Five Short Examples for Both Intrinsic & Extrinsic Motivation

Five Short Examples for Both Intrinsic & Extrinsic Motivation

Some of us find pleasure in critical acclaim while others find pleasure in the personal accomplishment of completing a new task. Understanding what motivates you can enhance your ability to succeed in fitness and in life. Gain insight into your motivation toward living a healthier lifestyle and take a proactive stance toward achieving your goals.

The Motivation Scale

The Sport Motivation Scale, published in 1995, measures motivation using three constructs: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and amotivation. Intrinsic motivators are based on intellectual curiosity, personal accomplishment and the joy of the experience. Extrinsic motivators are based on peer pressure, guilt/anxiety and strategic investment. When you are amotivated, your interest in achieving a goal has subsided.

Rewards and Achievement

As an extrinsically motivated gym member, the purpose of your workout is to obtain a beach body. The primary goal of your fitness program is to lose weight and reduce inches. You find little to no pleasure in working out. A 1999 study published in the Journal of Leisure Sciences revealed that intrinsic motivation could be enhanced when there is freedom of choice. Make your fitness routine a pleasurable experience by choosing a form of exercise you enjoy.

Eating Habits

As an extrinsically motivated eater, you find it easier to eat healthier when surrounded by health conscious individuals. You’ve started to eat healthy based on the stern recommendation of your personal trainer or physician. You crave chocolate and candy but the guilt keeps you away. Since 1975, leisure researchers have agreed that perceived autonomy, the ability to control your actions, plays a major role in motivation. Take a proactive role in selecting the type of healthy foods you enjoy, as opposed to following a generic diet.


As an extrinsically motivated fitness enthusiast, your commitment is based on results. You may find yourself jumping from one exercise fad to another. You have the same New Year’s resolution to get in shape year after year, but your trips to the gym are significantly reduced as the year progresses. Leisure researchers agree that intrinsic motivation is derived from gaining satisfaction in perfecting your skills or abilities. Commit to building a healthier body by increasing your muscular strength and endurance.

Social Support

One of the biggest pitfalls can be the company you keep. The extrinsically motivated fitness enthusiast may run into trouble when surrounded by friends that fail to make fitness a priority. If you find it difficult to stick to a healthy diet while hanging out with friends, it may be necessary to reconnect with why you’ve chosen to make fitness a priority. Make a list of the top 10 reasons why moving toward a healthy lifestyle is necessary, and share this list with your friends so they can understand and perhaps be inspired to do the same.


In 2002, the Journal of Leisure Research and the Journal of Sport Behavior revealed that intrinsic motivation leads to consistency in fitness endeavors, this consistency leads to the achievement of fitness goals. Identify ways to enjoy your workout, such as favorite exercises or the recognition of fitness milestones, such as changes in strength and endurance, along the way. Discover the benefits of obtaining a healthier lifestyle that go beyond the aesthetic gains such as increased energy, better mood and lower risk of hypertension/diabetes to sustain your interest in reaching your fitness goals.