The difference between internal and external motivation.

Rainbow through the trees. Photo by Anne Roche

My amazing friend, Nadine Kelly, and I talked about motivation on her podcast recently. 

She shared the story of a listener who trained to get in shape so she could participate fully on a walking tour she had signed up for. Now that it was over, she found she was no longer motivated to work out or stay in shape.

That’s understandable - her reason to be motivated had changed. 

Often, motivation is tied to an external goal. 

What shifts when we tie motivation to an internal goal?

  • What’s important about this goal - internally?
  • What feeling does it give you that you want more of in your life?
  • How does getting more of that feeling feed you internally?
  • Where else is it possible to get this feeling?

External goals are important, even motivating, but not typically sustainable if they’re not linked to an internal touchstone.

Moreover, if your motivation is based on attaining an external goal, you’re limiting yourself to just that outcome. If your motivation is tied to an internal touchstone, it opens up possibilities you may not even imagine possible. 

Motivation suckers?

Judgment - even good ones.

"I’m successful or doing well if I stick to these goals" may feel great but it keeps the judgment noise going in your head. So when you don’t do it, you’re "bad" or a "failure".

Think instead about how everything you’re experiencing is information that helps you take the next step. 

  • If you're not following your plan, what is that telling you?
  • Where do you need to realign your touchstone?
  • Is the step too big? Is that really the step you want to take?
  • What's a different, more aligned, step?

Oh, how I love thinking and talking about these things with smart, interesting, heart centered people! ❤️ Give it a listen if you'd like.