Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Motivation, with a capital "M"

I often get the question, "How do you do all those miles? Don't you get bored?"


Abraham Maslow:
"If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life." 

Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is a process - something that leads to the forming of behavioral intentions.  According to Mirriam-Webster, the definition of motivation is something that arouses action or activity. Common synonyms associated with motivation include: encouragement, incentive, instigation, momentum, provocation, stimulant.

Motivation can be intrinsic - like when you are driven or enjoy something because it makes you feel good, happy, in control or successful. Motivation can also be extrinsic - when it's something other than your inner feelings that is your impetus: money, good grades, fear of failing, a crowd cheering you on towards the end of the race or your kid's congratulating you!

Motivation may even invoke your drive to exert self-control. Like avoiding consumption of empty calories:

I will not eat these chocolate chip cookies!

Our self-control can also be intrinsic: Like when you are hungry, but you choose not to eat empty carbs, aka chocolate chip cookies, and instead, choose an apple. And our self-control can be motivated extrinsically: you decide you will reward yourself with the free Dunkin' Munchkins that are being given out at the end of the 13.1 if you set a new PR!

Whether you are motivated intrinsically or extrinsically, doesn't really matter. What matters is that you associate a positive meaning to certain behaviors (like running, training, eating healthy, staying fit). If you have positive experiences when you exercise and eat healthy, you will want to repeat this activity.

Running makes me feel good. Feeling good is that positive reinforcement that gives me incentive to run more. I enjoy running for charities - What better excuse is there to run than to raise money for great causes and help others who are in need? In fact, check out my new donations PAGE, "Donations & Charites".
Running for Tuesdays Children - even in the rain!
Running also makes me feel as if I have balance in my life. Life is full of personal conflicts, physical, spiritual, domestic, social and economic problems - all types of imbalances. I see running as an opportunity to restore balance - work through the conflicts, maintain some sanity and problem-solve. 

I am always solving problems in my head while I run - I think I have even conjured up some great solutions to the World's most complicated issues! 
Hey - they all make sense while I am running!

Needs, self determination and goals also motivate us - like in the above quote by Abraham Maslow - if we are unsatisfied, we are going to be motivated to change. 

Goals help us to stay focussed and increase our efforts, which can lead to an improvement in performance.
(From your lips to God's ears, right?)

We also have a need to look good. Today, one of the woman I train with, asked me what I do for abs - She basically told me that she coveted my abs! Mind you - this is a woman who is in incredible shape! Hey - it's all good - she knows I covet her 1hour and 34minute 13.1 times! 

Well, I admit, I like staying fit because I like to look,!

NOT a good look for me - or my heart!
I don't believe everyone adopts these definitions on motivation. 
I think we need to reflect on what our exercise and healthy eating goals are, 
how much we value these goals and which motivational strategies (self-control, need, self-determination, incentive, drive, recognition, etc.) work best for us 
- to ensure we are involved in a process to reach our fitness goals. 

Train Smart Today!

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