Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Acute Motivation and Long Term Change

Have you ever been in a situation that makes your adrenaline pump, your heart pound in your ears and your palms sweat? Have you ever had a moment of clarity following a tragedy? Have you ever looked around and realized you are not ready for an emergency?  This is what I call Acute Motivation. Just like acute pain, it is sudden, sharp, and terribly uncomfortable.

The hard part about acute motivation is that when the adrenaline of the situation wears off, so does our desire to act. Bummer, huh?

How do you maintain your motivation when the intense feelings of crisis wear off?  For some people, the fear of being in that situation again is enough to propel them into action, but who really wants their actions to be fear based?

So, how do we turn acute motivation into long term change?
  1. Make the decision to prepare.  A firm decision is an important first step.  
  2. Write down a list of what you want to prepare or change, while things are still fresh in your mind. A description of how you feel is a great way to capture the insights you learned from the situation.  
  3. Create an actionable plan that will keep you on the right track.
  4. Determine a schedule to prepare.  This may mean scheduling purchases, trainings or even time to go through and organize supplies.
  5. Identify milestones in your preparation. Organization falls into many categories, pick one, and do what you can to prepare in that area.  When you have met those goals, take pride in the achievement, and move on to the next area.
Once we see forward movement towards a goal, our motivation is easier to maintain. While no one wants to, (or should), leave in fear, remembering why you want to prepare can be a strong motivator. If you have had an experience of acute motivation, use it to push you forward.

Anyone have an experience of acute motivation that helped them enact change in their lives?


  1. I have an embarrassing story that I'm going to share with you anyway. When I was married to my first husband I had to have surgery for some large, blood-filled cysts to be removed from my ovary (sorry for the TMI). My husband at the time was less than supportive, and I didn't feel right putting his name in as my next of kin. I wanted my parents to be listed so badly. After that surgery I started really looking at my marriage. Another year later we got divorced, and I was never so glad to get rid of the medical power of attorney paperwork and return that responsibility to my parents. It may not be EXACTLY the situation you describe here, but it certain is acute motivation that spured long-term change!

  2. Wow! That is definitely long term change! I'm glad your acute motivation led to change, but you are right, I wasn't expecting it to be THAT long term!

  3. You know, sometimes you just need a push to make big change! LOL