Motivation is something everyone possesses in some way or another, but it can be VERY different from person to person. Motivation is the energy that drives our behaviors, that keeps us pushing toward the goals we set for ourselves, and ultimately makes us who we are. We can be motivated extrinsically (by outside factors like praise, money, and rewards), intrinsically (internal factors like personal satisfaction) or some of both.
A 2015 article published in the Harvard Business Review outlined four different categories that people generally fall into in terms of motivation:
According to the article upholders are self-directed and easily meet commitments and goals, while questioners often question expectations but are motivated by logic and reason; essentially turning all extrinsic motivation into their own internal motivation. Obligers meet outside goals and expectations but often struggle meeting goals they set for themselves, and rebels, as you might expect, resist both inner and out expectations. Do you have an idea of which category you fall into? You can check out more in depth descriptions of each and read the full article here.
Once you determine what category you fall into personally, it’s easier to set goals and determine how to motivate yourself to reach those goals.
Over the years working with clients, I’ve found that the desire to improve eating and exercise habits, as well as overall health, can come from a variety of different places, all holding their own merit because they mean something to the individual. We all have different reasons that may spark the decision to choose a healthy lifestyle, and that is A-OK. Avoid comparing yourself to others - it’s just not worth it! Determine your reasons for wanting to get healthier and go with it! Don’t skip over determining your “why” though - this is an important step.
Your “why” is the reason you’ll start and what will keep you going! I often suggest that people write down their reason or reasons (yes you can have more than one - there are no rules here!) to reference later on when motivation starts to fade. It’s also important to remember that you’re HUMAN and it’s OK if your motivation shifts throughout your journey to a healthier you - it’s a lifelong journey that never really has an endpoint after all!
Through it all, keep your head high, don’t be afraid of a little flub up or failure now and then (it just proves you’re trying), and NEVER give up!