I Cannot Motivate You: a lesson in intrinsic motivation

On the left, I wanted to be "skinny." On the right, I wanted to be healthy.

Working out to "look good" simply isn't enough, no matter how badly you want those skinny jeans to fit or that wedding dress to zip up.

Wanting to look a certain way has never been the motivating factor behind someone losing a lot of weight, increasing their athletic ability or changing their lifestyle. The girl who works out every single day and eats healthfully may have started her journey in hopes of looking better, but that's certainly not what gets her out of bed at 5:00 every morning. Her pant size is not what motivates her to push through and finish her last set, even when she's exhausted and dripping sweat. No weight loss "success story" ever includes "when it got so hard and I wanted to give up, I thought about that dress and I pushed on!"

Let's face it, if looking good were enough of a motivating factor, you'd be in shape by now.

Often times, I get hired as a personal trainer not because the client thinks they need a personalized workout plan, but because she thinks I can motivate her to get her act together.

Guess what happens with that relationship?

It doesn't last.

I cannot motivate you to work hard. I can show up to your house with a custom workout plan, all the necessary equipment and a "yes you can" attitude, but I cannot force you to push your limits and get uncomfortable. I can send you a training guide, Skype you daily, check in on you and answer your questions, but I can't force you into the gym.

I cannot pull the blankets off of you when the alarm goes off in the morning or slap the junk food out of you hand at the office. I can't sprinkle magic motivation dust on you to make you work out when you don't want to.

I cannot make you want to live longer, to feel better, to get off of all those medications, to move more freely, to enjoy life more fully, to be a better spouse/parent/friend/boss, to be proud of your body or to be free of medical expenses.

I can only show up with the tools. You need to show up with the drive.

Extrinsic motivation comes from an outside source, like how you look or what size clothes you wear.

Intrinsic motivation comes from within, like how you feel or how proud you are of yourself.

Intrinsic motivation is the only way you'll succeed.

Today, I want you to find your "why."

Why do you want to work out? Why do you want to change your diet? Until you are intrinsically motivated, you're wasting your time.

I live this way because I want to be healthy.

I want to live a long, happy life.

I don't want to have limitations on where I can go, what I can do, how far I can walk or how long I can stand.

I want to be able to sit on the floor.

I don't want to experience a "health scare."

I don't want to worry about mounting medical bills.

I want to travel.

I want to accomplish things I can be proud of, like marathons and triathlons.

I don't want to be "too tired" when I'm older.

I want to be independent.

What's your "why?"

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