What Motivates You To Make a Healthy Change?

One of the most important things to do, when it comes to making a change in your health, or even maintaining your current health, is to figure out what truly motivates you.

There are two main types of motivation-intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Simply put, an intrinsically motivated person focuses on the internal awards.  They are motivated to perform an activity or make a change for their own sake or wellbeing. Extrinsically motivated people tend to look for external gratification.  They are motivated to do something to earn a reward or avoid punishment.

For example, if you are intrinsically motivated, you may say, “I am going to start exercising more because it is something I enjoy, and it makes me feel happy.” Or, “I am going to try and lose 10 pounds so that I feel better about myself and can boost my self-esteem”. These two examples show how an intrinsically motivated person focuses on making changes to their health for their own personal reward.

An extrinsically motivated person may say, “I am going lose weight so that I win the weight loss competition at work.” Or, “I am going to work at being the best at this sport so I win an award at the end of the season.” In these examples, it’s easy to see that this person is more motivated by outside factors, and they want something in return.

So, which is better? There is no right or wrong answer. What is important is that if you are looking to make a change-whether that is to exercise more, to spend more time with family, or build your confidence at work (really, the possibilities are endless)-then think about what truly motivates you to make that change.  It’s also important to remind yourself of the reasons while you are working towards the change. Making a permanent change can be extremely hard, so you must set yourself up for success from the very beginning.  A big part of success is to determine what motivates you now and will continue to drive you in the future.

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