Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
One of the most common misconceptions in the world of getting in shape is that doing so requires using intrinsic motivation for exercise. That’s simply not the case. It’s often the case, however, that the most successful people have learned how to use extrinsic motivation to their advantage.
It’s important to realize that intrinsic motivation isn’t a sustainable way to get fit. It’s a great way to start, but if you want to continue to have a healthy, fit lifestyle, adding extrinsic motivation can boost your ability to stick with it.
It’s estimated that about 37 percent of Americans subscribe to a healthy diet. Some of them do so based on intrinsic motivation, but a lot of them do it because they want to maintain their appearance, attract a romantic partner, or avoid the stress caused by unhealthy food choices.
If you’re addicted to foods like junk food or soda, you can’t rely on intrinsic motivation. Your addiction is a form of extrinsic motivation that isn’t sustainable. You’ll soon get tired of the negative push and pull that your addiction causes.
Intrinsic motivation is a type of motivation that is not directly influenced by external factors.
For example, to be intrinsically motivated to run, you have to enjoy the process of running.
In other words, if you’re doing it because you have to or because you feel like you have to, it’s not likely that you’re going to stick with your routine in the long term.
Intrinsic motivation is often the motivation that gets men to the gym in the first place.
For example, when you want to build up a physique and gain muscle, starting a workout program is usually the result of wanting to do it for yourself, because you believe it’s going to make you look better and feel more confident about your body.
This type of motivation is driven by passion, and this is why it’s so effective.
For instance, if you enjoy running, would it help your motivation to know that it lowers your risk of all-cause mortality and increases your self-esteem?
Probably. But if you already had a passion for running, the thought of a lower mortality rate and increased self-esteem probably wouldn’t have been enough to get you out of bed at 6 am to go running.
When you enjoy something, you are more likely to keep doing it because you get a sense of pleasure from it.
A lot of the fun that you put in at the gym comes from your self-discipline. But that’s a little different. Resilience is the ability to stay motivated and on-track even when you feel like you don’t want to exercise.
Nothing brings more satisfaction than being able to push through those moments when you think you’d rather sleep in, watch TV, or take a nap.
You’ll realize these benefits more and more as you start to understand how to push through your mental barriers. If you learn how to curtail the psychological roadblocks you encounter while training, then you’ll have developed resilience that will benefit you after you leave the home gym. The routine of the home gym will also bring a sense of calm to your life, whether your gym time involves strength training or cardio.
If you’ve ever been frustrated about being stuck in a job, a relationship, or doing something you hate, you’ll find that the competition of an inner voice pushing you towards your goals is a lot more advantageous than the relationships and situations that hold you down.
This is one of three powerful motivators discovered by Edward Deci, a prominent researcher on motivational psychology.
Competence is the idea that you feel that you’re an effective and effective person. By meeting your goals, accomplishing your tasks, and being a productive member of society, this is the satisfaction that you get.
The ability to feel pride in your abilities helps keep you motivated. Every workout, every run, and every repetition is a testament to your skills and effectiveness as a person.
Contrary to what you may think, a focus on feelings is a powerful motivator. How often do you feel that you’re not good enough in life? Probably often. When you exercise, prove that you are good enough by being effective. When you push yourself, you’ll be able to feel good about your abilities.
When you’re working to accomplish a goal, you’re trying to beat your past performances and fine-tune yourself into a better person. Every single time you successfully do something that you haven’t been able to do in the past, you feel more confident in your abilities.
Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment that a bodybuilder experiences at the end of a hard month. Every muscle they looked at with disdain as they hit the gym has now consistently grown stronger and more defined.
Extrinsic motivators are things like money, titles, or recognition. These types of motivators are exciting, and they make us feel good.
But here’s the thing: they’re very short term.
In most cases, though, extrinsic motivators eventually become internalized and become part of our intrinsic motivators. In other words, external rewards become what drives us instead of the external thing that initially motivated us.
Regardless of how intrinsic motivators eventually evolve, though, extrinsic motivators are great at increasing short-term motivation.
Some great examples of extrinsic motivators are gift cards and public recognition for our fitness progress.
If you have a reward system at home, consider going public with it. Post updates on Facebook and social media, and even reward yourself with a gift card if you break a certain benchmark. You can even log your progress on an app like Fitocracy, and people can see your graph to encourage you and motivated you even more.
If you don’t want to go public, you can also give yourself rewards like candy that you allow yourself to have after a workout. It’s fine to reward yourself. Many credit this as key to their progress.
I find that working out with others is much more fun and rewarding than doing it alone. If you go to a gym, you can chat with others about anything, and they can help motivate you to push through difficult exercises.
If you work out at home, you can join some online fitness groups. These often have very active members, and some will keep track of your progress. You can also check out fitness blogs that are dedicated to posting articles about the best fitness equipment, and writing motivation articles.
This one is obvious. There are a lot of pieces of equipment, exercises, and tutorials out there that you can use to keep things new and fresh.
Lots of people get bored easily if they always do the same thing over and over again, so vary your workout routine!
The Actual Workout
There are tons of good workouts out there that are well-named such as:
- The Fat Loss Stack
- Badass Builder
The A10X, etc.
These workouts are great ways to get in shape and work out, but on top of that, they also come with a good name. This is important because having a good workout name makes you more likely to do it.
You can checkout the full workout guide from this here.
Being more fit
And healthy isn’t a motivator to get off the couch.
This is the most obvious and common fact, yet it is crucial to understand. If you want to build the habit of working out more, you have to use your intrinsic motivation to drive you to do it. This is where the five reward dynamics come in.
In a study by researcher John Yates, college students at Southern Maine University were split into three groups. The first group’s reward was compliments from their peers. The second group’s reward was money. The third group’s reward was a flexible schedule.
No matter who you are, you’re naturally wired to crave and have a higher desire for rewards such as food, money, praise, and other things that are important to you.
For example, you probably don’t want the compliment from your peers; you want the praise. You sound like an idiot.
This natural desire for rewards such as food, money, and praise is what will motivate you to physically work harder toward your goal. So what does this have to do with working out at home, you ask?
This is perhaps the most obvious motivator of all but one that you should also keep in mind when you gradually introduce exercise into your life.
Taking your appearance into account will no doubt be a little bit of a downer the first time you see yourself coming back from the gym looking just like before you started, but don’t give up!
It takes time to notice changes in your body, and sometimes the changes are the least tangible, like the way you carry yourself with more confidence or the improved focus after an intense workout.
Improved Energy Levels
Exercising helps you feel energized and alive. It is a fast and effective way to get a daily boost, whether you exercise a few times per week or a few times per day.
This is a result of looking better and feeling great about yourself. Confidence can not only be very attractive to the opposite sex, but also to those you interact with.
Being more confident makes you feel better in social situations and in general. You’re also more likely to try new things like public speaking or networking, which can lead to new opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise found.