Why I Can’t Motivate You to Change…But Maybe This Will

image Steve Jobs + motivation via TalkTherapyBiz.comI blew off work last weekend. Again. This time I couldn’t blame Kim Kardashian’s ass. Nor my mom, the Maker, or Facebook for Saturday’s slack-fest.

The problem was Me.

Maybe you’re here because you’re trying to change, but you lack the drive, the will to commit, or maybe it’s the negative voices around you which keep you stuck.

Sometimes knowing you’re unmotivated is enough — there’s little benefit in searching for the reasons behind your low energy. After all, the time you expend chasing down negative answers could be better spent on finding inspiration, am I right?

Behind every motive to change lies inspiration. And that’s what got me — the subject of motivation and the role of the therapist in moving clients toward thinking, feeling and acting differently.

On Saturday morning I was deep in conversation with a colleague when I found myself assessing the level of motivation I bring to the therapy room. Though I’m big on client self-determination, providing ample calming + relaxing resources, and the power of positive psychology, the fact remains — sometimes interventions fall flat.

The point here is regardless of a person’s head shrinker status (or not) nobody can motivate you to change, to feel happier, to lose weight, to sleep better at night, or to feel more calm, confident and in control if your you problem is the problem.

We’re all guilty of staying in relationships past their expiration date, and not doing enough to feel better.  Sixty-seven percent of us have gym memberships we never use, and 2/3 of adults admit to being unhappy. Bur there’s a big difference between visiting slackerdom, and dwelling there.

So what’s an indecisive, but well-meaning person to do?


Find what brings you to tears.


For some, that means the smell of a new car, or the promise of a relaxing beach getaway. For others, it’s the call from the high school dean that your 10th grader was caught smoking ganja. Many are moved by societies underdogs, while countless others live for the thrill of of victory and the agony of defeat. And some just need a good cry to jumpstart the “feeling” process once again.

For me, it’s National Anthems. Any country’s anthem, really. I could be watching the Yugoslavian Women’s Clean & Jerk event during the Olympics without fanfare. But the minute the medal ceremony begins…forget about it. When that first note plays and the simultaneous close-up of the athlete’s face flashes on the TV screen, I’m bawling like a dehydrated infant.

I lose my shit every time.

Drives my son crazy: “Mom!! Oh. My. Gosh! Are you crying?…Again? (Leaning in way too close for my tear-streaked comfort level). Ughhhhh. Just, just, just– Stop! You’re embarrassing me.

Mind you — there’s no one else in the room.

Which brings me to last Saturday afternoon and one of the most moving renditions of the National Anthem I’ve heard in a quite a while (thanks, Susan Giurleo!)

What makes it even more poignant is that Denver, Kentucky teen Marlana Vanhoose is blind, and was born with Cytomegalovirus, which can cause developmental disabilities.

This 2:18 YouTube video got me out of my funk and into writing an article for Psychology Today, completing two kick-ass workouts, and editing my ungrateful kid’s English and science papers.


Blind Teen Marlana Vanhoose NAILS the National Anthem (VIDEO):

Got chills?

Me, too!

How about you — what motivates you to bounce off the couch and do something meaningful?

And if you’re so motivated — please share this article on your Facebook or Twitter.

Yours in mental wellness,


About Linda Esposito

Hi there! I'm an Anxiety Saboteur and the creator of the soon-to-be retired TalkTherapyBiz.com. If you want to join me on Wired for Happy click this link to subscribe for details.

4 Responses to "Why I Can’t Motivate You to Change…But Maybe This Will"

    • Linda EspositoNo Gravatar says:

      Love that one! There’s a shorter version that gets straight to the heart of the inspiration to change the world, too…

  1. CarrieNo Gravatar says:

    What motivates me?

    “If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.” -Jim Rohn

  2. Curbing Anxiety with 10 Calmness Hacks, Courtesy of One Big Ass | TalkTherapyBiz says:

    […] 5. Survey your assets. Be realistic about what makes you special and unique. […]

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