Motivation is something that is with you one day and can be gone the next. Motivation requires activation, intensity, and persistence. You can set goals, but not find the push that you need to begin working towards those goals.
Lack of willpower may not be due to lack of motivation. Instead, the amounts of inflammation inside of your body can be the cause for the lack.
Inflammation molecules–inflammatory cytokines, are put out by the immune system to fight infection and trauma. Inflammation helps to direct immune system resources to the area of healing.
When you experience long term inflammation unrelated to the healing process, there will be an affect on the release of dopamine– the chemical related to the feelings of happiness. Poor food choices, sleep distubances, and stress cause chronic inflammation. Reduced dopamine levels lead people to fee less inclined to expand energy for future rewards, thus dwindled motivation.
The Sugar Craze
Anything that makes it hard to deliver effort towards a goal is problem. With inflammation decreasing dopamine levels, this makes it worse. What is one to do in this event? Turn to sugar, for this serves as a short-term fix to increase dopamine.
Sugar can be consumed in many different ways–candy, processed, cakes. The more sugar that you consume, the more sugar that your brain will crave. Your brain will become dependent on the short-term dopamine surge. Breaking a sugar addiction is very difficult to do because the brain will long for the neurochemical outpour. When sugar is taken away, withdraw symptoms are created.
As you increase sugar to feel that dopamine rush, you raise inflammation levels in your body, even with moderate consumption. This can prevent positive long-term changes such as good diet habits and regular exercise and keep your motivation low.
Shifting your mind towards anti-inflammatory behaviors is worth it. Take actions through positive little steps can add up to big changes. The steps taken must not be too great too fast–“I will sleep 9 hours each night. No more sugar! Exercise 2 hours every day!”– these big steps may lead to more of a lack in motivation, so more manageable actions are crucial.
Reasonable steps towards inflammation reduction include:
- A brisk 15 minute walk
- Opting for fruit instead of candy for your sugar fix
- Take an extra break at work
- Drink alcohol a few times a week instead of each night
- Develop good bed time habits
Hopefully, your motivation will increase as your new found shifts towards lowering inflammation are put into action. As your willpower returns, you will cultivate more aspiring goals.