Find Motivation for Health & Fitness Through Expectancy Theory

Happy Monday Squadies! Have you ever reached a point where you found it hard or next to impossible to get motivated?! When it comes to fitness and nutrition, it is super important to be motivated in order to get the MOST out of your efforts. Sometimes, without even realizing it, we are not working our hardest or doing everything we can to reach our goals. Today I will be explaining how the Expectancy theory can help you find motivation and reach your goals!   

First off, Why is motivation so important?

Motivation is what drives us. It is what pushes us to be our best, to do our best, and reach whatever goals you may have in life. We need the motivation to find AND reach our goals. If you are lacking motivation, even if you have a goal, it can be super hard to achieve it. Now the real question is, how do we find out what motivates us? How can we keep it going? Since everyone is different this answer will vary but through the expectancy theory, we can learn more about ourselves and what gets us motivated!   

What is the expectancy theory?

The expectancy theory is a theory that helps explain why someone chooses one behavior over others in order to reach whatever result they desire. This theory is typically used in workplaces to help employers keep their employees motivated. Although this is its most common use, you can also use this theory to help get you motivated in the fitness and nutrition realm!  

How does it work?

The expectancy theory can help us figure out WHY we behave the way we do. The average person makes behavioral decisions based on a couple of main factors:  
  1. How likely am I to engage in a specific course of action? How strong is the motivational force?
              1. Ex. How likely are you to workout to get in shape.
  2. Will an increase in effort result in an increase in performance?
              1. Ex. If I workout regularly will I see improvement in my body, mind and overall performance?
  3. What is the likeliness that the increase in performance will lead to the desired outcome (reward)?
              1. Ex. What is the likeliness that I will get in shape by working out regularly?
  4. How much do I want this reward or desired outcome?
              1. Ex. How much do I want to get in shape? Is the course of action (working out regularly) worth the desired outcome?
  Now here’s when it gets tricky, what if we answer no to these questions? How can we use this theory to get motivated?  

Choosing your goal and the WHY is the first step in making the expectancy theory work for you.


Choosing your GOAL:

Make sure your goal is not too big or too small. For example, if you’re goal is to run 20km but you can only run 3km at the moment, 20 km can seem way too far away and could discourage you from reaching that goal. Likewise, if you made a goal to run 4km, you are not giving yourself enough to achieve and will not get that ‘rewarding’ feeling you are looking for. Make sure your goal is realistic, but still hard enough that once you achieve it, you will feel rewarded.   

WHY do you want this?

The WHY is another very important thing here, is it probably the most important aspect to make the expectancy theory work for you! For example, if you want to lose weight due to a medical condition, where the weight loss can mean life or death, the motivational force here will be super strong and you will be more likely to reach your goal. If your why is simple, you think it’s time, or you feel forced by friends or family, you are less likely to reach you’re desired results.    To find your WHY, try thinking about all the important things in your life and all the things that you love doing. Will eating healthy and staying physically fit enhance these experiences for you? Will it allow you to be a better version of yourself? For me, the thing that motivates me to stay fit and healthy is my family. Being a father of 3, I want to be able to be there for them, bringing them my best self 24/7. I want to have the energy to play with them until they are burnt out, have the mental capacity and clarity to raise them in the healthiest way possible, and most importantly, I want to be there to watch them grow-up. Think long and hard about this, and find that reason that pushes you and gets you excited about reaching your goals.  

Reward system

Another main aspect of the expectancy theory is the reward or desired outcome. Sometimes, the act of rewarding yourself or recruiting someone else to reward you is a great way to stay motivated. Let’s say your desired outcome is to lose belly fat and gain core strength. Here you can set yourself up with some checkpoint goals that can help you get there and reward yourself after completing them. For example, complete a week of core-focused workouts and eat fewer carbs for a week straight. Once you reach this checkpoint, reward yourself, such as buying yourself something new, or have a whoopsie or two.    An even more effective way to receive rewards is through a second party; someone else is rewarding you for your efforts. A good way to do this is by being part of a fitness group or program that can help keep you accountable. For example, at LEANSQUAD you will get access to a leanmazing group of people who will share support and motivation whenever you desire. You also have access to the LEANTEAM or myself, Phil Makenzie! we can reward you with words of motivation and excitement; you may even get your story featured on LEANSQUAD’s Instagram page! We can also help you keep the leanness going, helping to amp things up and get you ready to set and reach your next big goal!  

To sum it up…

The expectancy theory can help you find a good source of motivation that will keep you going on your lean journey. It can help you figure out WHY you might not be pushing yourself, why you may be lacking motivation, and how to turn it around. It can help you figure out what your priorities are and how you can shift them to help you reach your goals. I hope this was able to motivate YOU to search for the goals and motivation to get you going with the LEANNESS and keep you motivated as long as possible!  

JOIN THE LEANSQUAD and find your source of motivation today!