Motivation: How Can I Find It?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
How can I get motivated?

How do I stay motivated?

Will someone please motivate me to exercise?

These are all questions that I have seen a lot of members ask on the SparkPeople message boards recently. Motivation seems to be hard to come by some days, while other days it seems much easier. Why is that? Well, something that I have experienced that may help with the “problem” of finding and keeping motivation to stick with your health goals (and any other goals you may have set), is to find the motivation and power from within yourself.

While having external motivators, such as preparing for a big event, fitting into your swimsuit just in time for summer or fitting into a particular outfit for that special event, can be helpful in the short-term, it may not help you in the long-term. What happens to your motivation once that event comes and goes? Your motivation to keep going after an external motivator is over may cause you to lose your desire to move forward, therefore, you may be more likely to lose your motivation and fall back into some older, less healthy habits. That is unless you have some other form of motivation from within yourself.

This is not to say that external motivators don’t help – they can be very helpful, but they may not last beyond the event to help  keep you motivated. So how do you find that motivation from within? That  answer lies within you. I know, that’s not what you want to hear, but each person has a different motivating factor, so there is not an answer that applies to everyone. Finding your inner Spark can help you find that motivation to get you going and keep  you going--whether it is a want/need to be healthier overall, get fit/be in better shape, feel better in general or reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc – those are all great internal motivators. Because these goals do not have a timeline, you are more likely to want to continue to maintain them well beyond the time it took for you to achieve them. So think about what internal motivators you might have and write those down and keep them in mind as you move along in your health journey.

Does it all have to be internal motivators to help you continue? No – sprinkle in some external factors and you will have that extra push for motivation and I’m sure you will always have a great combination of motivation factors that you are able to give yourself. While you’re at it, add a reward system for both the small and big goals that you meet. With that recipe of internal and external motivators, you are set up for a very good motivation system that will allow you to meet many goals and help you find many successes in your life.

 According to a recent study researchers have found that motivation to stick to an active lifestyle will change throughout the week based on the demands that the individual has going on in her life - (work, family, school, etc.). Does this sound familiar to you? I know it does for me! The study also showed that people with consistently strong intentions of being active/exercising were more likely to follow through with their intentions of exercising, whereas those who had more fluctuations in their motivation were less likely to follow through. 

After reading this study I am even more convinced that we need to find stronger motivations from within ourselves so that we are less likely to have those fluctuations of being motivated and not being motivated. Having the internal motivation will give us more power to reach our goals, while having the external motivators will help add fun and extra motivation as well.

Do you have both internal and external motivation? What motivates you the most? What tips do you have to offer other members that may be struggling with getting/staying motivated?