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Secrets of Motivation

              Have you ever looked at someone, especially on social media, and wondered: ‘how are they always so motivated?’. The fact of the matter is that they are not always as motivated as they present themselves to be. They are just as human as any “normal person”. However, exploring what motivation is and how it grows is an important steppingstone in route to feeling your best and achieving everything you desire.

              First, let’s decipher what motivation is. Generally speaking, motivation is the need or desire that energizes behavior and directs it towards a goal. It helps people consciously decide to spend extra energy in route to a certain reward. Many times, motivation is separated into an intrinsic or extrinsic source. Intrinsic motivation is sourced from the desire to achieve an inner purpose (e.g., joy, interest, love, or feelings of content) and extrinsic motivation derives from performing a task for a contingent reward (e.g., losing weight, winning a trophy, impressing your spouse). According to Barbara Brehm, a professor of exercise and sport studies mentions that extrinsic and intrinsic motivation should be thought of as a spectrum. It is very rare for an individual to be exercising simply for joy. This intrinsic joy is very often accompanied by an extrinsic motivation of losing weight, lowering blood pressure, or even the desire to have the doctor stop their nagging. So, where does this motivation come from?

              Many neuroscientists and psychologists have attempted to figure out where motivation comes from and how it is made. In 1970, an American psychologist, Abraham Maslow created Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. This theory explains that some needs come before others. For example, the most essential needs are physiological ones such as satisfying oxygen demand, hunger, and thirst. This need is followed by safety, belonging and love, esteem, and self-actualization needs. Potentially, this means that if something was preventing us from eating during extreme hunger, we would be more motivated than if someone threatened to end a relationship. Furthermore, psychologists such as Freud, Skinner, and Rogers have all had their say on the topic of motivation.

              Fortunately, over time, these theories and models have been analyzed and different psychologists have created strategies and ideas to become and stay motivated. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one reputable organization that has created such strategies. Firstly, remember that your effort and motivation is more important than the abilities that you currently have. After all, how can you develop abilities if you don’t practice them? Here are some strategies that may help you…

  • Setting clear and concrete goals
  • Limiting the number of distractions in your daily life
  • Pacing yourself
  • Prioritizing your tasks
  • Finding your ideal location
  • Take care of yourself – get enough sleep, build healthy habits, eat and drink healthily
  • Do things you enjoy
  • Find your social group

At Urban Fitness Studio we do our best to help find your specific sources of motivation. All of our exercise specialists have a college degree and are certified to find what works best based on research-based sources. Come find your motivation with us!

Work Cited

Greene, Daniel. “How to Maximize Your Clients’ Motivation.” ACE, American Council on Exercise, Jan. 2017,

Mcleod, Saul. “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” Simply Psychology, 21 May 2018,

“Motivation.” Learning Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,