November 4, 2010

Where does motivation come from?

I am very surprised that the pharmaceutical companies haven't come up with a pill or injection for motivation. Could you imagine? Don't feel like working out? Just pop two of these and wait 20'll be up and out the door in no time! ...wait a minute....maybe those drugs do exist.......

My question of the day is...where (exactly) does motivation come from? Is it something you are born with or something you learn? Is it something we can get from others or is does it only come from within? Is it fleeting? Or can you keep it for life? It must be relative because we are all certainly motivated to live happy lives. Sure, we all pursue this differently (some ways healthier than others) but we all want to live happy this innate or learned? head just exploded (too much for a morning post).

When it comes to losing weight or getting fit or quitting smoking (for example), we tend to start out with a bag load of motivation. We may pick it up through watching or reading about someone "just like us" who has lost 100s of pounds, quit smoking, and now does the Iron man circuit. We may hear about a new superfood or exercise that gives us hope that it is truly possible to lose fat for life. Unfortunately, this motivation may be the superficial kind. This type of motivation, in my opinion, is the wolf in sheepskin. It isn't your friend and doesn't care if you succeed. Nope..this type of motivation is like that proverbial carrot on a stick (or Barbie on a stick in many cases). You are motivated by the vision of the new you and the promises of happiness once you get there, but the path to your new future is clouded with gimmicks, unfounded scientific claims, and unethical business practice (shoes that make your butt tighter, berries that help you lose fat, come on....seriously?).

So is motivation bad for you? No. However, we may need to address our motives before embarking on a new lifestyle program. If you are motivated by vanity, new loves, a bigger social life, and the like you may find yourself disappointed as they are the superficial and external rewards of our changes. Conversely, if you are motivated by those internal rewards that may include enhanced health, decreased illness, increased quality & quantity of life, movement without pain, deeper sleep, more energy and alertness, and all the rest, you may be more apt to change for life. Of course, your appearance will ultimately change in the process...but that isn't the carrot that is driving your behaviour.

What is motivation? I still don't know how to define it, but I do know that the type of motivation (where it comes from) could make or break your good intentions for change. The next time you feel the need to make a change, compose a list of internal and external rewards. If the internal rewards outweigh the external let that be your sign that you are on your way to success!

That's all I got....

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