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Weight Loss Motivation

What is motivation? Hard to define maybe, and there seems to be a lot of different ways of defining it. Lets look at some of the theories.

Motivation has been described as a kind of mental force, strong enough to drive a person so that they achieve a goal. This could include things like writing an essay, going on a diet,or building a house. The person had a desire to do something, and the strength of their will was enough to accomplish the task.

Motivation is also a theory put forward as to why some people will do one thing, and others head off and do something completely different. So do these people have different goals? What makes one want to follow a certain path, while the other doesn’t want to or can’t be bothered? What determines the behaviour of these two opposites?

An inner resolve to attempt or complete a task is what pushes a person to achieve any given objective.

For this reason, when a person chooses to do anything in particular, there must be an inner desire for action to take place. This applies to everything we do, for without it, nothing would get done!

Looking at motivation in terms of psychology, motivation is what drives the behaviour in terms of the deciding to take action, as well as what direction, the intensity level, and how persistent the person is to get the task done.

The motivation level relates to how much interest there is in doing something, and then having started the task, the degree of willingness and ability to see it through to final completion.

Bear in mind however that motivation should not be confused with personality or emotions. Motivation should instead be seen as a dynamic and temporal state of mind.

Goals can be both long-term or short-term, and both are valid. A person can break a long-term goal down into smaller short-term goals in order to make the end result easier to reach for and attain. For example, if you looking for ways to help with your motivation to lose weight, the long-term goal of losing 30 pounds looks hard, but is a whole lot easier to achieve with a series of short-term goals (eg improve your nutrition by cutting out snacking between meals).

Motivation levels can change over time, so people may need to find some way to modify their level of motivation.

However, someone’s personality is basically a permanent part of the makeup of the person. These characteristics, good or bad, do not change, so unmotivated may very well remain unmotivated. If we look at emotions though, they are temporary states for a person, a reflexive action that manifests in order to cope with what is happening around them now, so can lead to feelings of sadness, happiness, frustration, confusion, anger or grief.

From this we can see that emotion does not automatically tie into behaviour, whereas motivation does.

Their are two categories of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation is what you have when the desire to do something comes from within a person. There is no obvious external incentive for wanting this to happen.

Engaging in hobbies for pure enjoyment only, such as playing the piano, making toy models, collecting vinyl records etc. are examples of intrinsic motivation. There has been a great deal of research undertaken on intrinsic motivation since the 1970s.

Extrinsic motivation is when there is some external factor present that serves as an incentive for a particular behaviour.

For example, you may be motivated to work harder, longer or smarter to gain a promotion or pay rise. This extrinsic motivation comes from an external factor that once acknowledged, provides motivation to achieve the goal.

You can also include intangible rewards in this group, such as when your good work is acknowledged by your boss or co-workers. Many people respond well to both tangible as well as intangible extrinsic motivation, especially if you get more money as well as a pat on the back!

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