"You get the best efforts from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within."
I used to give my students an example of an inner-directed person and an other-directed person. I asked them that if I handed out a test and left the room how many would cheat? How many would just take the test as they always do whether I was there or not? I told them that the other directed ones would cheat because they required something outside themselves (me, the teacher) to make them do the right thing. The inner directed ones lived based on their core set of values and that was their guiding principle to do the right thing. There can be unpleasant consequences for the other directed ones and that is what they think of when deciding whether or not to cheat. There was no guiding principle of right vs. wrong. The inner directed ones have already decided what is right and wrong themselves; they didn't need me to watch them.
When we cheat on our food plan or our exercise regimen is it because the inner core of a personal value is weak or missing? There really is no one in authority over us. Were we raised in an atmosphere of negative consequences from parents and authority figures? Was there lots of criticism and pointing out of failures and shortcomings? Do we now require supervision, even though we are adults, to do the next right thing? We binge when we are alone. We try to open cabinet doors in the kitchen so no one can hear. We try to unwrap things or open things quietly. We are being other directed.
What if there was a fire within? What if there was that conviction, that inner us that wants to live in a slim and healthy body? So what if it takes 6 months, 1 year, 5 years - so what? If we all start today being inner directed in 6 months what might you and I have accomplished? But let's just look at the rest of today. Our 6 months, 1 year, 5 years can start right now. Go get a tall glass of cool, sweet water and let's bless ourselves with staying in the now. This can be the start of a fire that will burn and spread and take us to where we want to be. This fire won't go out because life gets tough or temptation presents itself - we are inner directed now and can come back to that inner fire that will not be quenched.