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  • Ashlee Macchetta

MOTIVATION - Intrinsic Vs Extrinsic

What motivates you? And just as importantly, why does it motivate you?


I often hear from people 'I've lost my motivation' or 'How are you so motivated?'


If you’re someone who struggles with motivation, it can be important to think about what your goals are and why it's important that you achieve them.

Intrinsic motivation is defined as ‘stimulation that drives an individual to adopt or change a behaviour for his or her own internal satisfaction or fulfilment. Intrinsic motivation is usually self-applied, and springs from a direct relationship between the individual and the situation’ 

Extrinsic motivation is defined as ‘An external stimulation that drives you to change or continue your chosen behaviours. The motivating factors are external, or outside, rewards such as money or recognition. These rewards provide satisfaction and pleasure that the task itself may not.’ 





For example, if you are studying a course because you genuinely enjoy the topic you're learning – this is intrinsic. If you are studying it because it means you’ll be entitled to a pay rise – this is extrinsic.

This can be observed with individuals who are in a competitive workplace. Climbing the corporate ladder for respect from others, a pay rise, new position title and working extended hours comes easy for some because they are extrinsically motivated. You might find these same people struggle to lose weight, keep up with hobbies, or set personal goals for themselves because they have very little intrinsic motivation.

How can you develop more intrinsic motivation?


By combining the two.


For example, if you are extrinsically motivated and you need to lose fat, having a coach to keep you accountable to, will extrinsically motivate you towards your goals. Over time, you may find that the reward of reaching your body composition goals is enough to start to intrinsically motivate you. It’s a feedback loop. The positive results of working with a coach drive you to keep going due to feeling good about your results and as a consequence your Independence to motivate yourself grows.

What about discipline?



Discipline and motivation are in fact two different things. Regardless of what your goals are - motivation will only get you so far. It's normal to have days where you are not motivated. Discipline is getting what you need to get done, regardless of how motivated you do or don't feel. Discipline and consistency go hand in hand. And consistency in whatever it is you are perusing is what will bring you results in the long term.


In my opinion, being intrinsically motivated with a high level of discipline, is what will bring you the most joy, self worth and fulfilment in life. Going after what your passionate about and committing to the process of achieving your goals is something incredibly special.

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