There are two types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is self-propelled, it makes YOU feel good or YOU think it’s the right thing to do when no one else knows or cares. Extrinsic motivation is influenced by external sources such as how SOMEONE ELSE feels, or what SOCIETY thinks you should do (or in a lot of cases what you THINK society thinks you should do- but how deep are we willing to go here?)
Part of my job as a trainer is to find out why someone has the goals they do and how I can help motivate them to reach those goals. More often than not people come to me with the statement “I just want to feel better”. While that’s a start, what exactly is it that makes you feel better? If you are an intrinsically motivated person then simply knowing you are taking and following the steps to feel better physically will make you feel better mentally, however if you are more extrinsically motivated then you may not “feel better” until your partner or your friend notices your efforts and comments how proud they are of you for taking those steps. Simply recognizing what drives you will help you to stay on the path of your goals but below I’ve included ways to increase your success regardless of the type of motivation you identify with most!
CHECK IT OFF. Write down your goals and a daily or weekly check list of the things you are doing to accomplish those goals. Each day that you are able to check those things off your list you will feel good about progress.
TELL A FRIEND, OR 3! Having people close to you that are keeping you accountable or even just asking how your progress is coming then sharing in your joy of successes can help reinforce your extrinsic motivation to continue. If you have someone working toward the same goal that’s even better!
TREAT YO SELF. Not with food, but maybe your clothes have started to get a bit loose or you’re eyeing that new pair of gym shoes. Once you’ve reached a goal, reward yourself with something that will keep you going toward your next one!
LOOK BACK (but only to see how far you’ve come): I always advocate taking progress pictures and keeping track of your workouts so that you have something to compare to. The scale doesn’t tell you everything so whether you have last years Christmas pictures to look at or repeat a workout you did when you first started working out to check out some strength/endurance gains it’s always good to have a comparison.
SWITCH THINGS UP! When you stick with one thing for too long, we get bored, our minds turn off and we lose that fresh start spark, so every few weeks change things! Whether that’s switching your meal plan around, or trying a new exercise class find something that gets you excited about what you’re doing. This is my go to list for staying motivated. If you have other tricks that you use please share them with me!