If COVID-19 has taught us nothing else, it has taught us the challenge and value of listening to ourselves. Perhaps nowhere else does that hold more true than when it comes to motivation. What got you to get off the couch or start on a project yesterday might not be the prompt that gets you going today.
Motivation is often considered synonymous with inspiration, but that’s just one catalyst that might start your engine. Experts have characterized four types of motivation:
- Extrinsic: Driven by an external reward or goal. You want to look great for your wedding.
- Intrinsic: Driven by your own sense of self-worth and self-expression. You know how great you feel after a workout.
- Introjected: Driven by the avoidance of guilt or shame. You feel guilty when you don’t manage to fit a sweat session in.
- Identified: Driven by your own sense of what needs to be done. You need to reduce your blood pressure and regular exercise helps with that.
We asked 24 Hour Fitness experts who have been teaching Virtual Group Training sessions and who lead club teams for their tips to stay motivated. All of them shared ideas that play off of multiple types of motivation. Not surprisingly, they said motivation techniques that are extrinsic still must have meaning for you—and techniques that play off of guilt or shame didn’t figure into their playbooks.
Read on and try something that resonates today, and come back when you need a fresh approach.
- Identified/extrinsic: Set a weekly plan and hold yourself accountable to share that success with someone, for encouragement.
- Intrinsic: Use your success and staying with your regimen to generate more motivation.
- Most of all, line yourself up for success based on your personality needs, whether it’s group sessions, working with a trainer or finding a quiet time to yourself.
Emily Potratz, Fitness Manager, 24 Hour Fitness Richmond Sport, Richmond, California
- Identified: Keep track of your progress and consistency.
- Intrinsic: Be gentle with yourself. Reward good behaviors with more good behavior. For example, I completed my goal of walking my dogs 2 miles each day this week, so I am going to treat myself with an extra healthy snack or a snazzy workout top. But if I didn’t complete my goal, it’s not the end of the world, just a chance to start fresh.
- Extrinsic: My number one tip for staying motivated and active during these times is to utilize a fitness tracker of some sort! I have an Apple Watch and it helps hold me accountable and on top of my daily move goal.
- Intrinsic: Getting and staying motivated varies person to person. My personal motivation is to maintain sanity mentally by exhausting myself physically. For some it’s food, for others it’s the results they see in the mirror, and for many it’s general health and well-being. There so many motivations; we just have to find yours.
Chrystal Thomas, Senior Regional Fitness Specialist, Southern California
- Identified: For me, it is really hard to get motivated after the day starts—other things get in the way, or it just gets really easy to sit down on the couch during my free moments and scroll through social media. So I try to start my day with exercise. I find that even if I only do part of my workout in the morning, I have more motivation to finish it later because I already started.
- Extrinsic: Virtual workouts are also amazing, because they give me the social interactions I really crave during exercise, and that helps to hold me accountable. I’ve made a habit of taking a few specific classes during the week that work well with my schedule and even in such a short time they have become a big part of my week.