Motivation is the human desire to do or create to achieve a goal. It is this drive that pushes us to get better, to be faster and to compete against ourselves or others. Without it, you may feel bored, lazy, or even scared.
There are many theories about motivation and how to control it, but a lot depends on you. You can either be your biggest roadblock or your biggest fan. Your job is to make sure that you are the right option at the right time. Some theories lock in:
Arousal theory: This theory is about what feels good to you mentally or physically. If you find it pleasant to do or achieve this, you may feel more motivated to do so.
Theory of Attitude: This theory discusses how internal processes and personal feelings correlate with the task at hand, how motivated you are to do it. Fortunately, this means that if you change your attitude towards work, you can achieve almost any goal.
Group and norm theory: This theory explains how working in a group is likely to keep you hard at work in order to maintain the quality of the work produced by the group. For some, this means that the simple presence of others can help you achieve your goals.
Humanistic theory: This theory shows that people have cognitive reasons to perform certain tasks. In Abraham Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of needsIn order to be motivated to complete acts of self-realization or self-esteem, more basic needs in terms of social, psychological and security needs to be met.
Incentive Theory: This theory suggests that the possibility of external rewards drives people to do things.
There are two types of motivation: intrinsically– emerge from yourself – and extrinsic– coming from external sources. It all depends on the goal, but many agree that intrinsic motivation is the stronger of the two. Intrinsic motivation is self-doubt and self-confidence that will benefit you. If you prove that your self-doubt is wrong and realize that you can do exactly what you set out to do, you can feel worlds more satisfying than simple congratulations from external motivators.
However, everyone is different. Some are more motivated by outside sources. The metaphorical carrot, string and whip, a perfect example of extrinsic motivation, could also be crucial to learn about your own motivation. What makes you achieve your goals? Something in you like proving yourself or someone else wrong? Or something more physical like chocolate or money?
Especially in the middle of the quarantine, it seems difficult to learn about your own motivation, as you may feel that you have nothing to say. In this seemingly endless present with an uncertain future, people become a little restless and go up and down to think about things to do. I can’t read another book today because I did it yesterday and the day before, but I can’t stay on Twitter all day. With just a hint of motivation, you can transform your days from vague bleeding intervals into the moments you look back on, proud of the things you’ve accomplished.
So how can you create motivation if you don’t have one?
1. Start right where you are. Ask yourself how you feel in your current situation. If you feel bored, tired, or restless, a layer of motivation may already be hidden under a layer of indifference. According to the attitude theory of motivation, the key changes your mindset. Instead of sinking into boredom, this should be the catalyst for achieving your goals. If your attitude towards the trip is positive, you are sure to reach the destination. Think about what motivates you. What would make you feel good now? Is it enough to reach the goal or do you need an incentive?
2nd Set goals. Good, achievable, realistic goals are CLEVER (Specific, measurable, accessible, relevant and time-bound). Imagine in detail who you want to be, what you want to do, where you want to be, etc., and give yourself a period of time before you want to achieve that personal status. Without providing information, you may find that your goals are too broad to make plans. Instead of hoping, “I want more money,” think of “I plan to talk to my boss about a raise by the end of the quarter.” This way, instead of looking at the large, sometimes overwhelming image, you can’t break it down into smaller, manageable parts.
3rd Talk to you. Find out why you set these goals and why you have needed them to achieve them. Get to know your cognitive reasons to want to achieve certain actions as in humanistic motivation theory. Ask yourself: “What is holding me back?” In many cases, the answer is yours. We are our biggest critics and sometimes things without extrinsic motivation (i.e. a deadline or a reward) are not done the way we want them to. However, if you talk to yourself about how to change your mindset and compete with yourself, you can establish and strengthen intrinsic motivation.
Continue the conversation by asking, “When can I start?” You often think of your future self as someone who has it together. They are motivated, do their job and enjoy doing it. But you can become that person with a little practice today.
4th Plan as thoroughly as you can how you can achieve your goals. What steps need to be taken to get from point A to point B? What will you do if you face obstacles? Who can you contact if you need help? The better you prepare for forks on the street, dead ends, or sudden detours, the better off you’ll be when they arrive.
5. Give yourself a reward. The goal itself is often rewarding enough, but it is still important to celebrate your victories. In some cases, gradually increasing the reward will cause some to return to their goals. Use this goal as a lesson of what you want to advance. How much incentive works best for you?
6. To repeat. Reaching goals is a journey like any other. You win some. You lose something. You always learn. Knowing what motivates you can strengthen your motivation so that with new goals, all of the work that you have to invest in those goals seems like a walk in the park.
Laura Johnson is a student of magazine and media journalism who is passionate about communication, be it through words or images. Her goal is to combine her passion with her career experience and get in touch with as many as possible.