Time for New Year, New You
I’ve been picking on New Year’s Resolutions the past few weeks, but since so many people do like to do them, how are you going to be successful this year?
Maybe the perfect diet plan? Nope.
The best training program? Nope
Willing yourself to get out of bed at 5am every morning? Not even close.
While those things are important, what is more important is intrinsic motivation.
What’s intrinsic motivation?
There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is what most people use as motivation. It’s motivation from things outside of you like: competition, challenges, badges, money, points, rewards, fear of failure, or fear of punishment. You do things to win or because you have to, not necessarily because you want to.
Intrinsic motivation comes from within yourself. There are many intrinsic motivators from work, school, and home life, but the ones that focus on diet and exercise are: Feeling better, enjoyment of the activity/sport, feeling self-worth, achieving self-mastery, and beating your own personal record.. You do these things because you enjoy the process and it becomes “what you do” or part of your identity.
So why is intrinsic motivation so important? Extrinsic motivation, while very powerful at first, wears off really quick. Think about the last time you did a 30-day diet or exercise challenge, you were probably really motivated at first, and then as soon as the challenge ended, all of your motivation fizzled out.
Or maybe you started a diet and got great results for a few months, but then things got tough and the results slowed down or stopped altogether. This frustrated you and you went back to your old habits.
I’m not saying extrinsic motivation is bad; it can be really good for short bouts of time or to get you started on something new. It’s kinda like kindling on a fire, it’s going to burn really fast and hot, but if you don’t add some bigger logs (intrinsic motivation) your fire isn’t going to last very long.
So how do you build intrinsic motivation?
If you enjoy working out, that’s pretty easy. Because you enjoy something, you’re going to be motivated to do it. But this email isn’t for those of you who enjoy working out.
Those of you who don’t enjoy working out (or any other aspect of health and fitness), you need to make it part of who you are.
By making “being a gym goer” part of your identity, you’re going to go to the gym because “that’s what you do.” You’re going to make sure you get to the gym at least a few times each week. Same thing applies to diet. You’re going to eat well because you perform better at the gym when you do and it’s going to lead to you becoming healthier.
Maybe you still hate working out and the last thing you want to eat is another salad, so maybe your motivators should focus on health. Maybe you want to live longer to achieve other goals like traveling the world when your older, hiking a mountain, or being able to keep up with your kids or grandkids, or maybe you want to be like Joe Stockinger and deadlift 405lbs at 89 years old.
Another pro to intrinsic motivation? It doesn’t die off when you’re not perfect. Extrinsic motivation dive bombs when your plans don’t go according to plan and you just throw in the towel instead because the stars aren’t aligned for you.
Extrinsic motivation is powerful, but it’s not going to take you anywhere unless you find an internal motivator that’ll keep you going when things get tough. You can Google search intrinsic motivators to help you find the ones that appeal to you the most and apply them to your 2020 goals. I only covered a few of them in this email.
So, find things that you enjoy about health and fitness and use those to help motivate you. Also, keep in mind that you’re not going to be ultra motivated all year long, and that’s okay, you just have to grind through those times.
The past two months I’ve had very little motivation to workout, so I’ve cut back to a “bare bones” approach to my workouts and just do the minimum right now. In a month or two, I’ll be back to my normal motivation level. That’s probably going to happen to you as well at some point in the next twelve months, so just stay consistent with your training and talk to your coaches to make sure you’re just going “through a rut” and not burned out.
Lastly, I recommend that you make a little saying you can tell yourself everyday that’ll help you stay on course regardless of your goals. For me, I tell myself “be a little better than I was yesterday.” Jeff took this a step further last year and just picked one word that applied to his 2019 goals.
So this year, don’t rely on challenges or fad diets/workouts to get you temporary results. Find what you enjoy or what enables you to do what you enjoy (working out so you can keep hiking or skiing for example) and stick with that. In the next twelve months, you’ll be surprised at the results you’ll see if you just take it one step at a time.