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January 15th Tip of the Week: Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions

We are already halfway through the first month of the new year! How are you doing with the resolutions you made at the beginning of the year? Are you still on track? Are you still feeling the same motivation and sense of excitement? Hopefully you answered yes to the last couple of questions. If so, this means that you did a great job setting SMART goals. But, even with SMART goals, motivation can wax and wane. 

Motivation is what drives us to make changes. For some, inspiration comes from external factors.  A person who decides to start going to the gym after being told by their doctor that regular exercise is important is an example of external or extrinsic motivation. Other people are driven by intrinsic motivation – inspiration that comes from within. Intrinsic motivation is considered to be the “ultimate level of motivation”(Association for Applied Sport Psychology, 2021) because individuals whose motivation comes from within “genuinely enjoy the process of engaging in the [chosen] activity,” (Association for Applied Sport Psychology, 2021). In other words, we have a better chance of staying motivated if our resolutions are based on changes we want to make as opposed to changes others feel we should or need to make. 

Please take a few minutes today to think about what motivates you.  Are you driven by external or internal forces? Are you deriving personal satisfaction from the new things you’ve been doing since the start of the new year or are you driven by the praise you are secretly hoping you’ll receive from others?  Perhaps the goals you set were the result of suggestions from family or friends made now that you’ve started working on them, you feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that makes you want to persevere for your own benefit.  In other words, what inspired you to get started was extrinsic motivation but what now keeps you going is intrinsic motivation.  Gaining a better understanding of our motivators can help us navigate times when we don’t feel like pressing on. Of course, sticking to our new year’s resolutions isn’t only about the source of our motivation.  In the next “tips and tools”, we’ll be looking at how discipline can help us combat waning motivation.   

Association for Applied Sport Psychology. (2021). Certification. Retrieved from https://appliedsportpsych.org/certification

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