It's one thing to say you want to make with a vague idea of what you want. But by setting and aligning ourselves to clearly defined goals and mapping the necessary to meet those goals, we can achieve successful . The most successful people in the world set goals, take the steps necessary, succeed, then make a new goal.  They thrive on the process itself, they revel in the challenge and the conquest. We too can adopt this mentality with the changes we desire.

Defining our motivation is the first step to positive results. Motivation can be external or internal/ intrinsic.

  • External Motivation

External motivation is driven by external rewards such as money, fame, SAT scores, praise, acknowledgement.  The motivation comes from outside the individual.

  • Intrinsic Motivation

Internal or intrinsic motivation is when something is done simply because it is pleasurable or enjoyable.

Credit: Emma Matthews

Successful people can be motivated externally, but the most successful and happy people tend to be intrinsically motivated because they find fulfillment and purpose in the actions they take. When we begin to find the joy in the changes we are actively engaging in, the process itself can become enjoyable. By shifting our mindset on the process, we can further align with our goal, and the process becomes less of a challenge. We can internalize the process rather than seeing it as separate, as an obstacle or a chore, a means to an end.

When talking to people who live a lifestyle, they'll lament when they've missed a workout, when they cannot make it to the gym. They'll tell you their workout is their “me time” because they have aligned with their goal and it is now a source of pleasure for them. The same is true for those who eat clean, who've changed their dietary habits and it has changed how they feel in their bodies. They find joy in the they eat, in how their bodies now function.

This isn't to say that external motivation is bad. Far from it. A majority of change is instigated by external motivation. Wanting to so you can snag a partner is external motivation. Wanting to fit in that dress for a friend's wedding is external motivation. Wanting to get into a good school to make our parents proud or get a promotion to afford a new house are external motivations. The shift that creates long-term change comes when we've stuck with a new, healthier habit for a while and our reasons for keeping it up move to intrinsic motivation. Instead of wanting to lose weight to get a partner, the motivation can become focused on the changes we are feeling in our bodies, in how our clothes fit and how we feel about ourselves, our confidence and self-esteem raise. Studying hard and acing a test can become about the sense of accomplishment and pride in our efforts and gaining knowledge rather than about someone else's opinion.

By exploring our motivations and shifting perspective on our goals, we can take these changes to a deeper level and reinforce them for long-term .