What Motivates You?

 Health coaching is all about growing and discovering how to implement ways to become one’s best self. One of the most important aspects of coaching is the motivation for change, but what exactly is motivation and how does it tie into our Christian walk? 

Motivation is  “… a condition inside us that desires a change, either in the self or the environment” (1). All motivation falls into two categories: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation involves doing things because they lead to an outcome, such as performing a task because a reward is attached. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, involves doing things for their inherent satisfaction. For example, learning to play an instrument because it brings you joy (2).  Knowing these categories and the science behind motivation can help us guide clients to discover the motives behind the changes they seek. Although both categories are important, let’s focus on intrinsic motivation and the ultimate motivator in a Christian’s life. 

God is love (3), and God desires that we love one another (4). This is the ultimate motivator. Also, love is liberating (5), it fulfills the law (6), and it encourages us to serve one another (7). Love should be our foundational intrinsic motivator because we want to love without receiving anything in return. We should love and give of ourselves because it is a joy to do so. Whether we are coaching clients, interacting with family members, conversing with total strangers, or praying for our enemies, we are called to love and to be loving to all we come in contact with. 

As health coaches and health partners, we are not to force or coerce any individuals into making life changes they are not ready for. With love, we should show kindness, patience, and long-suffering to those we minister to and walk alongside our clients as allies. 

“A thoroughgoing Christian draws his motives of action from his deep heart-love for his Master. Up through the roots of his affection for Christ springs an unselfish interest in his brethren (8).”  

As we support others in making sustainable life and health changes, let us help them identify their motivating factors as we also identify what motivates us to help others. I pray that love is the answer. 

By Kimberly Peters,

National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach, National DPP Lifestyle Coach at Perfect Soundness Coaching

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Cite this article

K Peters, What Motivates You?, (2024).  Adventist Association of Health and Wellness Coaching, AdventistCoaching.org.


(1) Souders, B. (2019, November 5). What is Motivation? A Psychologist Explains. PositivePsychology.com. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from https://positivepsychology.com/what-is-motivation/ 

(2) Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 54–67. https://doi.org/10.1006/ceps.1999.1020 

(3) 1 John 4:8 

(4) 1 John 4:11 

(5) 1 John 4:18 

(6) Romans 13:8 

(7) Galatians 5:13 

(8) White, E. G. (1952, May 8). The Adventist Home. In The Adventist Home (pp. 425–425). Review and Herald Publishing Association. https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/128.1955#1957