Posted by: sternenfeeinflorida | 6 March 2010

Motivation, Emotion and Learning Part I

Some of you may have read last week how I thought that my school assignments were a little too personal to be school assignments. Nevertheless, I decided to blog both assignments as I did get a good grade for them. Also, maybe it’ll help someone to realize that they can, if they just really want to…

For the first assignment, we had to take an EQ test and evaluate our results. Here’s what I came up with:

I decided to take the Emotional Intelligence test on the Discovery Health website as it seemed to include a broader perspective than the one on the website of the Institute of Human Health and Potential. While I was quite satisfied with the results, I realize that it is partly because I finished a self-improvement program not too long ago.

Well actually, I finished the Tools To Life Program about 2 years ago but I still benefit from it.

Before I started the self-improvement program, I was unhappy. Unhappy with myself, the people around me, basically the whole world. There was so much negativity surrounding me that even the beautiful sunshine could not really cheer me up. Somebody mentioned to me that they were doing a self-improvement program and how much it changed them, how much happier they were. Striving for happiness myself and having found out that food, thus far my best friend, was not my friend at all and betrayed me by having to buy larger and larger clothes, I decided to join the program myself. I had realized that in order to improve myself, I had to change from within, but didn’t know how to achieve this yet (CAMILLE, 2009).

I was tackling multiple issues at the same time, low self-esteem, the realization that I’m an emotional eater, weight issues and then the multiple sclerosis diagnosis. I felt that I had to straighten myself out.

While doing this program, I noticed that as my thinking changed, so did my behavior (Blanc, 1998). However, I also noticed that the decision to improve my life had to be an absolute one. I had to fully commit myself to the process, which resulted in the repetition of some days in the program until I was ready to move on. I had to make sure that I understood the purpose, I wanted the change and I could commit myself to it (Mandel, 2009). At the same time, I learned that it takes time to change and some changes weren’t obvious to me until much later, when I reflected on decisions I made after finishing the program. The changes I made were gradual, I realized that changing my behavior has to be a process. The mind needs to learn to adapt and this takes time (Weiss, 2009).

This is really true! You can train your brain and you can train yourself to have a better attitude about yourself and the world. It is all up to you. One of the things I never did was to record myself, so I could listen to my affirmations and all every day. I still cannot listen to myself, my self-love just doesn’t go that far (yet).

One of the most important aspects I learned was that I had to regain my self-worth. One way to achieve more self-worth is by setting goals. However, I had to ensure the goals are realistic. Setting and achieving short-term goals can improve the self-worth and it is very motivating to see a goal accomplished (Filip, 2010). I prepared a to-do list with a few goals that I wanted to achieve. I set precise tasks to achieve the goals I wanted because the brain needs to know exactly what needs to be accomplished; vague thoughts are overwhelming, confusing and not helpful in completing the tasks. At the same time, it is important to create a support network, to find people who share common goals and to prepare a strategy how to handle situations, when something goes wrong. I realized that I have two options, give up or try again (McCarty, 2009).

This is where once again it helped that I tackled multiple issues at once. Tools to Life offers great support, so does SparkPeople, the website I joined to help me lose weight. I learned so much, but most of all I learned that small goals and rewards are essential to achieve a lasting behavioral change.

I had to learn that no matter how hard I might try; I could not bring out the sunshine on a rainy day. Since this was not within my power to change, why be upset about it? Instead, I took action and dressed adequately, I looked at the plants, which need the rain and decided to be happy for them. Over time, I learned to look at the potential every day brings and not let a small mishap in the morning dictate the rest of my day (McCarty, 2009).

As the weeks passed, I noticed that I started to wake up in the mornings with a positive attitude and not with disgust at the alarm clock, which dared to wake me up although it was still dark outside. A positive attitude can be learned; it is all just a matter of self-motivation and the realization that nobody is forced to be unhappy. Everyone has a choice, every day of his or her lives, to be happy or unhappy. I decided that being happy benefits not only me, but also the people around me (Darlington, 2009).

I just realized this when I wrote the paper, but that was one of the reasons I had to break up with my now ex-husband. He spread negativity, everything was always surrounded with an attitude of “I can’t.” All my efforts of trying to lose weight, get in shape and eat healthy were met with dismissal. Whenever I made dinner for us, he claimed he didn’t like it. It had too many vegetables, was too healthy. He really had a talent to make me feel worthless.

Affirmations are an essential part of changing the way I think about myself (Blanc, 1998). I have different affirmations, which I recite at different times, sometimes out loud, sometimes I just think them. What doesn’t change, however, is the conviction behind the affirmation.

I still like waking up in the morning and my first thought is not “ugh, is it time to wake up already?” but “I’m having a great day!” And why should it not be a great day? I’m alive, my day is just starting and it is full of potential. Be it a Monday or a Friday, every day is a great day.

These are the steps I took to improve my life. I decided to start every day with a positive attitude, I decided that, although it’s seemingly much easier to be unhappy, it wastes a lot of energy that would be available to me if I was happy. I decided to accept responsibility for my own actions and realized that those are the only actions I can control. I am trying to surround myself with people who share the same positive outlook and I continue to set myself goals. I celebrate my successes, realizing they are the fruits of the work I put into it and I re-evaluate situations that didn’t have the desired outcome, making adjustments and learning how to do it better next time.

I hope you enjoyed reading it!


Blanc, D. (1998). Being a Decent Human Being Is a Modern Way To Be a Warrior. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from ERIC database.

CAMILLE, A. (2009, February). New but not improved. U.S. Catholic, p. 39. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from MasterFILE Premier database.

Darlington, H. (2009). Motivation Can Make You Better. Supply House Times, 52(7), 44. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from Associates Programs Source Plus database.

Davis, S., Paladino, J. (2010). Psychology (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall

Filip, I. (2010). Setting short-term goals can be great for self-motivation. Advertising Age, 81(6), 13. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from MasterFILE Premier database.

Mandel, K. (2009). HOW TO REALLY KEEP YOUR RESOLUTIONS!. InStyle, 16(1), 119. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from Associates Programs Source Plus database.

McCarty, M. (2009). The Power Of A To-Do List. OfficePro, 69(3), 16. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from MasterFILE Premier database.

Weiss, J. (2009). I will change…gradually. Shape, 29(1), 35. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from MasterFILE Premier database.



  1. Great blog, Sünje. I like the part about measurable attainable small goals to keep you motivated. Great write-up.

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