Four Key Strategies for Building Hope and Motivation
September 15, 2021 by Amanda Reill
Hope isn’t always an easy thing to grasp. Whether everything seems to be working against you or your goal just feels too far away, there are always moments where we could use a little boost to build motivation and hope.
Hopelessness makes it difficult to break out of negative thought. Learning how to “feed, water, and grow” your hope daily can help uplift your mood and increase your enthusiasm. One study showed that hopeful individuals were happier and more likely to achieve their goals.
Knowing how to find hope, especially in tough moments, can help you and your clients reach goals and live happier lives. Hope theory offers many different methods that can be used to build hope and motivation, and they can be tailored to the unique wiring of your client.
Keep a Hope Journal
Writing down your goals is a great way to cement your ideas and focus your thoughts. A hope journal takes this concept one step further by structuring your thoughts in a way that encourages hope. One method of keeping a hope journal:
- Write out your goals. One study showed that people who write their goals down are 22% more likely to achieve them. Taking the time to write out your goals can help you focus on exactly what you want to accomplish.
- List out why you want to achieve each goal. What’s motivating you? If you have a solid idea of what’s driving your goals, you’re more likely to stay emotionally invested in them. Keeping these thoughts at the forefront of your mind can help keep you on track in the moments it feels easier to get distracted.
- Brainstorm potential pathways to reach your goals. Take what could be and make it tangible. According to Hope Theory, having realistic pathways (https://www.jstor.org/stable/1448867) toward achieving your goals is one of the most important parts of feeling hopeful. You can visualize an end in sight - and planning how to get something done can result in anxiety reduction about that “thing.
- List out any potential roadblocks you may encounter and brainstorm ways you can handle them. Obstacles are one of the key components of Hope Theory. By identifying what you may struggle with and figuring out ways to overcome these obstacles, you build trust in your ability to actually achieve your goals. Knowing you can overcome tough moments can help you feel hopeful, even when your motivation is waning.
- Write out how you may feel upon achieving your goal. Visualizing who you will be and how good it will feel to reap the rewards of your hard work is one way to keep yourself focused and motivated.
Revisiting your hope journal regularly can help you keep track of your goals and progress. The process of writing also gives you time to organize your thoughts and feelings.
Use a Hope Worksheet
While journaling is an excellent tool for some people, a hope worksheet can be useful for those who prefer a little more structure with their writing exercises. These worksheets still create a place for you to focus your ideas, but they come with prompts specifically designed to build hope.
Though there are many options to choose from, some popular hope worksheets include:
- Hope Rising Worksheet: This worksheet was developed by psychologists and researchers Casey Gwinn, J.D. and Chan Hellman, Ph.D. The sheet provides several prompts that can help you analyze your goal from many angles.
- Hope Worksheet by CRNO: Based on the original Hope Rising Worksheet, this option uses a few prompts to help you focus on your goal and remember why you want to achieve it. This worksheet is shorter and faster to fill out but still designed to encourage hopefulness.
- Cultivating Hope & Possibility Worksheet: This worksheet was created by psychologist Kate Snowise. It uses quick and open-ended prompts to help you identify your goal and ways to achieve it.
Similar to journaling, frequently revisiting hope worksheets can help you keep track of your goals while building motivation into your daily life.
Use Hope Visualization
Though writing out your goals and ideas can be valuable, journaling isn’t everybody’s style. Visualization is another method that you can use to build hope without having to pick up a pen.
To help your client visualize, have them fix their minds on what it would be like to achieve their goal. They should think of the emotions they would feel, how their life could change, and what negativity they could be free from. Then, have them picture themself working toward the goal - almost as if watching a movie.
Having your client use their own imagination to visualize can be incredibly powerful, though this method can also be guided. Consider providing prompts about their goals and how they can achieve them as one way to encourage visualization, like a guided meditation practice.
Read About Hope in Daily Life
Saturating your life with messages of hope is another way to keep a positive outlook that is centered around building motivation. Reading is a great way to keep hopefulness at the forefront of your mind while also learning about more tools you can use to build hope. Some great books to get started with are:
- Psychology of Hope: You Can Get Here from There by C.R. Snyder. Written by the mind behind Hope Theory, this book explores what hopefulness is and why it’s important to overall life satisfaction. Snyder then goes on to explore how people can build hope into their own lives.
- HOPE Rising - How the Science of HOPE Can Change Your Life by Casey Gwinn, J.D. and Chan Hellman, Ph.D. This book was developed by two researchers who focus on how significant hope can be, particularly for those struggling with trauma or illness. Gwinn and Hellman then apply their findings about hope to education, business, and daily life while providing ideas about how to increase hope.
- Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others by Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D. In this book, psychologist Shane Lopez examines the significance of hope in various aspects of life. He then provides practical methods that people can use to build hope, beginning with realistic and manageable steps.
No matter your style or wiring, taking some time to focus on your goals and build trust in yourself can be incredibly valuable. Whenever you’re in a rut or begin to feel hopeless, using these exercises and others can help you build motivation and remember your why.