Motivation can be defined in very simple terms: what drives us to maintain or achieve goals. One may even say it’s a form of desire. When you look at it that way, things change a bit, at least for many of us. Yes, you should exercise and eat well, you need to exercise and eat well, you want to exercise and eat well, BUT do you have a desire to exercise and eat well? For some people maybe- they like how they feel when they exercise and eat well. However, for many people exercise and eating well are usually thought of as having an end goal- helping you lose weight, look better, get strong, feel better, be healthy, etc. That’s a little different than wanting to exercise and eat well, which is why many people run into the brick wall. We set goals, we make plans, maybe we even stick with those plans for a while. But then we find that motivation fading and wonder what we are doing wrong.
Let’s look deeper into motivation. In general, there are two types, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from within; it’s something that’s important to you, for example, a runner’s high, the great feeling after a WOD, feeling great with balanced, healthy eating, etc. Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from outside sources, for instance losing weight, wanting bigger muscles or wanting to look good. With extrinsic motivation, you aren’t necessarily exercising and eating well because you like it. External motivation may be fleeting and internal motivation tends to have more staying power. A study published in Medicine in Sports and Exercise investigated predictors of weight control in 136 participants. They found that people who focused on internal motivators generally had the most success in long-term weight management.
In the end, both types of motivation are important in keeping you going. Intrinsic motivation is what drives you, while extrinsic motivation works as kind of a support to what motivates you from within. The key is to tap into both of these whenever you are faced with the choice whether to work out or go back to sleep when the 5 am alarm sounds or whether to choose the turkey chili versus chili fries at the restaurant. I challenge you to tap into your true motivators and find a balance of extrinsic and intrinsic factors to reach your goals. And to give you a little taste of just how GOOD eating well can feel, I’m sharing that turkey chili recipe with you here. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it so much it will motivate you to make some other healthy choices. 😉 GET THE RECIPE!