Okay, real talk, I don’t always feel motivated. Sometimes I don’t want to do anything at all, and sometimes I honor that. But, other times, I find the motivation. How do we know when to rest and when to push? What motivates you? Have you ever struggled with motivation? If your answer is yes, I’ve come up with some quick tricks to keep me going, that might help you as well.
I’m so glad you asked. Well, according to the dictionary on my computer:
mo·ti·va·tion /ˌmōdəˈvāSH(ə)n/ noun – the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
But let’s go a little deeper. There are a few different types of motivation. Today I am going to focus on two. Intrinsic and External motivation.
…is the type of motivation that comes from within. It is motivation that comes from our personal values, meaning, and purpose. This type of motivation is powerful and fierce. It keeps us going, and connects right to our heart of hearts.
…is motivation that is found from external sources. Think the “should’s” and the “supposed to’s.” External motivation is when we are motivated by things outside of ourselves.
So, now that you know the deal, let’s talk logistics.
I talk with my clients about motivation, a lot. It can feel very frustrating, especially when we have been conditioned not to trust ourselves (diet culture, I’m looking at you). Because the best type of motivation comes from within, and the less trust you have in yourself, the more external motivation will take over.
External motivation is easier to access, quicker to digest, and faster to run out. Whereas, intrinsic motivation comes from your core values. It gives you meaning and purpose, and keeps you engaged with what you really want.
Although it can be harder to pinpoint, intrinsic motivation gets you a whole lot further.
Here’s one of the biggest lies diet culture teaches us: that we struggle with willpower.
Yupp, I said it, and I’ll say it again.
Your willpower is not, and was never the issue. It’s hard to believe after so many years being indoctrinated into a culture that tells us every misstep is a failure, and every failure is a result of weak willpower. But, it is not true. Don’t question your motivation. It’s been within you all along, you just have to uncover it.
Side note: what you thought was a lack of will power was actually your body and mind doing their absolute best to survive. I would argue that you have INCREDIBLE willpower for even dieting in the first place. Repeated attempts at dieting show impressive power of will, not failure. So give yourself some love for exerting so much resolve and commitment. We’ll talk more about this in another blog post, I promise. For now, take heart. You have remarkable will power within out.
You see, diet culture wants to keep your money (remember it’s a BIG business), so it sets you up for failure and blames you. You end up, not only, in a miserable cycle, but also doubting yourself and your motivation. But, dear friend, you are powerful and so it your will. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise anymore. And, your motivation, the real, powerful kind, has always been within you. Now it’s time to unleash it.
So, now you know that intrinsic motivation is the fiercest motivation. But how do you access it? Well, there is no specific formula, but my best advice is to start getting to know yourself. Trusting what you want. It’s easy to let other people’s opinions and ideas cloud the way, but the more you can start looking within and honoring what you find, the more intrinsic motivation will become clear. Get at your why.
This is a part of your journey that is unique to you. I cannot tell you what intrinsic motivators you will find within your heart. This is a lot of the work I do with my clients, helping them to hear that gentle but strong voice within them, their intuition, and learning to honor it.
In this post though, I can give you some of my tips and tricks for mustering motivation and getting inspiration.
Getting at our why can be really hard, especially when there is so much external noise. My first piece of advice is, when you’re having trouble hearing the greater meaning, slow down and break it down.
Remember Anna from Frozen? Hear me out, here.
When I’m feeling stuck and I can’t find the motivation, I channel Anna. In Frozen 2, she sings the song, The Next Right Thing.
Okay, so it’s a little dramatic. She’s in some pretty extreme circumstances. But, let’s focus on the message here. When things feel overwhelming, all you have to do is choose the next right thing.
Motivation, especially intrinsic, talks about the big picture, the why, the meaning. Sometimes it’s hard to zoom out that far. In those moments, pause and breathe. All you have to do is make the next, best decision for yourself. Breaking it down this way might feel silly, but each decision you make becomes a success. An opportunity to honor your why. And each decision builds upon the next, until you have accomplished more than you imagined at the start.
On the other hand, maybe you have all the little pieces, but your big picture isn’t feeling clear. When this happens I like to think of my life as a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.
How do you complete a jigsaw puzzle? You start with the outline and then slowly and methodically fill it in. What I’m saying is, a jigsaw puzzle takes time and care. It takes trial and learning.
Because, here’s the thing about puzzles, you get comfortable with a lot of trial, as compared to the amount of success there is. You pick a piece and try it. Sometimes it works and fits right in. Other times, you have to try many pieces over and over. But when you try a piece that doesn’t work, you don’t throw away the whole puzzle, you put it back with all the other pieces and try another, and another, and another. Eventually, after a lot of work and effort, you have a beautiful picture and all the pieces fit together exactly as they were meant to.
You may not get every piece right at first, but it you keep trying, you will discover the ones that work, slowly but surely. Like I said, trial and learning, not trial and error. Next time you set a goal, try thinking of it like this, like its an experiment to see what works for you. See how that affects your motivation.
Motivation ebbs and flows. Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace. It’s okay to ride your natural waves of motivation. Set goals that allow you to experiment and meet you where you are. Find your intrinsic motivation. Get at your why, and find the smalls steps that engage you. Whether it’s Anna or the last puzzle you completed, remember motivation and goals don’t have to be all or nothing. Start small and build on your success.
I hope that you enjoyed reading this post! I’d love to hear you best motivation inspiration tips in the comments! If you are interested in doing my 1:1 coaching program, and want support finding your intrinsic motivation, feel free to get in touch here!