Are You Motivated?

        Are you motivated? This seems like an easy question to ask but difficult to answer. Motivation is what drives us to do the things we do, behave the way we choose, and to keep the habits we keep. Motivation is a limitless currency that can be drawn from different places, at any time, and used towards anything we choose. The role that motivation and the decisions we make or don’t make will have on our Physical, Cognitive, and Personal development is far-reaching. It seems logical that some consideration to what motivates us, where that motivation comes from, and to what end it’s being used, can play an important role in any lifestyle and health goals one might strive for.

         The benefits of regular physical activity and exercise to our Physical, Emotional, and Cognitive health are well known and have been confirmed through copious amounts of research across many disciplines. Most of us would agree with this but why is it so hard for many of us to apply this understanding to our lives? Understanding our motivating factors can help with this. There is a concept called Self-Determination Theory that explores motivation, where it comes from, the roll it plays in our lives, and how social and cultural factors can facilitate or undermine our motivation.  Motivation can be Intrinsic or Extrinsic. Intrinsic motivating factors are driven by inherent satisfaction, curiosity, or personal values and will often result in feelings of enjoyment, personal accomplishment, and excitement. Extrinsic motivation can be driven by a desire to gain social or external rewards, to avoid disapproval, to gain self-approval, or a sense that you “have-to” do something. This, understandably, is not associated with the previous emotions and can often exist beneath our conscious awareness. If this is so then how can we create situations that foster healthy intrinsic motivations that will increase our chances of long-term adherence ad benefit. SDT identifies Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness as psychological needs that when met, help foster the most volitional, and high-quality forms of motivation and engagement for activities, including enhanced performance, persistence, and creativity. 

        A study by Teixeira et al. titled “Exercise, Physical Activity, and Self-Determination Theory: A Systematic Review”  reviewed 66 empirical studies and concluded that there was good evidence in support of this theory and more importantly, that seeking intrinsic motivators that are self-endorsed because we personally value them, will increase our chances of success. At SIMIO we strive to meet those needs and understand that everyone has needs that are unique to them.  Please see us if we can help you along your journey. 

  1. Pedro J Teixeira, Eliana V Carraca, David Markland, Marlene N Silva, Richard Ryan.

Exercise, Physical Activity, and Self-Determination theory: A Systematic Review.