As we know there are 2 types of motivation; internal and external. Motivation drives us to pursue a goal and this goal must mean something and allow us to commit.  It must have internal significance to give the determination and dedication to commit to the hard work it takes to achieve the goal. This is motivation. Research has suggested that internal motivation is powerful and that external or extrinsic motivation is powerful only for the short term but does have an important role to play over the long term.  Intrinsic motivation isn't constant.  It's a little bit like a rolling mountain range, there are peaks and valleys.

When you start working towards a goal motivation is high but there will be setback.  It might be raining and cold for an early morning training session or there may be a niggling injury or there may a particular opponent that you have to come up against.  When this happens you need a pick up.  

To start with you need to get back in touch with your goal, the reason why you are doing it.  A great example is the amazing feats peoples do to raise money for charity (I have a few friends that have done and continue to do great things for charities that are close to their heart and their internal motivation).  

During the valleys and the lows they are able to get back to this to get them out and continue the hard work. Another way to recommit to your goal when you are low in a valley is using extrinsic and tangible items as a reminder and a reference point of the goal you have set and the internal motivation you have for reaching the it.

It's a reminder of what you have already done and what you still have to do.  When you complete a marathon or you win a cup in football you have the internal feelings of pride, satisfaction and contentment that you have achieved a goal but you also get an extrinsic tangible reward in the form of a medal or trophy. This external token is a permanent reminder of the hard work and commitment you have had to make to achieve something.  These are your reference points.  You want to show it off. You want to put it somewhere and display it so when you are in a valley and are low or you want to commit to another goal and need some reference points to demonstrate you can do it you can use the medals, trophies and extrinsic rewards.  

A great way of doing this is displaying these somewhere that you see them regularly.  For runners and endurance athletes you can use products like the displays from
Runners Wall which produce excellent wall display for the medals you get.  Each one is then a reference point to the internal motivation and the goals you have set.