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What motivates you?

I was asked this question the other day by a friend and coworker…how do you stay motivated?  GREAT QUESTION!  I’ve been thinking about it ever since!

What is motivation? I looked it up.  For my generation, google to wikipedia is generally what we mean by researching a topic! 🙂 Wikipedia says:  “Motivation is the activation or energization of goal-oriented behavior.  Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic.”  So true! After giving this some thought (so glad I did…thanks Robb) I am now aware that what motivates me may not motivate you.  What does that dinosaur running behind you represent?

What motivates me? I am an internally motivated person. I am Type A. Duh!  If you have talked to me for 5 seconds you have figured this out.  (See below for a very accurate description of me.)  I am motivated my myself and my need for success. I accept no less than the best from myself. I am very hard on myself. I care about the way I am viewed by the world, for the most part.  How does this relate to fitness? I want to be viewed by the world as a “fit” and healthy person, not lazy.  I am competitive internally, in my own head. I want to be the best that I can be all the time.  I remember that what you eat in private, shows in public. I am motivated my own need to “look” the way I want to be perceived and “look” the way I feel I am.  I want to “look” and “be” the person I believe I am.  I want to act in a way that is in line with the disciplined person that I want to be.  I am very hard on myself when I do not exercise disciplined eating, because that is not the best person I can be and the person I want to be.  This type of motivation only works for some people….

What is Type A? (Again, taken from Wikipedia) Type A individuals can be described as impatient, time-conscious, controlling, concerned about their status, highly competitive, ambitious, business-like, aggressive, having difficulty relaxing; and are sometimes disliked by individuals with Type B personalities for the way that they’re always rushing. (Side note:  I had a Type B trainer during my comp process…didn’t work out so well…)  They are often high-achieving workaholics who multi-task, drive themselves with deadlines, and are unhappy about delays. Because of these characteristics, Type A individuals are often described as “stress junkies.”

Are you intrinsically or extrinsically motivated? Are you motivated as I am, internally, by yourself, with internal drive that pushes you to be better….pushes you to go to the gym at 5am or eat healthy every 2.5 to 3 hours, every day?  If not, that’s ok!  That’s who you are!  Don’t try to change parts of your personality that you were born with. We are all different and unique and that is what is so wonderful about human relationships!  Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up for this!  Work with it! Do you need external motivation?  Find it!!! Think hard and try some things out! What motivates you?  Do you need a picture of your thin (or fat) self on the fridge or pantry to keep you from overeating?  Are you motivated by the fear of getting fat or the happiness of being thin? Are you motivated by a group all working together, knowing that your friends are doing this with you?  Try it!  Try it all! See what works!  Pay attention to what is working!  Keep a journal of how you’re doing so you can go back and look and see when you were most successful and why!  Try a group setting where you have a group of friends that set their own weight loss, muscle gain goals and keep each other on track. Find a workout buddy who will MAKE you get to the gym in the morning.  Tell the world of your goals so they will ask you and you can fear having to answer “Well, I haven’t really been doing that well lately….”  Start a blog so that we can all keep you on track.  Plan a vacation and hang that bikini on the closet wall as your motivation. 

Use health as your motivation!!! What FINALLY worked for me was HEALTH!  That is the ONLY thing that ever truly works for me to stick to a healthy eating plan.  I am able  to convince myself that a pint of ice cream will not affect my waist or my weight (right!) but I cannot convince myself that it is good for my health. I cannot convince myself that it will fuel my body to be able to do all the things I want to do.  I cannot convince myself that it is setting a good example for my friends, family and future children. I cannot convince myself that it is going to keep cancer out of my body and keep me living for decades longer feeling healthy and young!  If you can truly find HEALTH as a reason to eat HEALTHY I believe you can do this!! For years I would eat “less” in order to be “skinny” but that only works for a short time. That does not work forever and that does not work to achieve the healthy body you want.  Looking skinny is not our goal!!!  Being healthy and strong is our goal!!  Being healthy and strong comes with a beautiful, strong, healthy looking body! I truly believe that what is healthy for your body will help you achieve the look you want!  I am working toward that goal myself. I want to be able to eat ALL of the things that are healthy for my body and still LOOK the way I want to look (i.e. eating fruits and grains while still being lean….not quite in line with my contest prep diet).

What motivates you? Think about it! Try different things!  Share with me in your comments!  I want to know…..WHAT MOTIVATES YOU???

shawna - I know we’ve talked about this at length, but there was a significant shift in my thought process the moment I got pregnant. I used to be motivated by how the world viewed me, but now I am motivated because I am responsible for the health and perception of health of my daughter. I want her to grow up with healthy food & exercise as her NORMAL. I want her to just assume you exercise every day and eat real food. Then it will be easy for her. Added bonus of these behaviors…being 10lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight. By-product of behaviors, not the actual goal. Sweet! 😀

joy - Hey Tori,
I’ve been chewing on this post since you posted it. Come to find out, I’m extrinsically motivated and I’m not Type A! Huh, I had no idea.

I am motivated by my husband, friends (and right knowing that I’ll be seeing old friends soon). I work best in teams. I need a cohort, someone who will go along with my idea or support me in a venture. I do even better when I am leading a group because my relaxed nature is pressed and I feel a sense of responsibility and accountability – this drives me to want to set a good example others should follow.

I am also an idealist. I think of how things should be. This both gets me in trouble and also encourages me to be a role model.

Thanks for the great thoughts!

Can’t wait to hang out in July!

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