De-Mystifying Motivation*

Tuesday, 11 April 2017, By Scott Mathers


How many times have you said to yourself - I'd like to lose a few kilos, change my diet or start exercising regularly?

So often I have heard these words, but I often also find those people in a dilemma, they are unmotivated to make the changes they know are clearly important.

Motivation is simply a notion, a concept that has no real substance, yet it holds the key to success in all our accomplishments. It is a mentality - an attitude - that when triggered, pushes aside our normal tendencies towards laziness and gets us moving toward a goal. We all enjoy it when we have it. However, because we misunderstand how it works, we too often sit around waiting for it to appear, and when it doesn't, we wonder why we've been unable to find it.

There are two types of motivation - extrinsic or external and intrinsic or those from within. Our focus here is on intrinsic motivation because if we can find enjoyment in the process that is, when we find our health and wellbeing interesting, stimulating, and enjoyable, we will also find that we predominantly internally, or intrinsically, motivated.

Milhaly Csikszentmihalyi (1999) referred to activities which are in themselves rewarding as "autotelic" (from the Greek words "auto" for self and "telic" for goal). The result of such activities is the experience of flow. You most probably have already experienced the concept of 'flow' while performing a hobby, playing sport or even during work. Fundamental to the concept are two things, we need to possess the necessary skills for whatever we are doing, and the task must be challenging for these skills. Intrinsic motivation can lead flow through its ability to create a sense of fulfilment, and it has also been found to build psychological capital over time, which is a major component of human growth.

We understand not everyone has the skills or education when determining an approach to their health and wellbeing. This is where our focus on education and emotions in conjunction with healthy eating and a tailored exercise plan at Vision will place you on the path to where you can harness both the extrinsic and intrinsic motivators and head towards a state of flow.



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