Motivation: Forces that organize and give direction to unsatisfied needs.
“No Mommy don’t make me do it!” How many times have you heard a child bellow this phrase? I know myself I remember saying it plenty. Is this an example of external motivation or internal motivation? If you picked external, you are correct. Throughout this chapter you will be challenged to explore your internal motivating forces while at the same time develop an understanding of how external motivating forces have a tendency to cause you to lose focus on the desired end result.
Through examination of your internal motivating forces you may find the following drivers: Anger, Fear, Love, and Happiness. These forces are all internal and are known to drive people. What makes some individuals have success and others fail is how each person deals with these forces. Motivation from within implies self-motivation. When a person is self-motivated they are capable of finding the drive, directions and intentions to complete a task or goal without external factors.
So, do you have to always be self motivated to achieve your goals? Well let’s examine this, if you are self-motivated are you better than the person who needs a little push or kick in the butt? Not at all, yet when you need a kick in the pants to get started, do you continue that drive on your own or do you lose enthusiasm, direction and drive to complete the task without the support of another? Have you ever started a workout program with the help of a friend or a trainer and found when you lost the support of the friend or trainer you lost all drive, direction or motivation? Or can you continue on your program knowing that you have the drive and direction to stay focused. That is the difference between self-motivated and being externally motivated. No matter how much help you receive until you are capable of finding the motivation from within you will continue to ride the roller coaster of health and wellness.
Being a professional in the health and wellness industry, those individuals who seek my help are on the right track. Yet the one thing I have found that if they choose to listen to only the things they want to hear and maintain the rest of the beliefs and habits; they truly never become self-motivated. They may have successes with my help but their success is fleeting when they no longer have my help. In some sense I have failed you in not helping you find your own self motivation. Yes, it would seem counter intuitive for my business to have you grow up and not need me for motivation, yet it is not. I don’t know about you but if you are self-motivated you are an inspiration to others and everyone wants to know your secrets.
Find Your Inner Motivators.
So how do you get that self motivation for something you know you need to do but don’t like doing it??? How do you find the strength from within to overcome your self destructive behavior?
Motivation from within can also be referred to as “intrinsic motivation”. Intrinsic motivation as defined by Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Deci, “is the inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise one’s capacities, to explore and to learn.” In other words, we are born with motivation from within, we don’t need external factors to motivate us as infants yet as we grow our own motivation is either fostered or hindered by external factors. We as humans are inclined to action and integration yet we are vulnerable to inactivity and complacency.
So what does that mean??
If a person is given the autonomy to complete a task without help of an external factor such as a reward or even a threat, their intrinsic motivation can grow and foster.
However, intrinsic motivation is not the only determining factor in a self motivated individual. Sometimes you are motivated to perform a task that you find boring or mundane, or you just are not interested in doing a particular task yet you know that if you perform this task it will help you achieve your overall human goal of action and integration.
How do you find the motivation to do this task?
Usually it is by relevant positive external factors that help you put these tasks in line with your internal human goals. Why is it that some of the contestants of the “Biggest Loser” fall off the proverbial wagon when they get home? Could it be that the motivational forces that kept them losing the weight while on the program were all external in nature and never become relevant to their internal self goals? In other words, you’re losing the weight and eating right because they are telling you too and you want to win the money, but you still feel like that fat person who wants a hamburger with fries and a milkshake.
Have you ever heard of the saying of “let things roll off your back”?
But, is that always the way you should handle negative feedback or motivations? Have you ever internalized those motivations and made them apart of who you are or limit who you are? According to renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow, it is our basic needs that drive our motivation as human beings. Maslow wrote “The Theory of Motivation” and stated that all human motivation is based on the “Hierarchy of Needs” If our basic needs are not met that is the basis for all of our motivations. Our basic needs are physiological, such as food, water, and sleep; and psychological, such as affection, security, and self-esteem. These basic needs are also called deficiency needs because if they are not met by an individual, then that person will strive to make up the deficiency. Does this mean that our motivations can be defined as instinctual? Have you ever heard of thinking from your gut? Maybe that can be interpreted as instinctual or intrinsic motivation.
So now what?
Ok you think you were brought up in the wrong environment to foster your motivation. Is there hope to overcome your lack of motivation? Can you still achieve your goals and find your motivation? This is where your positive external motivators can come into play. If you create an environment that is conducive for self growth, that environment can be very motivating. However, if you feel that you are being coerced into a behavior you will lack the motivation needed to complete a goal. Which situation above would be more internally satisfying?
How many of us find that external motivators take over when you feel your needs are unfulfilled. Do you ever find yourself seeking material goods, external wealth, or notoriety? And when you get it, you still are not satisfied? Have you ever had a bad day and rewarded yourself with a piece of chocolate cake or maybe you had a good day and rewarded yourself with a new pair of shoes? Rewarding yourself with these items is not wrong however, sometimes it is the motivation behind why you reward yourself and if it is in alignment with your true self.
Yes, you can reprogram your internal motivators however it takes time and energy to realign your motivators. It takes changing your environment and external motivators to align them with your intrinsic human motivation.
Have you ever seen a sea turtle lay their eggs, then the eggs hatch? How the mother turtle has to dig a massive hole, lay her eggs then bury the eggs so predators don’t get to them. Then when the baby turtles hatch they have to survive going across the beach to get into the ocean and then risk dying in the current. The sea turtles are motivated by instinct. All barriers aside they have a goal of living and are driven by the very nature of survival. As human beings, we are different because our motivational instincts can be overridden by our environmental influences. Whether we grew up in an unloving abusive home or a loving home it may be a determinant on how motivated we are in life.
So now let us relate all this motivational mumbo jumbo to your health and well being. Have you ever heard someone say to you they are just destined to be sick, overweight and unhappy? “Well that is just my life” That is the way it goes… Are you complacent to stay as you are because you have tried all the diets and new fancy exercise programs and they never work? Then you meet someone that has tried the same “diet” or “exercise” program and it worked for them? Why did it work for them and not for you? Could it be that you never truly embraced the internal motivating factors relative to the changes you needed to make in order to succeed. Did you let your internal self inhibitors talk you out of continuing or were you looking for immediate external results instead of looking within yourself for the true internal forces that you needed to change your life. In life there are many factors that influence the way we look at our goals and accomplishments relative to our health and well being. Instead of feeling regret and remorse for quitting and lacking the motivation to complete your goals, dig deep and remove all outside negative influences. This practice will definitely shift your thought processes about your health.
More often than not when an individual makes the decision to start changing the way they look and feel the person is looking for justification outside of one’s self. Are you the type of person who is more concerned with the people around you than yourself? If so, you may be doing more harm than good. Not only to yourself but others around you. Let’s change our mind set and internalize all factors that relate to your health and wellness. The wrong response would be, “ I am doing it to set a good example for friends and family who need a role model”. A better answer would be, “ I am doing it because my physical and mental condition is unacceptable to myself and changes are necessary to focus on my life goals”. The later answer has a more significant impact in your life and others than the first answer. You will feel much better and have a stronger commitment to you. Don’t worry about the external gratification, your friends and family will notice and want to make the same changes you are making in your life and end up wanting the same success. It all comes down finding the internal motivation. Start by digging deep, stop making excuses for your current situation and admit to yourself that change is necessary. Remember this famous quote from George Washington Carver “99% of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses”. Now lets move past the excuses and start your self fulfilling journey because do the external challenges really matter in the bigger picture of your life goals? You only have yourself to thank once the decision is made and you begin your journey to find your intrinsic motivation.
To be continued….
Jen Brango, Great Valley Adventure Boot Camp