Finding Motivation

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By Laura (Lolly) Jones- Miller

I started thinking about the topic of finding motivation some time ago.  The problem in giving motivational advice is that everybody is motivated in different ways. Some people find the idea of physical exertion amazingly invigorating and  enjoyable. While others are uncomfortable with physical exertion. Most people agree that they feel great…more relaxed, after having finished a physical activity.  This does not apply to everyone though.  Some people dislike utilizing their excess reservoir of energy and are uncomfortable with sore muscles.   I personally love physical activity of any kind. I have been shimmying poles and hanging from trees for as long as I remember…I love a good endorphin rush!  My husband Richard, who is incredibly fit, admits that he just goes to the gym without thinking about it… because if he thinks about it for too long he will talk himself out of going.  I have a good friend who comes from a family of seven children.  Every one of her siblings is a serious athlete.  My friend hates any type of exercise. When she was a kid, everyone knew they could find here lying under any fruit bearing plant or tree  with a salt shaker.   She wanted to like exercising, she really needed the exercise, but she just could not find a continuous motivation.  She ask me for help with this after her doctor told her she had developed Type 2 Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. I suggested she try yoga.  She attended the classes religiously… as long as I was with her.  On her own she developed the habit of finding catastrophic events that required her immediate attention.  She eventually admitted that while she preferred yoga… to say…jumping rope or running through fire …she did not love it enough to attend without being nagged.  I admit that I could see how hard the postures were for her with her excess 50 pounds…how holding chair pose made her roll her eyes piteously at me.  But, I couldn’t understand how she would prefer serious, life threatening disease,  and the possibility of an early death,  over yoga.  I can tell you that I have no doubt that she really hated it that much…So, back to the first paragraph. How to teach someone to find motivation.

How to push yourself to get out of bed and run to class or to the gym or hike a hill?



sparky BEFORE


The anti aging benefits of working out  can motivate you. Just look at the BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS OF 13 year old SPARKY 🙂

He motivated, got out of bed, worked out and… TADAAAAAA:


before and after photos

before and after photos

The Self-Help Literature

Really? Do you actually believe that if you spent twenty dollars on a book teaching motivational techniques that you will suddenly feel M-O-T-I-V-A-T-E-D!  Shoot, I bet you couldn’t even  work up the steam to read the last 13 out of 14 chapters!  So, I x-nay on the motivation books and tapes. The only person being motivated in this case is the author…motivated to write more self help books while waiting at the deposit line in the bank (man…that sentence probably just gave away my age…right?  Do people still walk into to banks)?!

Psycho Torture Method…Shame

Psycho Torture…Shame AKA The Sticking Of  Thin, Fit Pictures, and Motivational Quotes on the Refrigerator Door and the Bathroom Mirror…  This “motivational suggestion would make me feel like having doughnuts for breakfast…the whole box…I think it’s a passive aggressive thing.  Okay, so no on the Psycho Torture Method.



Does this one even need an explanation?
As a matter of fact…I imagine you are asking yourself… right this minute…why the heck you are even reading this blog entry!


Motivation Blockers

So, with all of this spectacular information in hand …let’s look at some serious Motivation Blockers.  It really makes more sense to avoid pitfalls than to assume someone is going to be able to fix or repair you. That’s like saying there is something broken, or wrong with you. Not so…everyone is made up differently.  The way you are made makes you successful in your own, unique way…and in your own unique areas.  So, starting on this positive note, let’s see if we can look at motivation from a different perspective.

Extrinsic Vs Intrinsic Motivation




Does your  motivation come  from outside (extrinsic/reward or avoidance of punishment…like winning a prize…pleasing a parent or partner, avoiding displeasing a parent or partner…humiliation)… or inside (intrinsic/personal reward or gain…like better health…looking and feeling better…to learn and accomplish a new task,  become better at something…a desire to participate in an activity for its own sake.).
These two types of motivation can differ in how effective they are at creating motivation in a person.  Often, earning a reward can eventually lead to a reduction in ones desire to accomplish. Without personal growth and fulfillment, one simply loses interest after a while.  It can also make the fun parts of phyiscal activity feel more like work than play.  However, to get the ball rolling, extrinsic, or reward, can be very effective. Remember my friend with the salt shaker?   We decided to start her off using the extrinsic reward method.  For each week she attended all 5 yoga sessions, she got to choose an (uneatible) prize of choice… each week the prize being more elaborate.  She made a list of each weeks prize ahead of time (the carrot!).  Week one was a pair of shoes, week two a field trip to the Museum of Contemporary Arts with me as the driver and companion, and so on.  Some people disagree with extrinsic motivation. However, using it as a short term reward generally does not decrease the shift into intrinsic motivation.  She made the whole 4 weeks and lost 7 pounds.  And she was feeling really great!  Which is where the Intrinsic Motivation kicks in.

Intrinsic Motivation

This is where ones internal motivators kick in!  The body is looking better and feeling healthier. The yoga or fitness routine is getting much easier….you may have accomplished a few of those exciting balancing postures even!  The muscles are beginning to harden and look more defined. Others are noticing, but more importantly…you are noticing. When you practice a challenging skill and begin to get good at it…what happens?  You want to continue to grow and improve. And being able to switch from baggy sweats and t-shirts to leggings and a sport tops is not to be overlooked as wonderful feeling either!  Intrinsic  Motivation is all about you being there for yourself…finding that you can be motivated …and most importantly…you are finding that you are able to be responsible for your own health!  You are no longer the horse. Now you, as an example to others, are the Carrot!

So, love, support (contact Ali or I if you need help, questions answered, or just a pep talk…We are here, and we really do care about you…about all of us as an amazingly supportive yoga community).  Love, light, carrots… and a beautiful, healthy body!  xox, L


If nothing else works the post workout selfie might do the trick 🙂

the motivational selfie LOL

the motivational selfie LOL 😀



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  1. Pepper's Gravatar

    Great post! I so enjoyed it & it helped me to reflect on my motivation. I’m quite new to this site but not to Ali Yoga. Namaste

  2. allycat's Gravatar

    Fantastic post!
    I think we can all struggle with motivation at times but since i started following Ali’s interval yogi i don’t find it as hard to get motivated…….I’m sure it’s got nothing to do with your awesome posts, charisma and beauty Ali or yours Laura 🙂
    Laura…you make be chuckle, your posts always bring a smile to my face as you sneak a little comedy in there!
    Love light and carrots ( with a spicy tofu dip)! hehe



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