How Do You Help People to Acquire Motivation to Deal With Emotional Memories?

Reader’s Question

How do you help people to acquire motivation?

Years ago I read your article on Emotional Memory and found it extremely helpful — the suggested techniques really work. When I’ve passed the article on to others with this sort of problem, however, I’ve found that they often lack the motivation to “try” the techniques. How does one solve that problem?

Psychologist’s Reply

Motivation is a problem older than dirt. Motivation has to do with emotional involvement, sustained effort, willingness to change, etc. Every day we are bombarded by advertisements, media programs, celebrity recommendations, etc. We are told about programs, equipment, substances, and procedures that work to better our lives. Every day a small percentage of people receiving that flood of media information are motivated to purchase the product or try the program. Within a short period of time, the majority of those individuals discontinue what they are doing new and return to their original lifestyle. This is why most ads include a fine-print statement “Results not typical”. Yes, several people did lose 100 pounds using this program, but those results are not typical. I have a great treadmill that works most of the time as a clothes hanger.

So how do we motivate people to do something that is helpful to them?

  • By being a good role model. When people see results in their friends, they are more motivated to change because a person they know has been successful. While celebrity endorsements are powerful in encouraging interest, most of us don’t really think we have the motivation or ability of a sports hero. Modeling to friends is very helpful.
  • Groups are very motivating. Groups provide mutual support and help us maintain a high level of interest and energy. If we think about it, the motivation of groups of people have changed history since the beginning of time. Great leaders are those who can motivate others. Participation in blogs, discussion groups, and special-interest websites is helpful for this reason.
  • Demonstrating that something works quickly is motivating. The techniques I describe in my Emotional Memory article work very quickly and effectively, but the recognition that they work only comes after reading and practicing. We are more motivated to use a product that drops our weight by 7 pounds in a week than 7 pounds in a month.
  • Perseverance and sustained effort are extremely important and require self-motivation. Being self-motivating is a huge component to almost any success and continuing to be self-motivating after failure is even more important. A successful lubricant in the US is “WD40”. The “40” number actually means the previous 39 formulas were unsuccessful…but the people who developed it continued to try.
  • Motivation also increases with the circumstances. Using Emotional Memory techniques, if you redirect a friend who is upset while discussing an old event, thus changing his/her mood, they will be more motivated when you describe what you did and how it works. Uncomfortable circumstances are highly motivating. This is why we agree to pay a dentist almost any amount for his/her services when we have a toothache, yet complain about the bill a week later when our tooth doesn’t hurt.

In your situation, being a good role model is your best way to motivate others. People are often inspired by the abilities and situations of others. When others see that you can handle a past emotional trauma, for example, you will be given an opportunity to describe your technique.

By the way, thanks for your comments on my Emotional Memory article.

Please read our Important Disclaimer.

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. Originally published by on and last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .

Ask the Psychologist provides direct access to qualified clinical psychologists ready to answer your questions. It is overseen by the same international advisory board of distinguished academic faculty and mental health professionals — with decades of clinical and research experience in the US, UK and Europe — that delivers, providing peer-reviewed mental health information you can trust. Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified mental health professional. is accredited by the Health on the Net Foundation.

Copyright © 2022.