When setting goals, one of the most important questions we have to ask ourselves is “why do I want to reach this goal? What is my motivation?”
This is the most tricky, yet helpful question of all. There are many different types of motivation and in order to truly understand if our goal is really meaningful to us and our life, we need to dig down to the root of why we want what we want. Let’s take “going to the gym” as an example. Why do we want to go to the gym?
INTRINSIC AND EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION
The main types of motivation behind a goal are the intrinsic/internal and the extrinsic/external. Intrinsic motivation comes from within, and is linked to the inherent enjoyment of the activity itself or to the results you can achieve by reaching your goal. “I train because I like it and it’s fun!” or “I train because I benefit from exercising mentally and physically”.
External motivation comes from the exterior, and is linked to a wish to comply to external pressure or rewards or to achieve external validation. “I train because my partner thinks I need to lose weight” or “because I’ll look more like that TV star”.
Is an ego-driven goal a “bad” goal? Or is a goal dependent on external validation an inappropriate goal? It’s not that simple.
SHIFTING TO MEANINGFUL GOALS
Goal setting is definitely tricky, trying to get clear on what it is we really want and why we want it. Identity issues can play a big role here. Are we setting goals that are more about external validation and pleasing other people than truly satisfying a real want or need?
Extrinsic motivation doesn’t have to be “bad” or “wrong”. We prefer to look at it as the powerful spark that get you started. It can be in the form of an event or competition, a hurtful comment, a request from your friend or partner, or an health issue that you’d like to solve.
But if we want that long-burning fire which keeps us going despite everything else, then we need more than just a spark. We need to transform that energy into goals that are meaningful to us, goals that feel “worth” all the sweat and hard work.⠀
We need to be real with ourselves.
Are our goals even our goals? or are we striving to please other people’s expectations?
To gain that kind of awareness in our goal setting, we need to tap into the real why of our fitnessing. Start with listing 10 reasons why you’re going to the gym and write down how you came by these beliefs about who you should and shouldn’t be, what you should or shouldn’t do.
All the “you should…” messages will surface at this point. Are these about seeking external validation from other people? Are these your goals or someone else’s? You might end up changing your “reasons” or “why’s” all together after realising what you actually don’t want.
Before reaching your ultimate “why” it’s important you let go of goals you don’t want to achieve. This is incredibly freeing and open the mind up to new realisations, to a deeper connection to your true end goal.
Our goal at Andfit is to help people set and achieve goals that are meaningful to them. We understand everyone is different and we strive to guide every single member through a goal-setting process so that they create goals in alignment with their vision of the life they want to live, the things they want to do, the experiences they want to have.
If you haven’t set your fitness goals yet, it’s time for a goal check-in.
It’s time to ask yourself what’s your why and create a plan around that.
Stop looking for external motivation and dial in with what sets you on fire and let you progress.
Book a free Athlete Check-in with us. We will help you with goal setting and planning.
Let’s get started!