^^ For all my fans of the Office out there (insert *laughing so hard it's crying* emoji here...) ^^
This line has been running through my head for weeks now, and not just because it is a funny part of that episode. No-- I've been thinking about this line a lot in terms of my life and my fitness.
But, before I go there, let me start off by saying that it has been over a month since my last post, and for that I apologize!!
That is by far the longest I've ever gone without writing, but (as my last blog talked about) it has been one busy summer! I am ecstatic that I now, finally, have a chance to sit down and write about all the thoughts that have been swarming my brain this past month. Starting with why I am the way I am, and wondering why are you the way that you are?
I'm talking about motivation here. Lately the topic of "motivation" has been on my mind: what motivates me to lead a healthy lifestyle, what motivates other people to do the same, do most people have intrinsic motivation, do they have more extrinsic motivation, how am I most motivated...
While I can't speak for all of you out there, I have spent a lot of time in my own head trying to dissect what "motivates" me to go to the gym, be active, and eat right, and that question ("What motivates you?") was messing with me! I couldn't figure out a clear, solid answer for it.
When it comes to my motivation for leading a healthy lifestyle, I can break it down to these top 2 things:
1.) I want to set myself up with a strong, healthy body for the future
Yes, obviously I also want to be strong and healthy in the present, but I'm also considering everything I'm doing now as an investment to my health in the future.
I don't want to be 50 or 60 going on 80 in terms of my health and my body. I don't want to be that 50/60 year old person that has a hard time walking far distances, can't keep up with others around me, is prone to injuries from the smallest of things, etc.
By establishing a healthy lifestyle now, I have laid the foundation to continue building on as I get older. By establishing a healthy lifestyle now, I am creating a strong body/mind for the present and the future!
2.) I want to be a role model to those around me
I want aspects of my lifestyle to rub off on those around me. I want to be able to help them make positive changes for bettering their health. To tie it back to #1, I want to help others invest in a healthier future.
But, where I'm struggling is in the fact that, while those are motivating, they aren't my motivators for going to the gym and eating healthy.
When it comes down to it, I don't have anything in particular driving me day-in and day-out to do what I'm doing. I do all of this because, quite simply put, I enjoy it. It is part of my routine. The 2 things above are simply added bonuses-- nice thoughts to think about when I look back at all I'm doing for myself.
In other words, I seem to be naturally, or internally, motivated. I have motivations for a healthy lifestyle, but I don't need motivations for a healthy lifestyle.
However, that's not the case for everyone-- some people need a little motivation, some people need a lot-- and that's fine!! There isn't just 1 approach to motivation. In fact, there are 2 beneficial approaches!
These are external (extrinsic) motivation and internal (intrinsic) motivation.
External motivation is where you acknowledge your effort/performance in the form of recognition (be that an award, money, etc.). You do something to either get something out of it or to avoid an undesired outcome.
External motivations can be effective, though they are not always long-lasting and can sometimes lead to more stress than enjoyment.
Internal motivation is connected with your values and feelings. It involves engaging in a behavior solely because you find it personally rewarding. It is doing something for the sake of doing it, not for an outside reward.
Intrinsic motivations should be the driving forces behind your 'doing'. These types allow you to enjoy something more, as opposed to it feeling like a "job" or "work". This then leads to long-term commitment and success.
Like I said, I seem to be intrinsically motivated to do what I'm doing to the point where it doesn't even feel like "motivation", but rather just part of my everyday life. That's not to say I have no external motivations, though. When it comes down to it, I have found that I have (what I consider to be) a healthy amount of both...
For example, the 2 motivations mentioned in the beginning. Those are internal motivations. They are the icing on the cake, making what I'm doing that much more enjoyable and rewarding. They are not the driving forces behind my actions, but rather the natural prizes for them.
In regards to external motivation, I had some of this when I was in competition prep! I was being motivated by the show. There was a "due date" or "finish line" ahead and I had to do everything I could to get me to that. Competition day was my "reward".
Both of these motivations, while very different, are very important in regards to driving behavior! Especially in driving new behaviors.
Whereas working out, eating healthy(ish) and being active are enjoyable and routine to me, others just starting up may not feel that way yet. This is where external motivation can help.
For example: If I go to the gym 5x this week and eat right all week, then I will reward myself with (insert something that will not sabotage all your hard work here).
Sporadically recognizing where you got to and rewarding yourself for what you've achieved can actually cause that internal motivation to rise and the need for external rewards to fade. It can get you closer to doing something just to do it, because you enjoy doing it.
So, take some time this Monday to think about your motivation. Get to know yourself, recognize your goals, decide what works for you and what is important to you. Find your motivators and use them to get closer to your goals!
Find out why you are the way that you are. What is your #motivationMonday?