If a dumbbell drops in a gym, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

black-male-con-curlHave you been to the gym lately? In the beginning of the year, gyms are a crowded sea of bodies, full of everyone devoutly adhering to their “New Year’s Resolution.” Now fast forward to March – the same crowded fitness floors become a desolate wasteland of lost motivation and failed resolutions. What started off as enthusiasm and good intention in January often fades in only a few weeks time. Just look around at the crowd the next time you go to the gym in the beginning of the year then investigate again just a few weeks later—seem like the numbers are dwindling? More importantly, are you not able to see the effect because you are among those who have lost motivation? So what is the key to maintaining motivation?

The first key is to learn about the different types of motivation: internal and external. Once you discover their differences, you can identify what type of motivation you are using to adhere to your fitness program, and whether or not that is working for you.

External Motivation vs. Internal Motivation

External motivation is the willingness of an individual to act based on the potential rewards that can be achieved in exchange for that action. People with positive extrinsic or external motivation make their choices in order to receive formal rewards like salary, money, intimacy, respect, notoriety, etc. These factors can influence people's behavior for working towards something but themselves are not strong motivators for eliciting lasting change.

Internal motivation is the willingness of an individual to act based on the potential satisfaction that they will experience in exchange for the action. The action is motivated by the experience of learning, growing, progressing, or from the pleasure that could occur from the specified task. This type of motivation gets to the core of what people crave and desire deep down. Those with internal or intrinsic motivation engage in actions that are personally rewarding. The personal reward can also be reflected upon those whom the individual cares about - family, children, spouse and other loved ones.

The key is that internal motivation tends to drive deeper to the heart of the person making the change. The external rewards are all fleeting and are subjective based on the opinions of others; however, being motivated by change that will positively influence your lifestyle and that of those around you has a much longer lasting effect and impact. Here's an example:

A young mom who is overweight is looking to make change.

An external motivation for her may be to fit into that great dress that she saw at the mall.

An internal motivation for her would be to achieve not only weight loss but a healthier lifestyle so that she can become a positive role model for her young daughter.

Which type of motivation do you think will result in her staying more committed to her goal?

What motivation are YOU using to stay committed to YOUR goals?

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