What is intrinsic inspiration? How do we know when we have it? Imagine you set a goal; I’ll use a common example, you want tolose weight. You start out by planningyour meals, preparing them the night before work so you aren’t late and develop a game plan to go to the gym a few times a week. Things are set to go great, right? But, a few weeks later, you fall back into the same habits before and you do not achieve your goal. So what happened? Where did all that inspiration go that you had the first few weeks?
When you pursue a goal that inspiresyou, you become excited. It literally drives you to action. The problem with inspiration is you can lose it as fast as you received it if you do not value your goal. In the above example, you were about to make a huge change that could positively impact your life. Yet,after a few weeks life got in the way and your inspiration was lost to your old routine that you were comfortable with. This happens all the time, especially around January when everyone makes their New Year’s resolution. The reality is that people prioritize other parts of their lives because they value those other things more.
The first step in setting a goal is to recognize what you value.In doing so, staying inspired and committed to that goal will be easier. Let’s take the example above and dig a little deeper. Let’s say that your goal is to lose 20 pounds this year, but you have identified that you want to achieve it because it is important for you to play a bigger role in your child’s life. You want to be able to chase them, play with them, in general keep up with them. You know that if you don’t make a change you will not be able interact with your child and may miss out on parts of their life that you can’t get back. How much more likely do you think you are to achieve your goal now? The truth is, much more.
You will be shocked by how much you are capable of accomplishing when you set goals that you truly value. This is the distinguishing factor between being inspired and having intrinsic inspiration. One of my life experiences best exemplifies understanding when you have intrinsic inspiration.
As a teenager, I was diagnosed with an extremely rare bacterial infection that nearly took my life. As a result, I had my legs and part of my left bicep amputated. I was told by medical professionals and a leading prosthetic company that I would never walk again due to the severity and level of my amputation. But, I proved them wrong. Five years after being told that I would never walk again, I became the first and only person in history to run a marathon with no legs. There were many times when things got tough and I questioned my ability to achieve my goal of running the marathon. However, each time I hit a road block I remembered what running the marathon meant to me.It was about more than finishing the marathon, or being the only person to run a marathon with no legs, it meant that I had overcome my “disability.”You’ll know you are intrinsically inspired when you hit a road block, but can’t imagine giving up because of what it means to you.
So, the next time you set a goal think about what you value and why you want to accomplish. This intrinsic inspiration will serve as the long lasting motivation you need to reach your goals.