Are you motivated, or inspired?

“I wish I had your motivation”

“How are you so motivated?”

“You’re such an inspiration”

I see these types of comments on pictures all the time and I started to really think about motivation and inspiration. A lot of people will say that someone else motivated or inspired them to go after a dream – but which word is a better representation for the situation? Are you looking for motivation, or are you already inspired?


Motivation can either be intrinsic or extrinsic. As the names imply, intrinsic motivation comes from within, a personal desire to achieve something, while extrinsic motivation comes from external sources such as rewards or recognition. Ideally, you’ll be intrinsically motivated to reach a goal. In this situation, even if you reach a goal, you’re likely to set a new one to continue improving – even if it’s focused on a totally different area of life – as intrinsic motivation is centered on self-improvement or growth.

So, what’s “wrong” with getting motivation from someone else? I think people are easily influenced into thinking they “should” do something because someone else is. Your friend Sally has decided to take cooking classes, and now you feel like it’s something you should probably do too, even though you truly have no interest in it. You can’t force motivation, you can’t wish for it, and you can’t fake it. You need to find something that you truly love and enjoy doing to be motivated towards. Just because your friend is motivated or inspired by one thing, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you to focus on.

My friends are motivated in so many areas of life which I could never be – but I appreciate their drive and think it’s great that they’ve found what they love to do. From logging hours running to train for marathons to logging hours learning another language, everyone is different! It doesn’t mean you have to try to fit that same mold – appreciate these differences, don’t try to emulate them.

Find your own passion, find something that excites you when you get up in the morning and you look forward to doing.  Setbacks won’t seem problematic, but rather viewed as challenges. You won’t have to stress about putting the work in every day, it will be your priority. At this point something amazing happens. Motivation isn’t a factor… you’re inspired.


I’m not motivated to train, I’m inspired to train – it’s a desire that comes from within me and doesn’t require any encouragement or coaxing. If you’re looking for a motive to do something (such as exercising as a means to lose weight) – that’s your motivation. But, if you’re inspired to do something, you don’t need a motive.  It’s become part of your life and fulfills you in some way.

Consider these examples to put it all into perspective:

I write for a pay check, to promote myself, to brag about it. I check the boxes of “having a blog” and meeting my post quotas per week.

I write as an outlet because it makes me feel good. Writing is the way I love expressing myself and it’s a therapy for my thoughts. It’s a relaxation tool and a stress relief. Personal writing gives me the escape I was looking for after writing for other people’s criteria and standards.

In the first case, I’m motivated by a variety of aspect to write, while in the second I’m inspired to write because it’s a part of me.

Don’t get me wrong, motivation isn’t a bad thing at all. Being motivated by something, or finding motivation from someone, can be a great kick start towards inspiration. If a friend motivates you into trying something new which becomes a part of your life you can’t imagine living without, it was a priceless motivator.


So, are you still looking for motivation, or have you found your inspiration?

“Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion, and inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.” Dr Wayne Dyer

About Ashleigh

I'm passionate about health and fitness. I work as a Health Promotion Specialist, a group fitness instructor, and also a coach for physique competitors / weight loss clients. I grew up as a competitive athlete, and have continued with this passion as a Women's Physique competitor. Research and writing is another interest of mine, which I use to share my knowledge with the general public.
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