Motivation is one of the key factors in our daily lives. Most times we don’t even think about it, but motivation is the driver behind the willpower we need to succeed at anything. Understanding how motivation works goes a long way to harnessing this powerful force within us.
What is motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as
‘Factors within a human being or animal that arouse and direct goal-oriented behaviour’.
For me a key part of this sentence is ‘within a human being’. In other words we are directed by our internal thoughts and desires. Where this becomes really important is the degree to which we act on these inner needs. Motivational levels can vary a lot from day to day, and person to person. When an individual is ‘highly’ motivated they can overcome many obstacles in order to reach their goal.
A good example is marathon training for someone who has never ran one before. Now 26 miles is a long way even for a trained runner. Imagine how challenging it seems to a beginner. Not only that, the training program is about 16 weeks in length so it requires a lot of willpower. In spite of this, millions of people (yes, that’s millions!) worldwide complete a marathon every year.
So what is it that pushes people to do this? There are many reasons, but there is a common theme – an inner conviction that if they do the training they can do the race.
So How can this help you?
When it comes to weight loss exactly the same logic applies: –
‘Convince yourself that if you follow whatever weight reduction or fitness program you have selected then you will lose weight.
Many people I know say something like “…well I’ll give it a try and see if I lose weight”. Wrong approach! Does ‘give it a try’ sound like a strong conviction to you? Could you run a marathon with that level of motivation? Probably not, but what if you said instead:
“If I do this I WILL lose weight. Lots of others have done it before, so why not me”?
Notice how this goal is framed:
‘If I follow the program (then) I will lose weight’
and not simply ‘I will lose weight’ – this is much to general.
As you know the hard part of weight loss is to actually follow the program without help. This is why Weight Watchers, Alcoholics Anonymous and other group motivators have been successful, where people help and encourage each other.
How Can You Keep Motivated?