What Is Motivation?

what is motivation

What Is Motivation?

We all know or have used this word called ‘motivation’ many time in our communications, but do we really know what is motivation? In simple terms, motivation is what causes you to act. The act could be anything, from getting a glass of water, going to school, to becoming a NASA scientist, literally anything.

The origin of the word ‘Motivation’ comes from the word ‘Motive’, which deals with movement. Motivation definition as per Oxford dictionary is “Motivation is a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way”.

Motivation is the process that initiates, supports and maintains goal-oriented behaviour. Various forces such as emotional, social, biological and cognitive forces are in play to activate that behaviour. Motivation is what drives you to do something.

However, motivation is not just limited to you beginning to do something. It also plays a major part in guiding and managing your goal-oriented behaviour. Remember, those new year resolutions where you bought yearly gym membership, visited gym all 7 days in the first week, but then never in the entire remaining year? Why did this happen? Because you were lacking motivational factors to guide and manage your goal-oriented behaviour of going to gym.

How Motivation Works?

The key to how motivation works is in our needs, emotions and goals. If we ourselves or someone wants us to get motivated to do something or take some action, the most they can do is to appeal to us. Unless it appeals to us, we won’t get motivated to do that thing.

how motivation works

Every individual inherently has some needs that they need to fulfil and values that they believe in. No one can tell you what your needs are nor they can insist that these are the values you should have. Also, they can not give you strong desire to achieve a goal. Your motivation (needs, emotions and goals) comes from you. Motivation is the backend force that enables you to complete these needs, emotions and goals.

Types of Motivation

In broader terms, motivation could be categorized as being either extrinsic or intrinsic.

–  Extrinsic Motivation

–  Intrinsic Motivation

Let’s see what do Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation actually means:-

Extrinsic Motivation:

Extrinsic motivations are those that arise from outside of the individual. Extrinsic motivation often involves rewards. Now, these rewards could be either tangible rewards or intangible rewards. Tangible rewards could be money, goods, trophies, medals etc. Intangible rewards could be praise, social recognition etc.

Example of extrinsic motivation:

Let’s say you are motivated to practice playing cricket daily, because you have a Cricket match next week, and you want to win the Man of the Match award in that cricket match.

Intrinsic Motivation:

Intrinsic motivations are those that arise from within the individual. They don’t seek any external rewards to do certain things or act.  

Example of intrinsic motivation:

You want to listen to a particular song of Adele because that song is your favourite song and listening to that song gives you joy. There is no external reward involved in listening to the song. Hence it would classify as intrinsic motivation.

Uses of Motivation

how to get motivated

There are many different uses of motivation. As we have learned, motivation serves as a guiding force for all our actions, but understanding how we can make motivation works for us, is helpful in number of ways.

Understanding motivation can:

  • –  Help people take action
  • –  Improve overall well-being and happiness
  • –  Help people achieving their goals
  • –  Help people go out of their comfort zone and explore new things
  • –  Help people to focus on their health

Tips for Motivation

tips for motivation

Now that we all know how useful motivation is, the next obvious question in your mind will be ‘How to get motivated’. Because we all have that long ‘To-do’ lists and Bucket lists that we want to tick-mark but somehow don’t act on it. Let’s see what tips and tricks motivation science has for us, that can help us in getting motivated to act.

It is very important for us to understand the fact that we all experience the fluctuations in motivation. Someday we will be all fired up and some day we just don’t have any enthusiasm to do that thing. Recognising and accepting this fact is the first step of improvement.

Below are the things which you can try, if you are feeling low on motivation:

  • –   Consciously take a look at your goals, adjust them if needed, or completely remove the goals which doesn’t matter to you now
  • –   Remind yourself why you started in the first place
  • –   Imagine you getting the reward that you always wanted. Imagination is really powerful force in getting you motivated to do something
  • –   Take small but consistent steps towards your goals
  • –   Believe in yourself. You are fully capable of achieving anything you can set your mind to

What Can Hurt Your Motivation

You should always be conscious and watch out for certain things which can hurt your motivation.  

–   All or nothing attitude

Some people have this ‘All or nothing’ attitude, where they get de motivated if they see that they won’t be able to achieve their goals fully. For example, if you have set a goal of reducing 10 Kg body weight in 2 months, and have started exercising. And if at the end of 2 months, you check your weight, and you find out that you have not reached your goal of reducing 10 Kg. Then this ‘All or nothing’ attitude causes such people to stop exercising all together. Whereas in reality, their exercise has been fruitful and they were able to reduce 6 Kg of weight, which itself is an achievement. Hence they should correct this thinking and stay motivated. 

–   One size fits all attitude

Every individual is different. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, they are coming from different circumstances, and hence what worked for someone, it’s possible that it might not work for you. Hence it is very important to stay motivated, keep exploring new ways and keep on trying.

A Take-Home Message On Motivation

We know that motivation is important, and also it’s not that simple to find the motivation to do those things which are important to us. Also, the time we have and the resources that we have to complete our needs, goals might be limited. Hence it becomes really important to have a look at the values that we believe in, and then focus on the goals that align with our values. Then give your 100% in achieving those goals.

May the motivation be with you!!

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