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Finding Your Inner Drive: Embracing intrinsic motivation for sustainable goal achievement

When it comes to crushing our goals, motivation is the name of the game. It's like the turbo boost that propels us forward on our journey towards success.


So, let's dive into the two main types of motivation:

intrinsic and extrinsic.


These bad boys form the foundation for how we go after our goals. While any motivation is a good thing, intrinsic motivators tend to sustain our momentum over the long haul.


So how do we identify intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation?


Blog banner for "finding your inner drive" with a man enjoying his work in the background

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

How to spot the difference


The easiest way to tell the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation:

Intrinsic = Internal

Extrinsic = External


Now it can get a little more complicated when looking at real-life motivators. Deciding what comes from you and what comes from outside forces (friends, family, culture, etc.) is undoubtedly more difficult.


Man feeling pressure from his boss

When trying to identify if a motivator is internal or externally driven there are a few questions you can ask yourself.


  1. What is the source of your motivation? Is it driven by your interests, values, or enjoyment of the activity? Then it's probably intrinsic. Is it coming from the prospect of rewards, recognition, fear, or pressure? It might be extrinsic.

  2. Where does the consequence or reward come from? Intrinsic motivation is characterized by internal rewards such as a sense of achievement, pride, or personal growth. If it is driven by rewards such as money praise or promotions, it lines up with extrinsic motivation.

  3. Does it fill you up? Intrinsic motivators should give you a sense of personal growth and development. You should find meaning and fulfillment in the activity. If not, it's not likely an intrinsic motivator.


Why does the type of motivation impact the success of a goal?


So why does intrinsic motivation make such a big difference in the success of a goal? Plan and simply, intrinsic motivators last, even when the going gets tough.


When we harness intrinsic motivation, we are ensuring that the goal we are pursuing aligns with our values and interests. We are far less likely to give up.


Woman doing yoga on a winter day

Now let's say I have a goal to exercise more often this year.


One possible motivation for this is to lose weight to change my appearance.


Another possible motivator is to use exercise as a way to manage my ADHD (which we talk about here.)


Which motivator is most likely to get me out of bed and moving at 6 in the morning on a cold winter day?


As much as I would love to have my pre-baby body back, it's not enough of a motivator for me to commit to serious change. It doesn't align with my values enough to make a difference.


Managing my ADHD on the other hand? Aligns with my values.


Read more about goal setting here


How to Uncover Intrinsic Motivators

Understanding what moves you requires a certain level of self-awareness. Identifying your passions, values, strengths, and curiosities is necessary to understand what motivates you.


Activities like meditation and journaling can help you figure out those inner pieces of yourself and I couldn't recommend it more.


What are some of your intrinsic motivators? Let us know in the comments below!


Need help identifying your internal motivation?

Grab a free session with a certified ADHD coach today!







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