Lets talk motivation

Many of us make drastic lifestyle decisions or changes as a result of external influences. When we decide to modify a part of our lives due to an external force, we tend to make the changes quickly and then slip back into our old ways slowly.

Don't get me wrong, external motivation is a great thing. In fact, that type of motivation is the juice that gets us started down the road to change. The problem is that external motivators usually work on a short-term basis and, like the drug addict, we need another fix to keep us going on that same level.

An example I will use is someone who wants to lose a certain amount of weight for an upcoming event (external). Usually the closer the event is the more motivation the person to work extremely hard to reach his/her goal. Fast forward to after the event has passed. Suppose that person was successful in reaching the weight loss goal. Maintaining that new weight will be highly unlikely because what truly kept him motivated is no longer a major influence of his habits. I've even heard of expectant mothers giving up smoking during the pregnancy for the health of the unborn baby only to revive the habit after the child is born.

So what does this all mean for you? Stop and reflect on your goals. Ask the all important question "why."
Why do I want to..... If the real answer is mainly externally in nature, you should strive to find an equally compelling internal purpose that will keep the fire burning resulting in long-term motivation.

If the drive is inside, you will not need to rely upon the next promotion opportunity, love interest, or other flavor of the month outside of you to influence your behavior. Your internal drive will carry you through all of the highs and lows of goal acheivement when you need it the most. External drive may work for some but it can not be counted on to provide the sole reasons for change in your life. It is internal motivation that forces us to keep on keeping on.


Jason said...

I hate the way blogger.com makes you leave comments... taking you away from the page and all, but enough of that.

I agree with you... external motivation of any sort is only temporary by nature. The only true motivation, the only kind that lasts, is the kind where you want to do it simply because you want to do it... where it comes from inside. If I want to lose weight because I want to be in better shape, then I can do it and maintain it. If I want to lose weight to impress someone else, then as soon as I no longer care about impressing that person, the motivation goes away... or even if impressing them just becomes less important.

Also, if you are doing it for an external reason, you may feel like you failed if you don't keep it up... if you're doing it for an internal reason, and you stop, then you didn't fail, it simply became unimportant.

n_vizion said...

Nicely said Jason.