The Two Types of Motivation and Why They Matter

04.27.23 |

Motivation is the desire to do things. In order for me to help you create sustainable optimal health and wellbeing, you must realize that I am helping you take charge to fully determine your future health and wellbeing. Only by equipping you to take full responsibility will you be able to reach the highest level of motivation, engagement, ability, capacity, and resilience to thrive and be successful.

At the very core of that success is the source and substance of your motivation. There are generally two sources of motivation: external and autonomous.
External Motivation

This is often when someone other than ourselves – our spouse, our boss, or our parent – tells us what to do. Our spouse demands that we lose weight. To avoid conflict, you say “I am on a diet because my wife will get upset if I eat that fast food.” You are being compliant to avoid conflict. You are trying to solve a problem. We internalize the external pressure without really wanting to make the change or aligning it with our personal values and desires. It sound slike “I ought to” or “I should start to watch my weight.” This external pressure may work in the short-term, but it won’t last.
Autonomous Motivation

This source of motivation is sustainable. It’s good for our future. We decide because we want the energy to make a difference in our lives. We want to live longer in a healthy state because we want to play with our grandchildren. We voluntarily decide to make this change. We want to become good at it, and we want to share this change with others.

This self-motivation is a powerful source of energy that is aligned with both our biology and our deep desire to survive, belong, connect, and make a difference. Recent studies show that those without a deep sense of meaning and purpose are more likely to get sick. When we look deep inside ourselves and align our desires with our values, we are much more likely to create sustainable results.

Throughout your journey, we will come back to why you are doing what you are doing. It is a key determinant of your ability to make the changes and whether those changes will be transient or lead to the transformational power of the Habits of Health.
Find Your Why

So, why do you want to change? The answer might seem so obvious that we don’t often think to ask the question or to properly consider the answer. When you answer that question, ask yourself if that motivation is external or autonomous. Many readers are likely to discover that their initial motivation is external – and that’s okay – but use this moment to find the autonomous motivation within yourself and keep that motivation top of mind.

When you have autonomous motivation, you are far more likely to reach your goals!