Finding Your Why

Motivation. Whether we like the word or not, motivation is what causes us to get up out of our chairs and do something. We all need it, otherwise, we’ll never get going!

A lack of motivation, then, is what causes us to stay the same, not change, and sometimes not do anything at all. In fact, a severe lack of motivation can lead to depression; physical and mental lethargy.

Motivation comes in different forms.

Extrinsic motivation comes from hearing someone else's story, reading an inspiring book, or seeing someone accomplish something great. It’s inspirational, which prompts us then to “go for it” ourselves.

For me this type of motivation is often really strong at the beginning, but lasts for only a short amount of time.

Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from within myself. Therefore, it is more long lasting. I stick with something because I'm internally motivated to follow through. My goal, my plan.

To tap into that enduring kind of motivation, we need to find a compelling reason to do something. It’s called “finding our why.”

I used to run a lot. From half marathons all the way through ultra-marathons. I did this in order to stay in shape. It was also a way to take care of my heart and soul, my spirit, if you will. I was internally motivated because running long distances was fulfilling.

However, I was also pretty good at it – so that was the extrinsic motivation. I was rewarded for my efforts with medals and recognition.

Still, ultra-running was a great way for me to be outside and really enjoy nature, sometimes with others but more often by myself. It was how I took care of my mental wellbeing, an internal reward.

Fast forward to today. My knees won’t let me run anymore. So I lift weights and do other exercises to keep in shape. I am not extremely motivated to do these kinds of activities.

So in that sense, I am externally motivated to lift weights because I do not want to lose bone density and muscle mass. Intellectually, I know this behavior is good for me.

In order to make my new routine more enjoyable, then, I need to engage some intrinsic motivational factors like my appreciation of the outdoors. That’s why I walk and hike on a regular basis, to get out and about. It also builds my bones and muscles.

Since I really enjoy nature and seeing all the beautiful creation around me, I am now intrinsically motivated to stay healthy. That way, I can combine exercise with travel and do all the leisure activities I enjoy for many years to come.

The key is to balance an external motivation with an internal one. To do that, we need to “find our why.” What are you doing that motivates you to live an active, healthy lifestyle? What is your why?

“Today is the opportunity to build the tomorrow you want.” – Ken Poirot


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