Ever wonder what it truly means to have motivation? Or why you feel so motivated at times, and so unmotivated at other times? This is the ultimate guide to motivation that you may be looking for to answer all your questions. Through this guide, you will learn everything you want to know about motivation, including its psychology.
Many of us rely on motivation to get the most out of our lives. Without motivation, we often struggle to achieve our objectives whether they are related to our work, weight, education, or basic day-to-day tasks. The problem is that most of us don’t understand how motivation works for us, which may be why we struggle with it.
This leads to the ultimate question: what is the best way for us to arm ourselves against this struggle? For this, our ultimate guide to motivation will help you learn the interpretation of motivation in society, and most importantly, what motivation means to you.
Understanding Motivation and How it Works
Motivation is defined as the force that drives us to act towards anything. It is the process through which activities with certain goals are initiated, guided, and maintained. This affects both major and minor parts of our lives.
Whether it is to lose or gain weight or simply to get started on preparing for your next big test, we act on these goals based on how ‘motivated’ we are. Needless to say, motivation is a driving force behind much of human behavior.
With motivation, we work more efficiently towards our goals. It gives us emotional strength to help us feel more control over our lives, as well as adapt healthy habits and behavior to improve our lives. Motivation is a huge factor that lets us connect the line between our goals and action.
Main Factors That Drive Motivation
Now you may wonder why we tend to feel less or more motivated based on certain tasks or goals. In actuality, it depends on a few vital factors that drive motivation in us, described as follows:
This factor defines the autonomy you have while carrying out your task. If you have more control over what you are learning or working on, you may tend to feel more motivated.
One proof of how autonomy drives motivation can be seen in many successful individuals who may not have thrived in a conventional educational system that is already defined for them.
Instead, they worked on their own projects with more autonomy and control over their work. Steve Jobs, among many others, is an excellent example of this.
We can also see children with more control over what they want to learn to be more motivated than children who are not given as much freedom in approaching their goals.
This refers to your connection with your learning or working environment. It means you feel a sense of belonging with the resources and environment that exists around you as you work on your tasks.
Naturally, the more you feel emotionally connected with your environment, the more motivated you feel.
Suppose that you are working in an environment with people who not only treat you like a valuable person with undeniable skills, but you also feel a sense of belonging with them. You will naturally feel more comfortable and motivated.
In contrast to that, if you do not feel a connection to your environment, you may feel like that is not the right place for you. It may make you feel less motivated.
It is no doubt that self-confidence plays a huge role in how you carry out your tasks. If you feel competent enough in your skills and ability, you will also feel more motivated and enthusiastic towards your task or goal.
How competent you feel while striving for your goals affects factors such as self-doubt, the emotional factors that play a major role in driving motivation. In fact, many pieces of research throughout history show proof of this positive relationship between self-confidence and motivation.
One such piece is a study in 2015 with statistics targeting 111 field athletes in hockey. It suggests that when athletes have high self-confidence and efficient self-perception, as well as faith in their talents, their motivation to practice their sports increases.
This plays a huge role in driving motivation, as a special purpose behind your tasks can help you feel more emotionally moved, eventually leading to feeling more motivated.
If there’s a meaning behind the simple tasks that resonate with your ultimate goals and with the meaning of life for you in the longer run, motivation will be your best companion.
A purpose behind your goals increases the readiness for change within you. We can find this evident through the difference in our motivation towards tasks that we find meaningful or not.
For example, you may feel more motivated and thrilled to excel in sports activities that may mean more to you than in subjects that may not contribute towards your purpose in the longer run.
Motivation in Psychology
Like any other force that affects human behavior, the concept of ‘motivation’ is also a thoroughly researched topic among psychologists throughout history.
Psychologists have presented several ideas to explain what motivates human conduct, and these ideas include numerous motivation and motivational variables.
Understanding the benefits of these many motivation theories allows you to adopt the finest methods to keep yourself motivated. The following are some of the key motivation theories.
Hierarchy of Needs (Abraham Maslow)
Abraham Maslow is well known for developing the Hierarchy of Needs Theory in 1943. This hypothesis is a traditional representation of human motivation.
This motivation theory is founded on the premise that each human has a hierarchy of five requirements, and although the urgency of these requirements may vary, these needs are classified into two categories: higher-order and lower-order.
Lower-order demands included physiological and safety requirements. These lower-order requirements are usually met outside.
Higher-order needs included social, esteem, and self-actualization requirements. These higher-order demands are often met internally, that is, inside an individual, however, they may be influenced by outside factors.
Theory of Needs (David McClelland)
The Theory of Needs was developed by David McClelland in 1951. This hypothesis is based on a person’s incentive to achieve as well as his or her motivation to avoid failure.
McClelland believed that humans have three basic motivation needs: need for power, achievement, and affiliation.
- Need for achievement refers to the urge for success.
- Need for power is the drive to be more influential than others.
- Need for affiliation refers to the desire for a cooperative and mutually beneficial connection.
Goal-Setting Motivation Theory (Edwin Locke)
Edwin Locke proposed the goal-setting theory of motivation in the 1960s. This theory states that goal setting is linked to motivation, and that creating defined and attainable objectives is more successful than setting vague ones.
Many people in the professional world use this theory for maximum performance in their workplace. This theory has the following principles for such cases:
- Goals must be both reasonable and difficult. When an individual achieves them, he feels a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, and it sets him up for the next objective.
- Goals should be divided into smaller ones. There should also be a track of the progress of these smaller goals achieved.
- The goals must be specified and clarified.
- There should be proper feedback as the goals are achieved.
To benefit from this theory, you can use the SMART Model for your goals.
Types of Motivation
Yes, even motivation is classified into types. It is primarily classified into two types: extrinsic and intrinsic.
1. Extrinsic Motivation
Extrinsic drive originates outside of the individual and frequently includes external incentives such as prizes, money, social recognition, or praise. In other words, it refers to performing something for the sake of receiving external rewards, instead of a sense of self-satisfaction.
In your career, this can involve financial gain, rewards, bonuses, and even avoiding being fired. Other examples include losing weight, playing a sport only for a win, learning a language to impress others, and many more.
So conclusively, with extrinsic motivation, you are looking for a tangible reward. We expect money, fame, or praise for tasks that may not satisfy us internally.
Extrinsic motivation may not be a negative thing, but it provides less satisfaction and fulfillment than intrinsic motivation.
2. Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic Motivation refers to an individual’s capacity to motivate oneself based on their inner wants and higher selves. Some psychologists have linked intrinsic behavior to basic human needs, creativity, performance enhancement, and happiness.
When we perform an activity that satisfies our basic desires, such as hunger, thirst, and sleep, we are more equipped to execute a task. In other instances, such as hobbies, we may just do something because it increases the sensory experience of being in that state of activity.
To put it simply, we tend to feel that intrinsic motivation when we feel satisfaction and fulfillment with those hobbies that we enjoy. You may not feel so fulfilled with a job that you carry out only for external rewards, but some other hobby that you inherently enjoy, such as painting, will make you feel internally satisfied.
It could also be spending a good and healthy time with your friends, meditating, reading, or other leisure activities that contribute to your internal reward system.
One may wonder if happiness is also a motivating factor if we feel this intrinsic motivation because we are enjoying our time and feel joy. That may be right, as according to some studies, short-term positivity helps us be successful in many aspects of our life.
One such study in 2019 also shows how positive emotions, resulting from the activities that bring self-satisfaction and fulfillment, produce an upward spiral in motivation and drive that eventually leads to a better success rate.
Applications of Motivation
Motivation is well applicable to many major parts of our lives – including our workplace and career, learning institutions, politics, and even towards goals pertaining to self-improvement. We may need the concept of ‘motivation’ for more efficient and quality work.
Motivation for Work
We all need motivation to face the daily challenges and tasks in our workplaces, and organizations are employing methods through which they can create a motivated employee force.
After analyzing what motivates employees and what demotivates them, Frederick Herzberg presented a two-factor hypothesis, often known as the motivator-hygiene theory, in 1959.
According to Herzberg, some employment variables contribute to job happiness, while others contribute to job discontent. In this theory, he states that the opposite of “Satisfaction” is “No Satisfaction,” and the opposite of “Dissatisfaction” is “No Dissatisfaction”.
The two-factor hypothesis is factorized into Hygiene factors and Motivational factors, where hygiene factors are the basic needs in the job and the motivational factors are elements that encourage the employees to stay and grow.
If you are planning goals that contribute towards creating a better lifestyle for yourself, and improving yourself, you may find it hard to adapt to such goals in the longer run.
Staying consistent towards goals that we will have to hold ourselves accountable for without any other force assisting us can be daunting if we struggle with motivation. Naturally, the more you feel motivated towards creating healthy habits, the easier it will get.
Suppose that you are trying to lose weight, and develop better eating habits. It is no doubt that you face a lot of internal struggles, but in the end, you may overcome all of these struggles if motivation is a common companion for you.
Motivation for Learning and Education
Educational psychologists are particularly interested in motivation because of the critical role it plays in student learning. It is no doubt that motivation is essential for effective study.
When you are motivated, it is much easier to maintain attention over time. When you are unmotivated, it is tough not just to stay focused, but also to get started in the first place.
Motivation makes us feel good, energizes us, and motivates us to complete tasks. But it doesn’t always come effortlessly, and we all go through moments when inspiration is difficult.
Focusing on subjects that we feel more motivated to study for is also easier than on those subjects that don’t keep us as motivated.
Motivation in Politics
When we talk about motivation in politics, we may notice that we are more concerned with in-group loyalty and demonstrating devotion to our team or community than with policies themselves. This may be because such devotions tend to make us become more motivated towards our cause.
We can also say that without a motivated bunch of individuals, politics isn’t politics.
Lack Of Motivation
It is inevitable that you will face a lack of motivation at some point in your life, whatever the reason or situation may be. We may get started on our goals or during the goal-setting phase with a lot of motivation, but we also experience low motivation through the journey of achieving these goals.
One vastly noticed example is new year’s resolutions. Many people set a lot of new year’s resolutions with motivation and enthusiasm, but along the way, they lose that spark and drive to achieve those goals.
What Causes Lack Of Motivation
The difficult part about motivation is not getting started but maintaining that motivation. Through time, you may experience a lack of motivation. Below is a list of reasons for this lack of, or low motivation.
You may be wondering why we listed procrastination as a cause of lack of motivation rather than a consequence.
The truth is that procrastination is a negative habit that you may have developed due to an unhealthy lifestyle over time or other reasons such as feeling overwhelmed by tasks, so once this cycle of procrastination keeps continuing, you will feel a further lack of motivation than you did before.
It is important to overcome this procrastination if you want to attain your short-term objectives. Otherwise, it can create a lot of internal struggles for an individual.
Depression and Anxiety
If a person is suffering from mental struggles such as depression and anxiety, they tend to feel hopelessness which eventually leads to a lack of motivation to do anything.
With depression, suffering from self-doubt and meaning or purpose with your goals is a common issue, and as discussed before, competency and meaning are the driving factors for motivation.
You may tend to feel overwhelmed with your tasks if you suffer from anxiety, and your brain signals you to delay working on such tasks. In both cases, a lack of motivation can be hard to prevent.
Your diet, movement, and sleep are one of the major factors that define how you feel throughout the day. It is apparent that you will feel less motivated generally with an unhealthy lifestyle.
Lack of sleep can cause many problems including depression, anxiety, and even physical ailments. When we don’t get enough sleep, our body doesn’t have time to repair itself and heal properly. So if you’re not getting enough sleep, you may feel tired and unmotivated throughout the day.
Similarly, if you develop other unhealthy habits that you may perform every day, they can contribute to your low motivation.
If you believe that you must be flawless in order to achieve your objective, or that there is no sense in trying, one minor slip-up or relapse might drain your motivation to keep going.
If you have this “everything-or-nothing” mindset, you could also potentially suffer from frequent burn-outs because of the overwhelming mindset of perfecting every task.
Staying in Your Comfort Zone
If you’re used to remaining in your comfort zone, you’ll miss out on the gratification that comes with accomplishing a life-changing objective. Pushing yourself will allow you to develop unshakeable confidence as you demolish goal after goal.
So in simple words, setting objectives that are too easy to achieve will make you become easily bored and lose interest. It’s easy to lose motivation if you stay in your comfort zone and only target goals that you can attain right away, as true ambitions frequently require time to achieve.
You should try to find a balance between pushing yourself and setting reasonable goals.
The Role of Motivation Gurus Today
Ted talks, motivational quotes from famous speakers, and motivational workshops – you may be familiar with all of them. You may also have tumbled across videos from motivational gurus that created a burst of motivation and urge to turn things around in you.
So if we properly analyze what all of these motivational speakers or gurus bring to the table, how important is their role today?
It is no doubt that motivational speeches have a lot of significance since they serve to motivate you, boost your creativity, lessen fear & anxiety, provide a fresh perspective on things, and also help you meet and connect with other individuals that may be in the same situation as you.
You will surely discover different and productive ways to approach your problems while watching or sitting through a ted-talk with an experienced professional who supplies the audience with new ideas and answers to problems that they have most likely been dealing with for a long time.
When these motivational gurus use their story-telling skills for real-life experiences, it also helps in boosting your energy, giving you a source of inspiration especially if you are not in the highest of your spirits.
In their speeches, they make sure that they include stories of both failure and success, so the listener knows that failure is just a part of life. In this way, they don’t lose their motivation to succeed and keep going with simple failures.
However, relying too much on motivational gurus and excess consumption of motivational speeches can also lead to less critical thinking on your part. Yes, their advice can be really helpful, but it is not generalizable.
Everyone has different experiences in life, What worked for others may not work for you, and vice versa. Only you know the best approach to solving your own problems and creating your own lifestyle.
Hence, it is important that you know when and how to apply the teachings of motivational gurus to your problems in life.
How To Get Motivation – Tips And Tricks
You may feel energized and very motivated to achieve your objectives at times. At other times, you may feel drained or unclear about what you want or how to get it.
It can be frustrating, but fortunately, there are several efficient tips and tricks that will help in increasing and maintaining motivation.
1. Have an Ultimate Goal
First, it is important that you adjust your goals to focus on what is truly important to you. Goals based on things that are extremely essential to you will help you push through your obstacles more than goals based on things that are really important to you.
You should set the few ultimate goals first that matter the most to you and are essential, and then adjust and prioritize these goals. This lets your mind know what it essentially needs to focus on.
At times when you might feel lost and demotivated, reminding yourself of this ultimate goals list lets you remember what you are working and striving hard for.
2. Start Working On Your Tasks By The Break-Down Goals Method
If you’re undertaking a project that feels too large or overwhelming, divide it into smaller, more manageable tasks or goals. Then, fix your sights on merely completing the first steps of these tasks one at a time.
Most of the time, you procrastinate because there is too much on your plate and you don’t know where to begin. It’s difficult not to feel overwhelmed when you attempt to tackle everything at once.
However, focusing on one or two tasks at a time makes it simpler to stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed. When you find the strength to get up and do one task, you will start to have more confidence in yourself and that ‘you can do it’.
3. Use Tools to Make Your Goals Visible
Merchandise such as cups or T-shirts with motivational quotes can come quite in handy as motivational tools, but if you want to involve actual action to connect the line between your goals and reality, YouBetchaCan’s Motivational Product “The Can” is the perfect motivational tool.
The product lets you write down what you want to achieve, and lets you visualize your goals. The sentimental value of writing “I Can” to each of your goals that your mind may trick you into thinking you can’t do lets you know that all of these tasks are possible and achievable.
The process of using this product is very simple, you just need to write down your goal, fold it, and write “I Can” on the outside.
And yes, you have guessed right. The motivational product is named “The Can” because one – it is a can, and second – because you can do anything.
4. Find Sources Of Motivation That Work For You
Motivation works differently for everyone, but one thing that is the same for everyone is that we all have our own sources of motivation that may work the best for us only. We are the ones who know the best about what motivates us.
Hence, it is important that you understand the sources of motivation that work best for you. It may be certain sports that you enjoy that you make feel re-energized and motivated.
It could also be other activities such as talking to your loved ones, solitude, socializing, gaming, or any other sort of entertainment. For many people, spirituality and religion play a significant role as motivating factors too.
As we said, everyone has different sources of motivation, which could be multiple sources too. If you don’t know what activities motivate you, you may want to start observing your behavior pattern and recognize what energizes and motivates you the best.
5. Develop A Healthy Routine
It’s all about the simple things you do every day when it comes to making life changes. If you want to feel more motivated in the morning, you should start making adjustments to your daily routine and habits.
Having a healthy routine includes adopting healthy habits such as exercising regularly and meditating into your lifestyle.
Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and relax. Studies have shown that meditation can reduce anxiety and depression, increase focus and concentration, and improve sleep quality. These are the factors that affect how motivated you feel.
Exercise is also another great way to boost your energy. It releases endorphins, which give you a natural high. Endorphins are naturally produced in our bodies and help us feel good.
You may be thinking that this is your typical ‘stay healthy’ advice, but it is a very important measure as developing a healthy routine with healthy habits lets you stay organized on days when you may feel a temporal lack of motivation to do anything.
6. Practice Gratitude by Journalling
Gratitude is a simple practice that can improve your mood and outlook on life. Journaling every day and practicing gratitude reminds you of the reasons you must keep going, especially if you feel disconnected from the ‘why’ element of your goals.
Try writing down three things you’re grateful for each morning in your journal. It undoubtedly creates a huge difference.
7. Set a Rest Time
There is a significant distinction between resting and procrastinating. Rest is essential for survival because it clears your thoughts so you can face your challenges front on.
Procrastination, on the other hand, keeps your brain occupied with anxiety that you are slacking off on your tasks. It doesn’t give your mind the rest it needs, and neither do you get your tasks done.
If you set a certain rest time, you can relax and rest without any worries about completing your tasks as you know that you have already adjusted your time accordingly.
Grab your headphones and enjoy some music to relax, go on a walk or just lay down on your bed. Make sure that you use this rest time to actually let your brain relax. Our bodies and minds require rest in order to operate properly.
8. Reward Yourself
Make sure you reward yourself for accomplishing your goals. Once you start rewarding yourself for accomplishing all the small tasks you created using the break-down goals method, you will be more motivated to keep working.
Doing this will keep your brain thrilled and active throughout the journey while completing your task, as you know that a reward awaits you.
This reward could be enjoying some leisure time or eating your favorite chocolate. Whatever will get you excited, works.
9. Track Your Achievements
Tracking your achievements can feel very rewarding as it creates self-confidence in your abilities, and it also lets you keep a track of your behavior pattern. It may seem insignificant at first, but over time, these accomplishments will add up.
This also brings you fulfillment as you will be reminded of the goals that you already accomplished, which lets you believe that you can do more. Again, you can use YouBetchaCan’s motivational product to keep track of your progress.
10. Avoid Any Toxicity
Whenever we talk about toxicity – the most important thing is your toxic behavior patterns. This refers to the behaviors, habits, or hobbies that can cause you to procrastinate because of instant gratification. This can be scrolling on your phone all day.
Consistently hanging out in groups where the norm is unhealthy habits and wrong guidance can also create these toxic behavior patterns. Make sure that you are in the right crowd.
11. Find A Mentor
Finally, finding a mentor can help you greatly in staying motivated as they help you achieve your goals. A mentor can give you advice and guidance and they can also be great role models for you.
Understanding how motivation works is an important step before using tips and tricks to keep yourself motivated. The psychology of motivation teaches us about the mentality we need to succeed in life.
Our ultimate guide to motivation covers all that you need to know about motivation – from the factors that drive motivation, the main theories of motivation to how you can stay motivated.
Utilizing this guide, you can find out what tricks work best for you, then adjust them accordingly to your lifestyle.