Staying Motivated – Intrinsic v. Extrinsic Motivation

Staying Motivated – Intrinsic v. Extrinsic Motivation

 

How do you stay motivated?

I get this question a lot. For me, the answer is simple: “it comes from within.” I know that is not very specific, and it doesn’t really help to explain my personal motivation, so let me share a little bit about motivation in general, and maybe you’ll see what I mean.

There are two types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation means that the individual’s motivational stimuli are coming from within. For instance, a person is taking a spin class at the gym because he or she gets pleasure from taking the class and from the feeling that results after it’s over. It’s motivation that comes deep from within the core. Not everyone has it, but everyone can get it. People who are intrinsically motivated are physically active because they truly enjoy it.

Extrinsic motivation means that the individual’s motivational stimuli are coming from outside or really anywhere except from the inside. Examples of an external factor that motivates people are: to lose weight, to be healthy, to make their spouse happy, to look good, or to meet new people.

Very few people are entirely intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. It’s usually a combination of the two.

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Now here is the KEY…

You are more likely to stay on-track with your fitness and nutrition plans if you are INTRINSICALLY motivated.

The boyfriend, the hot bikini body, the compliments, they are great and all, but you have to want it for yourself from within in order to ensure long term success.

Here are some strategies for transitioning towards intrinsic motivation:

  • Remind yourself why you are here If you’ve taken one of my spin classes, you’ve heard me say, “why are you here?!” Remember your personal goals and motivating factors for getting to the gym and staying on track.
  • Stay hooked on that feeling – Reflect on the positive feelings and successes you’ve previously experienced from regularly exercising. How did you feel overall? Did exercise improve other aspects of your life besides your physical appearance? For many people exercise is a mental stress-reliever, not just a physical one.
  • Set GOALS – I cannot stress this enough! I ALWAYS have a goal in mind. Create a short-term (weekly), medium-term (monthly), and long term (6+ months) goal for yourself. Make sure it is a S.M.A.R.T. goal, meaning Specific, Measurable, Attainable, REALISTIC, and Timely. For instance, “to lose weight,” is NOT a good example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal. I want, “to lose 5 pounds by June 1st” is a S.M.A.R.T. goal if the current date is May 1st, because that is a realistic and achievable goal that you can measure.
  • Keep in mind that change takes time – It is important to remember that change does not occur overnight. Recognize that in order to obtain desired results both time and continued effort are required. Consistency is key to success!
  • Remember that you have to do this for YOU – You will have the most success if you are your own cheerleader, not your spouse, your best friend or your weight loss group. In the end, it’s you vs. you in the mirror.

More to come on motivation, but I hope this helps to start your weekend off with a little extra pep in your step for staying on track. Stay healthy people!

I like to plan ahead. It's how I get a leg up on my week so there's less of a chance that I slip into bad habits. That way I can focus on loving life here in Annapolis, Maryland.

Mary Davis

Fitness Coach

Want to know what makes me tick? Click here to find out more about me.