Motivation for Healthy Living - Getting Fit With Jon K
Human beings are complex. We dream of success and what the future holds, yet at the same time we worry about failure and uncertainty. We wish to live with no regrets or hesitations, yet we struggle to acknowledge that we have to live with the choices we’ve made.
Our nature is often in direct conflict with our wants and desires and self-motivation is no exception! As social beings, we crave external reward for our efforts. We are motivated throughout life by tokens seen as valuable by society: money, fame, trophies, prizes, gifts, and acclamation to name a few. We have been trained that good deeds and actions go hand in hand with reward; that praise is an external gift for accomplishment–money is the prize for a week of hard work. For some, these forms of motivation are very effective!
Yet for all of the value and benefit that external factors can provide, they are ultimately short-term and cannot replicate internal motivation. You may have heard the saying that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. This is one of the key reasons that we lose our motivation or interest in progress or pursuing our dreams.
We do the same work every week, and receive the same prize regardless of how it is accomplished–a paycheque. Pretty soon that amazing feeling of actually doing the work dulls, and it becomes the “same old grind.” The external reward no longer does its job of motivating above and beyond the ordinary. Yet many of us will still pursue it, either out of obligation, or with the hope that perhaps the reward will change. Now if the external motivation was to increase, in theory we should feel more compelled to improve! This can and does work to some degree; however it then creates a problem in how we define success.
If we are driven by continuous increases in external motivation, we see the accomplishment of a goal or challenge as the successful end of the process. We finish in first, we win the trophy, and then we can rest on our laurels until the next competition or instance. Bravo! The next instance occurs, and we repeat the same process, achieving the same result. However since it has been done before, there is nothing pushing us above and beyond what we did before.
But what if we fail? What if the task is not completed and no rewards are given? What if we miss the cut-off, finish second in the race, or don’t hand our work in on time? Have we succeeded?
If you are to go by external motivators the answer is no. This sets us up to give up on our most ambitious goals or those things that are difficult to achieve. Why? Because we will fail multiple times, and with no tangible reward may become disillusioned and quit.
To break passed this, we should focus on internal motivators to drive us towards our goals.
This can be very difficult to do for three reasons:
1) Internal motivation requires us to know ourselves and admit our faults and weaknesses
2) It can show our personality as self-absorbed and overconfident and others will discourage such motivation as selfish and impractical.
3) There is no prize or reward beyond self-satisfaction and accomplishment. This requires a lot of patience and perseverance to follow through.
Internal motivation is the encouragement and perseverance of striving towards your goals without tangible rewards. Determination to be better than before, pride in your self-ability, spite, vengeance, and overcoming obstacles can all be very powerful sources of internal motivation. You may notice that these are not all positive sources, and unfortunately that’s reality!
Often they are extremely personal feelings or reasons that are unique to you based off of life experiences. Just because something negative drives motivation, does not mean it should be ignored–it’s personal source of ‘fuel for the fire’, and this should not be discouraged; unless of course it becomes detrimental to a healthy social environment, or relationships.
Often some of the most intrinsically motivated people are the ones who have suffered the most or had obstacles to overcome that have given them drive and purpose to consistently move forwards.
The hardest part of internal motivation is that it cannot be taught by coaches or others, it has to truly come from your own self-evaluation!!
Everyone has a source of intrinsic motivation. Examine your passions and your abilities and your personality. Discover what it is that truly gives you purpose and causes you to wake up every day and perform to your best.
Your real success will come from satisfying that inner voice of accomplishment and desire. Likewise, you will discover that failure will only inspire and motivate you to persevere because you expect to not be successful immediately. You should expect your dreams and ambitions to be hard to achieve and you should not be expecting a prize or handout to get there.
Don’t be driven by the simplicities of external motivators. Find what motivates you in everything that you do. Set your mind to achieve your goals regardless of failure, celebrate your inner accomplishments along the way and you will find a source for long-term success and satisfaction!
WBFF Pro Muscle Model Owner