Finding the right motivation to reach your goals

  • Find the right motivation to help you meet your fitness goals.

    Find the right motivation to help you meet your fitness goals.

Posted1/26/2019 7:30 AM

Who could use a little extra motivation when it comes to your health?

Even with the best intentions, the motivation you initially have as you set out to accomplish a goal may dwindle if the journey becomes too challenging.


So why do some people achieve their fitness goals, while others seem to fail before ever getting started?

A key element in being able to follow through on a fitness goal is having the right type of motivation. This is different for everyone, but you must recognize what motivates you and what doesn't.

Motivation can be broken down into two general categories -- intrinsic and extrinsic. Recognizing which one better fuels you will help you customize your goals so you have a better chance of staying motivated and reaching that "finish line."

Intrinsic motivators come from within the individual. This is that voice inside you that says "I've always wanted to …" This can be brought on by a curiosity or simply wanting to learn and master a new task.

Intrinsic motivators can be the most meaningful because they are very personal to the individual, but at the same time, may not be enough if you have a tough time staying accountable to yourself.

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Extrinsic motivators come from outside the individual. This could be losing weight because your doctor said your health is declining.

You really don't want to put in the effort to lose weight, but if you don't your doctor has stated you'll have to take a medication, which you'd prefer to avoid. This extrinsic motivator may be better at holding you accountable to other people, because you have to answer to someone other than yourself.

So which type of motivation works best?

Of course this comes down to the individual and the situation. Think about scenarios where you've excelled and others where you've failed. Is there a pattern?

If you can identify which type of motivation you respond to, weave that into your short-term and long-term goals. Then you may have a winning combination.

We've had great success using a hybrid of both motivators to help someone achieve their goals.

For example, having a long-term goal of improving your health scores due to your doctor's request, which is an extrinsic motivator, can be accomplished by setting short-term goals that are more intrinsically motivated, such as wanting to run a mile nonstop or mastering a pullup for the first time.


As you train to accomplish your short-term, intrinsically motivated goals, you'll eventually reach your long-term extrinsically motivated goal of getting approval from you doctor.

So figure out what really motivates you and use that to reach those goals that have always been out of reach.

For more exercise and nutrition tips, visit for links to our blog and social media resources.

• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition. Contact him at

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