Motivation is one thing people ask me about often - what motivates you? how do you get motivated? how do you stay motivated? how do you get motivation back? I'm no motivational expert, but I do have opinions and can write from experience, so I will. I first want to point out that there’s nothing special about me. I don't possess some magical motivational gene or potion. Everything I've done and continue to do is a result of things we all go through or can do. It's a combination of learning, self reflection, awareness, analysis, trial and error, setbacks, challenges, triumphs and basic life experience.
In regards to motivation, of course there's no one-size-fits-all answer. It varies from person to person and throughout your journey and your life, for that matter. One thing I've heard and agree with is that whatever motivates us at the beginning is often not the same thing that motivates us to keep going. There are few things that will motivate you forever, so it’s important to accept that your level of motivation and what motivates you won’t remain constant - it’s in a state of flux. But you do have the ability to harness it.
I think about motivation in two ways: external and internal.
External motivators come from outside oneself. Things like: summer, an upcoming event, a comment someone makes, a suggestion from a doctor, family member or friend, seeing another person’s success, photos/images of your former self or other people. I see external motivators as people and things that influence change.
Internal motivators are within you. Things like: wanting to be healthier (whatever “healthier” means to you), proving to yourself that you can stick with something, desire to meet your goals, determination to take control of your life, building your self confidence. I see internal motivators as feelings and thoughts.
I think most of us use a combination of external and internal motivators. But long term, I believe the amount of internal motivators needs to be greater than the external, because it's the internal ones that have staying power. For instance, it may not always be bathing suit season; but you will always want to be able to climb the stairs without being winded.
If you're not sure what motivates you, use this method to find your own personal motivators. Start off by asking yourself what you want. What are your ultimate goals? Write out all of them, big or small. Anything you can think of. Then next to each of those goals, ask yourself WHY you want each of those things. There may be multiple answers. List them all because all of those answers are your motivators!
Then take a look at your list to evaluate if those motivators are external or internal. If there are more external ones, spend additional time reflecting to come up with additional internal reasons. Think about why you want to change for YOU.
Then keep that list. Read it every single day when you first wake up to remind you why you’re making the effort to change. Read it when you find yourself making a series of unhealthy choices. Read it and update it often.
As for what motivates me? I’ve always said my greatest motivation is the simple fact that I know I won't live forever. I have other motivators but that will probably always be my strongest one. I spent enough of my life being unhealthy and unhappy and I don’t want to spend another day like that. I finally got to a point where I appreciate my existence and my body, so I want to treat it well. I’m motivated simply by the desire to be happy and healthy, to look good and feel great. I don't think I'll ever find a better motivator than that!
for Weight Watchers official take on Winning Outcomes and Motivating Strategies)