from my book, “Life Interrupted, Taking Charge After Everything Has Changed.”

Key Three:  Have you checked into your conscience?
When our hearts tell us how to behave and on what to base our personal values, we call this our conscience. Our consciences are silent voices that continually goad us into accepting change. If we allow them free rein they will speak to us of new ways to love and serve through the expression of our core values. Your conscience may say things such as: Either get involved or move on. Make a choice and act on it with your deepest conviction. Conscience usually gets activated in one of three ways: 

Empathy is an emotion directed toward us. With empathy we invite into our hearts the feelings of those around us. We sense their unspoken emotions…fear, anxiety, friendliness, openness, awe, sadness, stress, worry, grief.
Sympathy is a static emotion. We feel positive regard for what others are going through, even though we cannot identify with their experience. Sympathy usually remains just a sentiment, such as feeling sorry for someone who’s lost a loved one. It goes nowhere unless we move on to the third manifestation of conscience which is…
Compassion.  True compassion is an emotion directed toward others. We empathize or sympathize and then we “suffer with” (com-passio) the other, being present to them with love and without judgment.

Key Four: Non-Judgment
This is the most difficult key for many us.  We tend to judge ourselves and others constantly, as a measure of our success, as a means to controlling outcomes, as a defense against being hurt by the behavior or words from others.  Judgment brings up the issue of falling short, of not being enough, of doing wrong, of missing the mark.

Judgment often leads either to true guilt or toxic shame.  True guilt is an intellectual, conscious knowledge that you’ve done something objectively wrong and you take responsibility for it and its consequences.  Toxic shame is something we inherit in our families, through abuse, bullying, or other trauma that “feels” as if we’ve done something “wrong,” but actually tells us that we are defective human beings. Guilt can morph into toxic shame when we have not dealt with its source and the judgments around it.

Toxic shame kills motivation. It tells the lie that we cannot rise to the task, we cannot succeed, we’re not good, strong, powerful, talented, smart, skillful, beautiful, or personable enough.  We use such judgments to punish ourselves into submission in the mistaken belief that punishment leads to a positive change in behavior, while the opposite is actually true! Unfair judgment is at the source of our prison system, of much of our religious teaching, of our obesity problem, of the suicide rate among gay and transgendered teens, and of the dysfunction we experience from generation to generation in family systems.

Being truly non-judgmental about ourselves and others means that we take things as they present themselves without us having to reason why, analyze, justify, or explain. Non-judgment enables us to find the motivation we seek that is good for us, that works for us, that enables us to jump the hurdles toward our personal goals. It means our lives are nobody’s business but our own, as long as we are acting ethically and legally.

Next time you can’t get motivated for something that is important to you or a loved one, try moving through these four keys to opening the door. I’ve learned about them the hard way. I hope you don’t have to!

© 2017 Michael Parise
Portions excerpted from Michael’s book: Life Interrupted, Taking Charge After Everything Has Changed

Since 1979 Michael has worked with individuals and groups to take full advantage interruptions and changes to balance responsibilities, simplify their lives, and find greater productivity and peace.
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