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Monday, October 19, 2009

Motivational Mondays: What is motivation?

According to Wikipedia, "motivation is the activation or energization of goal-oriented behavior. Motivation may be internal or external." Internal motivation is the emotional stuff: satisfaction, the joy of achievement, the feeling of success, happiness, etc. And external motivation is the physical stuff: money, buying yourself a reward, other fit people, etc. Both internal and external motivation pushes you to get to your goal, whether it's weight-loss or another goal in life but according to Wikipedia, internal motivation is what keeps you at your goal. In one case study, children who were lavishly rewarded with external motivation (prizes or toys) for drawing pictures with felt-tip pens (vs. pencils, crayons, etc.) later showed no interest in playing with the pens again. In other words they only did it to get the physical reward... there was no internal motivation to keep their interests any longer than that.

I thought this was really interesting and so true for weight-loss. I believe that the number one reason people lose weight is to look good... coming in at reason number two is to feel better/get healthier (this should be number one in my opinion). I only say this because from my past experiences with trying to lose weight I did it for the 'physical stuff': to look good, to fit into a certain size, to weigh a certain number, for other people than myself. And all those other times I tried to lose weight I failed and gained it all back. But this time around something clicked and I did it for the 'emotional stuff': for the joy of feeling healthy and being able to run again, for the feeling of doing something good, but most importantly, for myself. Losing weight for me, and no one else, has been the biggest difference and my key to success so far.

Here area few (as there are MANY) of my internal vs. external motivations:

Internal
Feeling of success - Have you ever had a friend or family member mention something about how good you're looking because of the weight you've lost so far? How'd it make you feel? Pretty fricken good right?! The high you get when someone notices your hard-work is pretty hard to duplicate but easy to achieve again if you stay motivated and moving in the direction of your goal.

Self-confidence - Losing 40+ lbs. has made such a difference in my self-confidence... hell, losing the first 5 lbs. made a big difference! It has nothing to do with how I look because I still look 'big' to other people, but it has everything to do with knowing that I set out to do something and I did it! Makes me believe that I can do a lot of things I never thought I could.

Happiness - I don't know anyone who isn't happy after they lose some weight. Not so much because the weight is gone, but because they were able to do it.

Satisfaction - The endless process of creating goals, achieving them, and crossing them off my list motivates me a TON. When I decided to lose weight in September of last year, I set a goal of tracking my food and exercise until the end of the year... at least to the end. When the year was up, I had lost about 20 lbs. and was so motivated, I just kept on going.

Myself - Like I said before, doing it for myself is my biggest internal motivation mostly because I encompass all the 'emotional stuff'. Because I'm doing it for me, my biggest competitor and the only person that holds me back... is myself. I'm able to push myself just a little harder every day because I want this!

External
My tattoo - When I hit my goal weight of 120 lbs., I have this gorgeous tattoo planned out. This is my physical motivator because I really wanna get the tattoo! But I'm not losing weight to get it - in fact I think I would have gotten it even if I was still fat - but since getting healthier is really important to me, allowing myself to only get the tat when I reach my goal totally pushes me.

Fitness models - They motivate me because they've done it and have kept it up! To have a muscled-body like them is amazing and something I totally look forward to.

My family and friends - From the super fit to the one's who don't know where to start, they all motivate me in different ways. Family and friends with health problems motivate me to get healthier everyday and the family and friends who are athletes motivate me to get moving even more.


7 comments:

Lors said...

I absolutely love this blog entry. Motivation is what drives us to be better. I think my biggest motivation is a cousin of mine (who was like my big bro)who passed away last year from cancer. Ever since it happened, I've made it my number one priority to be healthy and live life to the fullest. No regrets.

MackAttack said...

Motivation is such a moving target. This weekend I kept seeing an outfit that.I.WANT.SO.BAD.

foolsfitness said...

I've been thinking about modivation a bit lately. My focus is in the idea of is it running away from something or running to something.

Since I've started I shy away from the words "diet" or loosing weight. It's not about loosing things or being restricted. It's about being set free. I don't think of "cheat" days or "bad" foods... they are just food and are not evil or good. I'm not cheating or being "good" I'm just making a choice. I think for me it's just being more mindful of that choice and aware of what's going on and where I want to go more.

It's all in your head at Foolsfitness - Alan

Garlic Girl said...

This is a terrific post! It's totally one that you can come back to when you're lacking in motivation...smart girl!

Mommy2Joe said...

Hey Miss Annie!
So, hopefully you've seen the GAG site and are abreast of the changes. This is my first official introduction as the new Game and Lifestyle Cheerleader - like my pom poms?

We've posted this week's extra points challenge. And, because I'm a big fan of staying connected, I'm trying to compile a list of email/snail mail addresses as soon as I can. Would you mind shooting me a quick email? mommy2joe@gmail.com

Thanks!
Sue
http://www.didijusteatthatoutloud.blogspot.com/

Allison (Eat Clean Live Green) said...

Great post! A tattoo is an awesome motivator :)

Mandie said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post!!!! It helped me realize what my true reasons are and help find that motivation - again!!!