The Motivation Myth*

Tuesday, 19 July 2016, By Andrew Simmons

This article is a direct extract from my book "Ready Set Go - 3 Steps to Better Health. I believe that this principle is so important for success in life that I thought I should share it specifically.

The number of times I have heard people say "I have no motivation" or "I am simply not a motivated person" is astounding. Fortunately, this concept is impossible unless you are dead and buried. Every single one of our decisions or actions arises from some form of motivation to achieve something. Whether someone says that they have no motivation to either exercise or eat well, these thoughts are driven by the motivation to do something else. That could include the motivation to sleep in and / or the motivation to eat unhealthy foods.

The term 'motivation', which simply refers to the desire to do something is commonly broken into one of two types; External Motivation and Internal / Self-Motivation.

External Motivation occurs when the motivation to achieve your goal comes from a source outside yourself, whilst internal or self-motivation occurs when your motivation to achieve your goal comes from within you. Self-motivation is determined by your own values, beliefs and goals.

Being externally motivated by such things as receiving praise from your peers or earning more money is effective. However, it is harder for you to stay highly motivated if you only have external reasons for achieving your goals. It requires a great deal of effort, self-discipline and willpower.

Over the years, I have seen many people start a healthy eating plan and exercise program after being externally motivated or even pressured by other people to do so. Examples include "My doctor told me that I need to lose weight to prevent diabetes", "My wife thinks I am getting fat" and "My boss thinks that I should get fitter to improve productivity". Whenever, I hear these motivators, alarm bells immediately go off in my head. I believe that people motivated in this way will forever struggle to take control of their health and fitness long-term.

"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" Dale Carnegie

Similarly, some people seek to be externally motivated by other people to then carry out the things that they know they should do. Comments I often hear include "I can only exercise in the morning if someone wakes me up", "I eat well when my secretary organises my meals" and even "I have a Personal Trainer now, so I will achieve my goals". As outlined in Chapter 2, I believe that thoughts like these are derived from the idea that someone's health and fitness can be outsourced.

Matter of factly, I liken people who think this way to "wind up" dolls. They walk into the Studio and look to be externally motivated by their Personal Trainer or "wound up". They then leave the Studio after their session and slowly but steadily "unwind" as they continue to live their life. Once again they turn to their Personal Trainer in their next session to be motivated and the cycle continues.

To maintain lifelong results, you must see yourself as the expert of your own body and your life. You are the one who feels the aches and pains. No-one knows you any better than you. The role of a Personal Trainer is to coach you to help you find the motivation that lies within you; your self-motivation. This is achieved through education and accountability. A great Personal Trainer will also inspire you through their actions and through the results they have helped other clients achieve. Consequently, I believe this will only further enhance your self-motivation.

As a result, you will become empowered to control your own health. Remember, your Personal Trainer is only with you for a very short time, so it is critical that you are ready and set to act responsibly whilst you are away from the Studio. That is, you have the ability through your own self-motivation to respond to the challenges that life throws at you. Hence, as discussed further, it is important for you to be heavily involved in both your short and long term goal setting.

Remember, life is all about standards. If you have high personal standards, your self-motivation will automatically be higher. As a result, you will not need to be constantly "wound up". Your Personal Trainer won't need to focus on what you have not done, instead they will be able to focus on helping you achieve greater success and perhaps things that you only ever dreamed about. Keep in mind that your "Circle of Influence" will also be a major factor here.

Whenever you find yourself struggling for motivation, weigh up the benefits and costs for changing or not changing. That is, list all of the benefits of changing, followed by the costs of changing, the benefits of not changing and finally the costs of not changing. This will help you determine whether or not making change is right for you. Importantly, if the process highlights you are willing to change, the decision will be your own. Hence, you will be empowered, which will only fuel your self-motivation and self-esteem.

Sometimes life throws both expected and unexpected challenges at you which may negatively impact your motivation to behave in the ways necessary to achieve your goals. This often occurs when clients' family and work commitments demand their attention. Rather than simply attempting to externally motivate clients to keep them on track, I have used the "benefits and costs for changing or not changing" exercise to help the client re-establish their level of readiness to change. More often than not, this exercise helps clients decide for themselves to recommit to their goals. That being said, remember that it is normal for your level of readiness to move up and down at times.

If you would us to help you on your journey to better health, join us by at Vision Caringbah by selecting the blue box.

If you would like your own copy of "Ready Set Go - 3 Steps to Better Health" follow this link. https://www.visionpt.com.au/community/e-book/

 

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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