Ever wonder why your motivation to get healthy fizzles out after a few weeks? I can almost all but guarantee it’s because your motivation is based only on external cues and not on intrinsic ones.
Extrinsic motivation is when we’re motivated for reasons outside of ourselves, like “looking smoking hot in a bikini”, “to get rich”, and “to make my partner proud”. Losing weight, in and of itself, is an extrinsic motivator (which may be one of the reasons why it can be hard to do).
Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is when we’re motivated for internal reasons. When we’re motivated to keep up with our kids because we want to develop good relationships with them. It’s when we want to stave off the heart disease that runs rampant through our family. It’s when you strive inwardly to achieve a goal (to see what you’re capable of or to stretch what you think are your limits so you can reach your ful potential).
Both types of motivation have their place in creating healthy goals, and, in fact, extrinsic motivators are sometimes the best ones to start with, but only intrinsic motivation, making an emotional connection to your goal, will keep you going long enough to see the goal to its finish. I use extrinsic motivators as mini-goals to get me to achieve my intrinsic goal down the road. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look smokin’ hot in a bikini and you just might get there if your intrinsic goal is to strengthen your body so you can live a long and active life.
The problem can be that extrinsic motivators are easier and safer to come by than intrinsic ones.
What do I mean by “safer”? Being intrinsically motivated requires you to look within yourself and ask yourself why you want to do something and, for many people who are overweight, that means you have to look at the stressors that are causing you to be overweight. Oftentimes weight gain is a symptom of a stressor that we are not dealing with and it can take courage to confront these issues but is essential to do if you want to change.
So how can you find your intrinsic motivation? Here is the single most effective way to figure that out: When you have your goal in mind, ask yourself how the end result makes you feel. Do you well up inside out of happiness and possibility or do you feel indifferent, closed off or frustrated (like you HAVE to have this goal instead of wanting it)? If it doesn’t excite you, it’s not intrinsic. And intrinsic motivator will make you feel good, not freaked out. Sure the goal might seem overwhelmeing in the doing (start my own business or run a marathon) but the end result should leave you feeling pumped up, standing taller and ready to face what’s to come.
Learn more about how intrinsic motivation can build you up for permanent success how to balance both extrinsic and intrinsic goals by staying tuned for more information on my upcoming free class on September 21, 2011. I’ll show you evidence that intrinsic motivation trumps extrinsic motivation when it comes to weight loss and how to stay motivated as you work towards reaching your goal!
For more information, contact me now!