Motivation is a difficult concept to master because it can seem so challenging to achieve. We can bounce between feeling highly driven and stubbornly lazy.
The forces which motivate us come in two varieties: external motivation and internal motivation.
External motivation comes from a source outside of your control. Another person or environmental situation is forcing you into action. This type of motivation can be positive in the form of praise or monetary compensation, or it can take the form of negative reinforcements like coercion or threats.
In either situation, external motivation can be powerful in motivating you to accomplish a task. However, the source is ultimately out of your control.
Internal (or intrinsic) motivation draws upon a passion that is within you. It is the internal motivation that provides you with a long-term drive towards accomplishing your goals.
What governs self-motivation, and how can you avoid losing that motivation?
Internal motivation is determined by three basic factors:
Autonomy – Autonomy is the feeling that the task you are working on is your choice. Nobody is forcing you to perform the work.
Relatedness – Relatedness is the feeling that the time you spend performing work will be beneficial. Accomplishing your goal is part of a bigger picture and will somehow provide a sense of belonging.
Competence – Competence is the feeling that your work is necessary. In other words, your work has a purpose.
Studies have shown that all these factors must be present to develop and sustain self-motivation. The synergy of these factors suggests that if any one of them decreases, internal motivation will also decrease. If that happens, external motivation will become the dominating influence.
If you have been procrastinating on completing a project, then one or all three of these elements are likely missing. Take time to analyze what you are working towards. Find where autonomy, relatedness, and competence are missing. Chances are your productivity and enjoyment will increase dramatically.
5 Motivation Killers to Avoid
It is common to make excuses for not doing the things we need to do. Maybe you are afraid to start a project that is outside your comfort zone or acquire a new client for your business. It becomes easier to tell yourself that a daunting challenge is impossible rather than mustering the courage to tackle it. Rejection and failure are possible outcomes, but not even trying will always guarantee that result.
Occupying your mental and emotional energy with negative thinking will only dampen your motivation. While it is important to be realistic and aware of your constraints, focusing excessive attention on negative outcomes will make it almost impossible for you to complete your task or project with a feeling of satisfaction.
Comparing Yourself to Others
Your journey and accomplishments are your own and no one else’s. It is alright to want to attain what someone else has already achieved, but you should do so with the understanding that persistence and patience will allow you to reach that goal. Instant success is an illusion.
Pursuing Superficial Results
Whatever you do, do not make the mistake of pursuing activities that serve to impress others rather than working towards your goals. Your time is precious and overloading yourself with activities that do not directly advance your goals will only take attention away from things that matter and deflate your motivation.
This may be the most important thing on our list. Making sure that you are healthy and happy goes a long way in keeping your motivation going. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep. Take a little time out of each day to exercise, even if it’s just a walk. If you don’t have the time to eat three full meals, eat several small snacks throughout the day and drink plenty of water.
Your life belongs to you and nobody else. No matter how busy you are, take time out of each day for yourself, and prioritize your needs over everything else. You’ll be surprised how invigorating it is when you realize how influential your well-being is over everything else that you do.
You can read these interesting related articles, also from Healing Arts Institute!
Dysvik, Anders, et al. “An Investigation of the Unique, Synergistic and Balanced Relationships between Basic Psychological Needs and Intrinsic Motivation.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, vol. 43, no. 5, 2013, pp. 1050–64. Crossref, doi:10.1111/jasp.12068.
Psych2Go. “10 Habits That Are DESTROYING Your Motivation.” YouTube, uploaded by Psych2Go, 1 Oct. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=cejVaaPZGt4&list=PLbPJLaLL5_ENqax0xTBoEGV5mxNmkseHQ&index=37.
Ryan, Richard M., and Edward L. Deci. “Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being.” American Psychologist, vol. 55, no. 1, 2000, pp. 68–78. Crossref, doi:10.1037/0003-066x.55.1.68.