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4 ways to increase your self-motivation


It's safe to assume that you've probably wanted to start or improve healthy behaviours at some point. Perhaps you wanted to get fitter, enhance your diet, or work towards a goal you've procrastinated over for too long. But saying you'll do something is so much easier than doing it, am I right?

Let's unpick what may hinder you from adopting healthy behaviours and look at one factor that I believe is key to unlocking your ability to start and maintain them.

Behaviour barriers

There may be several reasons why you may struggle to start or improve healthy behaviours:

  • Personal attributes include finances, chronic health conditions, or psychological barriers like anxiety, depression, or a lack of self-belief (also called self-efficacy).

  • Environmental factors include access to facilities or resources, lack of time, or lack of social support from family or friends.

  • Physical activity factors include your ability to deal with discomfort, or deal with or recover from an injury.

It's essential to address any of these barriers and find ways to overcome them, however, I feel working on one factor, in particular, will most increase the chance of you adopting healthy behaviours, and that's your motivation.

What is motivation?

Motivation is a force that compels you to act or behave in a certain way. It is the reason or reasons you have to do something.

A lack of it may mean that you struggle to initiate or adhere to activities that are important to you. At best this leads to decreased overall satisfaction and missed opportunities, at worst it can lead to stagnation and reduced self-esteem.

Motivation can be either intrinsic or extrinsic:

  • Intrinsic motivation (also called autonomous motivation) is when you engage in an activity of your own free will, for the inherent satisfaction and enjoyment that comes from it. This type of motivation is commonly associated with positive attitudes and emotions, and persistence when faced with barriers you may encounter.

  • Extrinsic motivation (also called controlled motivation) is when you engage in an activity because you feel pressured to do so by external forces, such as achieving recognition or pressure from your partner. This type of motivation is commonly associated with feelings of tension, guilt, or anxiety.

While both can be effective for different people or in specific contexts, intrinsic motivation is often more sustainable and leads to greater personal fulfilment and satisfaction.

Benefits of high motivation

Increasing or having high motivation is not a guarantee of success, however, it is a crucial factor in behaviour change and will increase the likelihood of starting and maintaining healthy behaviours.

While the process will require time and effort, the benefits of high motivation include increased productivity, a greater sense of fulfilment, improved self-esteem, and (generally) better outcomes. Suffice it to say, the long-term benefits are worth it.

Increase intrinsic motivation

While not an exact science, here are 4 ways I have learnt and can recommend that help to increase intrinsic motivation:

  1. Be passionate: Don't start with healthy behaviours you aren't passionate about. Discover activities that you find enjoyable and try to incorporate them into your routine. This alone will drastically increase your chances of starting and maintaining healthy behaviours.

  2. Focus on the process: Care more about the process of adopting healthy behaviours than the outcome. For example, if you want to lead a more active lifestyle, focus on the process of regularly getting out there and being more active rather than losing 15kg or running a marathon.

  3. Set goals: Celebrate victories and track your progress, it doesn't matter if they're small or large, or if you accomplish them sooner or later. It's important you feel a sense of accomplishment and improvement. Focus on goals you can control (getting to the gym 4 times a week for 1 month) over ones you cannot control (how fast your body responds to exercise and is ready for swimsuit season).

  4. Find social support: It's helpful to seek relationships with people who model relevant healthy behaviours or support your journey. A network of like-minded people can motivate you and sustain you during times of low resolve.

If you'd like to keep up to date on my workouts and the meals I receive, you can follow me on Instagram.


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