External Motivation – yay or nay?

I’m noticing a possibly disturbing trend in myself as of late and I’m wondering if y’all do it, too.  Sometimes my success in eating right and exercising is guided in part by external motivators, and I think I’m doing it more lately as I’m getting closer to my goal weight.  An upcoming event or a potential male suitor can help push me in getting my butt to the gym or in turning down a cookie.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m definitely not saying I’m only losing weight so I can bag me a man or look bangin’ at someone’s wedding reception, but is it bad to use these ideas as a metaphorical dangling carrot?

To completely change your life and your habits, the motivation absolutely has to come from within, no doubt.  However, on some days when you just feel like Jabba the Hutt and could stay in your PJs all day eating peanut butter out of the jar, it’s ok to think, “no, put down the spoon…think about that dress you have to fit into” or “would [insert male’s name here] be more attracted to you if you bragged about finishing the jar or finishing a 5k?”  I don’t think I’d go so far as to hang a bikini from a kitchen cabinet or print out a photo of a crush to take to the gym, stalker-style, (those seem a little disordered to me) but keeping these things in the back of your mind isn’t all that bad, is it?

What are your thoughts on this? Do you encourage yourself to have external motivators/reminders, or do you think it’s more harmful to move your focus outside of yourself, even a little bit?