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Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

I’ve always been one to talk about motivation. I love motivational videos, quotes, pictures, or anything else that’ll get me out the door a little faster. It keeps me on task and it keeps my goals in sight. However, yesterday I started thinking about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation…

Intrinsic motivation can be defined as a psychological feature that arouses an organism to act towards a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal directed behaviors. It can be considered a driving force; a psychological drive that compels or reinforces an action toward a desired goal. (SourceOn the other hand, extrinsic motivation can be defined as motivation that comes from outside an individual. The motivating factors are external, or outside, rewards such as money or grades. These rewards provide satisfaction and pleasure that the task itself may not provide. (Source)

When I think about my running, I think for so long I have been extrinsically motivated. I wanted to run faster than this person, beat this time, or place in this group. Competition is great, don’t get be wrong. However, I’m starting to feel a shift in where I’m drawing my motivation from.

Before I started running, I never knew I would be a good runner. I just wanted to do my best. But somewhere between then and now, I think I got lazy.  Or at least I quit being smart about trying to find my best. I’m over being extrinsically motivated by certain factors – times, races, people, etc. Yes, I’ll still have my goals but at the end of my running days, I want to know I did all I could to be the best runner I could. That is my driving force.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Starting to get my groove back. A nice run today (stats here) minus the worms hanging from the trees that attacked me. 

One Comment Post a comment
  1. I’m taking an online class from Duke University: Behavioral Economics – Irrational Behavior with Professor Dan Ariely. This week’s lecture included a chapter on just this topic. You can review the course on Happy running. 😉

    April 18, 2013

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