Motivation, From the Inside Out

By far the most important pillar, and foundational principle of motivation is finding your profound WHY. Last week we covered how to do that, but unfortunately it isn't enough! Just like with any building, a solid foundation is the most essential part, but without 4 walls and a roof, a foundation isn't much shelter from the storm of life. Your deep WHY will keep everything standing during the storms, but to make your house a home, you need to attach the following:

  • Short term goals w/ external motivators (a reward you enjoy, sense of achievement and recognition of some sort)

  • Long term goal: Intrinsic motivation (developing autonomy, Mastery and discovering a greater purpose to your goals/your WHY)

Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivators and Goals

For the first 8 years of my career, I failed MISERABLY at motivating my clients!MISERABLY! I couldn't understand, I was sharing great science, studies and factual information about the proof behind what I was doing and saying. Why were my clients not taking action? It was very difficult to accept and resulted in mediocre results for my clients, and my business. It is only recently that I truly understood, and am still mastering the concept and idea that humans are motivated by emotions, personal reasons and not facts, studies or figures! This is why it becomes so important to connect to intrinsic motivation as well as extrinsic motivators.

For the majority of the last centuries in business or our personal lives, we have relied on carrots and sticks (pain and pleasure) to motivate us. Motivators outside of ourselves i.e. rewards, recognition, promotions, or punishment, fear of failure etc... (see diagram). And this methodology has merit, benefits and has worked in the past... For certain things. However, Daniel Pink and his phenomenal book DRIVE, and his amazing TED talk shined a light on the paradigm-shifting research on what truly drives human behaviour.

The Paradigm Shift

External motivation is great for straight forward tasks, with a simple set of rules and a clear destination. Example of this type of goal:

'We need these 4000 posters packaged, addressed and sent out within 2 days. For every one you complete, I will give you $0.10!' That is a simple, straightforward task with no creativity required and a short deadline. Here is an example of a health and fitness goal:

'I want to eat all my designated portions of vegetables, and complete protein/day, if I do this all week, I will treat myself and go to the movies.' These types of short term goals, with rewards, work very well with external motivation, 'I'll treat myself to a fancy dinner', 'I'll have a butt like that', etc... But did you know, that for longer-term tasks and complex problem solving, like the problems you encounter trying to change health habits and long term fitness goals, EXTERNAL MOTIVATORS PERFORM VERY, VERY POORLY! Even worse in some instances than no motivators... So what do I do? It is time to look inside!

Intrinsic motivators

This is where the rubber hits the road, and it is an essential piece, because as therapists, we perform very poorly with helping our clients! Did you know 80% or more of people who lose 10% of their weight or more, end up gaining it all back!?! So clearly something is not working and in my ten years experience, I think it comes down to this KEY PIECE, intrinsic motivation. So what is intrinsic motivation? This diagram explains the differences nicely:

I am going to go on a limb and say 98%+ of people who quit, it is because they don't see results, or lose motivation! Now, seeing results and benefits, is that External motivation? Or Internal? External! Isaac Newton had no visible results for 900+ attempts at a lightbulb, but he had intrinsic motivation, (a Purpose, and desire for Mastery), that kept him going despite his apparent failures and lack of results. When you only focus on results and things get tough, which they certainly will, if you aren't connected to your purpose and mastery, you have not parachute, or support to fall back on! Herein lies the reason we started with The 7 Layers of Why, we connected you to your PURPOSE for doing it.

Conclusion: Putting it all Together

We have covered the theory, but now we must put it all into practice! You have already connected to your Purpose, now we have to find what essential pillar you would like to master.

Here are some examples for fat loss:

  • Eating all of my portions of vegetables

  • Eating my healthy snacks

  • Exercising 4-5X/week

  • Reducing stress

Gut Health:

  • Including a new vegetable every week

  • Incorporating fermented foods

  • Finding new gluten-free recipes

  • Etc...

Once you have 1 or 2 different skills you want to master, now you are ready to get started! Setbacks will happen on the road, and in our next blog article, we will discuss how to adjust your goals or skills to meet ENSURE you achieve them.

Stay Tuned....

36 views0 comments





  • White Facebook Icon

Style de Vie



QC, Canada

Tel: (450) 987-3563

© 2017 by Ryan Hawkins. Proudly created with