This might seem silly, but setting goals for the right reasons could make or break your success. Are you setting goals to make and ex jealous? Setting goals to prove people wrong? Are you setting goals to impress a potential partner? Or are you changing things because you want to be healthier? Do you want to improve your heart health? Has your doc said that if you don’t change things you’ll be dead before long?

These are all questions that my prospective clients get asked? Setting goals for the sake of impressing other might well get you a great short term result. But what happens after you’ve trimmed down for a wedding that your ex is also attending? What happens when the people you want to prove wrong accept that you’ve done well? Where is your motivation coming from next?


A quick google search of “motivation definition” yields the following “a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way”. For me the way I define motivation is “A feeling or urge that will drive action to leave a current situation that’s causing pain. And head towards a new situation of pleasure.” The pain I talk about could be mental or physical.

If any of you did basic psychology or PE (physical education) at school you’ll know that there are 2 main sources of motivation. Intrinsic and extrinsic for those who don’t know, intrinsic motivation is defined as “the doing of an activity for its inherent satisfaction rather than for some separable consequence.” Roughly translated means, you’re doing something for yourself. You’re not doing it to please or impress others. This will be things like doing a course in something you’re interested in, just watch a movie or take up a new hobby.

The degree and activity that you undertake is very much age dependent. But ultimately with this type of motivation, you’re not doing anything for any other benefit of any other person. It’s all about you.

Extrinsic motivation can be defined as “Behaviour that is driven by external rewards such as money, fame, grades, and praise”. Extrinsic motivation can be a huge driver for the people that I work with. They think that they’re being driven by internal urges to improve their body or career. But more often than not after I’ve done a little digging and asking the right questions. It boils down to wanting praise and recognition from external sources.

It’s difficult to say which form of motivation is the strongest. It all comes down to the individual at the end of the day. I’ve come across cases where both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation has driven major changes in people.

Change And Motivation

For me they’re both very tightly linked. If you’re seeking any kind of change whether physical or emotional. You need to find motivation to execute that change, it won’t happen without effort and effort results in actions. A great formula that I came across is this T-> F-> A=R. This translates to thoughts lead feeling, feelings lead to actions and actions lead to results.

This fits in really nicely with how change and motivation work together. For me and my non-psychology qualified mind. Its thoughts and emotions that create the desire to change, once you have a desire to change. Then you will start to take the action that’s needed to start making that change happen. Taking the action is the motivation, whether it’s going to gym, undertaking learning, joining a sports team where you don’t know anyone. Getting outside your comfort zone is a huge sign that you’re motivated to make change. And that’s a beautiful thing.

I read in a book once that in reality not many of us in the developed world are living with a gun pointed at our head. Nobody is forcing us to stay in the job we’re in. Not a single person is forcing you to be in the house you’re living in. No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to be living a life that you might not be enjoying to its fullest.

Sometimes the changes might be forced upon you. I’ve had several clients over the years that have told me the only reason they’re in the gym. Is because their GP told them to lose weight or lower blood pressure. In these situations it’s down to me as a coach to help find reasons for motivation, do my best to make it intrinsic. It doesn’t always work, but I’ve got pretty good at it over the last 15 years.

Clean Vs Dirty Motivation

I love talking about this. This to me is the epitome of getting into somebody’s motivation. I’ve never seen this in any text book this is purely my own theory and practice into play here. Let me start with my definitions in the context of body shape change.

Clean motivation. The desire of your whole self to improve your health, body image and confidence. Everything about your whole being is telling you to lose weight, improve your fitness and start looking after yourself. You’ve been noticing how hard getting up some stairs have become. You’ve noticed that clothes are a little tighter and you’re not as energetic as you want to make the change. This to me is clean motivation, you know deep down that you need to make the changes to make yourself feel better. You’re not doing it for external plaudits, it’s all for you. In my experience there is usually a single event that triggers this thought process. It usually involves something that used to be easy, getting up a flight of stairs, the cliché running for a bus or chasing the kids around the garden.

I love working with clean motivation because it comes from a place of love. Love for yourself and need to be kind to your body and improve it.

Dirty motivation I define as the following. Wanting to change your body shape for the acceptance, approval or the making jealous of other people. This to me is coming from a place of need as opposed to a place of love. Which to me makes it less pure of a source of motivation. How many times in movies have you seen the revenge story where the sole purpose of one character is to kill another? What happens after they succeed? Most of the time they’re still a broken person, buy now that have no one to blame for their pain. They got their revenge, but the pain still holds strong. I’ve seen this happen a lot when it comes to body shape change.

A Case Of The Ex

Men that have split up with a partner, they’re both attending a function in a few months. They wants to look shredded to make his ex jealous of what they’ve lost. But what happens once that function is over and done with? They’re not making a point to see their ex and show off their new leaner or more muscular physique. So what happens? They pile the weight back on because the motivation didn’t come from their subconscious for long lasting change.

This is why I like to plan for 6-12 months after the function that my clients are attending. Don’t get me wrong vanity can be a very powerful motivator and driver of action. But it’s the purity of the desire that will create a long lasting change. I do my best to set all my clients up for life long health, the good thing is that weight loss and fat happen naturally once a body is healthy.

The mind is a powerful tool, getting motivation not only to impress your ex at a function in a few months. But actually 12 months after the event will cement home a better message that you’ve really improved your life. Not just got lean or muscle for an evening where you might get a few compliments.

Summit It Up

Motivation can be a very complex thing which is why there are volumes written about it. For me it’s as simple as are you motivated to make changes for yourself. Or are you doing it for the approval and acceptance and a few compliments of others?

You know the answer to this question deep down if you really are honest with yourself. If you’re finding the right reasons for wanting change coming from a place of love and self-improvement. Success will follow with the right coaching. If you’re doing it all for a few compliments from other people and to make ex jealous. Then I’d have to question your motivation a little, self-esteem is a great reason to change your body shape. But is it self-esteem for your own confidence or to get validation from strangers? Just like half the Instagram girls putting their naked images all over the net….

If you want to run through a consultation about motivation, confidence and change. Get in touch and I’ll help you through whatever changed you want or need to make.

Big love