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What is most important to you in life? What brings you joy? What do you live for?

These questions all seek to arrive at the same answer, and the answer is important for the journey ahead. It is your life’s aspiration, your motivation to heal.

Answering these questions may be difficult to do, and the first answer that pops in your head may not be the ultimate answer you arrive at. To get to the core of your true motivation, you have to peel back the layers. To do so, it may help to keep asking yourself Why? So, your reflection might progress like this:

My motivation is to decrease my back pain. Why?

So that I can regain my mobility and strength. Why?

So that I am free to walk wherever I like. Why?

So that I can take a walk along the beach from time to time, like I used to do. Why?

Because I am at my very happiest, barefoot on the beach, watching the sun set. I want to experience that happiness again.

Think BIG! Start with your ultimate aspiration, and then work your way backward to figure out which areas of your health you, with the help of your healthcare team, can address to achieve it.

Discovering your true motivation is so important, because it centers you in your life’s meaning and purpose, and it helps instill focus, commitment, and determination on the road ahead. When you’re able to keep sight of your ultimate motivation to heal, you’ll be able to set and achieve goals and face challenges with more conviction.

A dream vacation, revisiting your childhood home, a reunion with an old friend, a physical feat, a big celebration, dancing with your partner, learning a new language…any of these things and a million more could serve as your motivation to persevere on the journey ahead. Focus on what brings you the most joy in life, and let that image be your guide.

EVIDENCE: The VA Office of Patient Centered Care is transforming healthcare for veterans by implementing a Whole Health model of patient care across VA facilities. At the core of the model is determining what matters most in life to each patient, and then having the patient work with a team of providers to achieve goals using integrative health care strategies that address all aspects of the patient’s health and wellness.

Evidence continues to mount showing the effectiveness of the VA’s approach and an integrative model of medicine and health.
Watch veterans’ success stories using the Whole Health approach.


Need a little inspiration to find your own motivation?

Grab a tissue, and check out the below video, based on a true story (this video contains sub-titles).
Then, download the Your Healing Planner Identifying Motivators exercise to help you reflect upon and record your own motivation.