How to motivate yourself

How to motivate yourself: taking that first courageous step toward personal growth

How to motivate yourself to change or grow: A quick guide to the hardest step by Connor McClenahan


Before you take that first step on the ground before you begin personal growth, there’s an entire mental journey is underway to get to that first step.


How to motivate yourself to get to that first step?

Take a runner as an example. A runner has decided it’s time to tackle his first marathon. It’s been a year since he’s done anything active, but something about the recent events in his life let him know it’s time to make a change. He unpacks his new running shoes from their box, removes the crumpled tissue paper, sits down on his front porch, and laces up. All kinds of thoughts creep in his head:

You’re too old for this. A marathon, really? No, it’s too cold outside… it’s raining. This is stupid. 

But then something inside him pushes him forward – you can do this. Quieting his mind, he stands up, moving his body forward without thought. He moves his right foot forward and down upon the pavement and suddenly finds himself in the familiar bouncing rhythm of his morning run.


The first step toward growth is the hardest part. It’s the first step that requires the most of us.

Why is the first step so important fo0r change or personal growth?

It requires courage, trust, and hope. It requires not knowing what change will feel like, and no momentum from which to move. The moment before the first step, the runner needs to muster up courage, quiet his mind, and free-fall into the first step. The moment right after the first step is completely different. Once he begins to move, he finds himself in a rhythm, a discipline, that will grow him into a strong athlete.


I use this example of a runner because it is easier to imagine what it takes to run a marathon than what it takes to begin the journey toward mental health.  The journey toward mental health takes immense courage, trust, and hope. Similar to the runner, each person who commits to mental health has had to overcome a large barrier of the unknown.


How do I get where I want to be? Is change really possible? Is this just all in my head? Do I need medication or therapy? What kind of therapist? What is therapy, really? Do I need therapy, or does my marriage? 


These questions can be paralyzing. We can feel stuck with no hope for change. While various websites help us with our options for treatment, they can also feel overwhelming. It’s hard to take a first step when we aren’t confident it’s the right step to take.


Like the runner, the first step will always require courage. If we are to move forward and grow, there’s a moment we need to quiet our minds, stand up, and take the first step.


How can I make that practical first step?

What is the first step? This can feel even more difficult than the runner, who’s plan is clear. I want to help you with this: give me a call. I often get calls from clients who simply want to take a step forward, but are unsure of where to start. This is why I offer a free 15 minute consultation, and no-commitment first session. Even if I’m not the right fit for you, I want to be helpful to you and get you connected with the right therapist or psychiatrist. If not me, talk to a friend and tell them about how you’d like to grown. As we connect with others we open up new possibilities for our growth.


Taking the first step is the hardest part. It’s only after taking the first step that the runner finds a rhythm that leads to his growth. While psychotherapy involves work and can be difficult, it is also shared. Psychotherapy is about two people partnering to share and understand the client’s world. It’s a rhythm of growth that moves you forward. You don’t have to experience your pain alone.


Schedule a Call with Connor