Do you draw your fitness motivation from yourself or from others? While it might seem that any motivation is sufficient, research suggests that for best, long term success, internal motivation is better than external motivation.
What’s the difference?
If you find yourself wanting to get fit and healthy for your family, a spouse, a cause, or because a medical professional told you that you needed to, you’re motivations are external. By contrast, internal motivations occur when you want to make a healthy change for yourself. While family and peer support can help to hold you accountable to your path and make fitting in an exercise class easier, ultimately, the motivation that will stick with you long term is internal motivation.
With internal motivation, you don’t have to rely on anyone else maintaining the drive to push towards a healthy lifestyle. You know that you control the outcome that you choose through the foods you eat and the fitness habits you cultivate. The prospect of knowing that you’re doing something for yourself can be a powerful motivator. It also helps to eliminate the excuses that other people in your life might offer. External motivation often falls victim to you really craving the approval of others, rather than the approval of yourself. Approval can be a moving target and not, necessarily, a motivator that you can carry with you for a lifetime of better of health.
How can you make internal motivation work for you?
The unfortunate reality is that internal motivation is hard. It’s not easy to rely on yourself alone for motivation day to day. FitClub has three steps to help you find your own motivation.
- Focus on what’s happening inside your body instead of what’s happening on the outside of your body. It’s natural to start an exercise routine because you want to improve your appearance or lose weight. Instead of letting that be your focus, try to focus on what’s happening inside your body. Do you have more energy? Do your muscles feel stronger? Are you breathing, sleeping and moving with ease throughout the day? Those motivating rewards are entirely internal. No one else can feel those positive benefits for you. When you design your exercise routine to increase those feelings of strength and longevity you know you are doing it for yourself.
- Eliminate exercises you hate. If you find yourself trying to please other people, you might also find yourself enduring exercises or routines that don’t feel right to you. When you’re exercising purely for yourself, you get to choose. Instead of making exercise feel like a chore, finding the exercises that you look forward to or that feel good to your body can make exercise the best part of your day. FitClub has too many options for you to ever feel stuck doing an exercise you hate no matter how much your friends love it.
- Ask a pro. When you’re only trying to improve for yourself, you have the freedom to work with a personal trainer that can help you set and achieve your own goals. You can feel inspired to work on the conditioning that best meets your needs instead of trying to achieve anyone else’s version of perfection.
Where do you draw your motivation? Are you internally motivated or externally motivated?