Motivation is often used to describe why a person does something. It is important because it is the driving force behind human actions. Motivation makes you act, whether it’s taking a glass of water to quench your thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge.
What is motivation?
Motivation is the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviour.
Motivation is not only about the factors that activate behaviours, it also involves the factors that direct and maintain those actions towards a goal. As a result, we often have to infer why people do the things they do based on observable behaviours.
Thus, there are several types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic.
Extrinsic motivation occurs externally to the individual and often involves rewards such as money, social recognition, trophies, diplomas, praise, etc.
Intrinsic motivation occurs within the individual, such as completing a complicated puzzle just for the personal satisfaction of solving a problem.
Extrinsic motivation generally works in the short term. For example money, praise has an impact over a period of time, but the most important is the personal Why, that internal motivation that keeps you focused towards your goal.
How do you discover what motivates you?
Not everyone ends up being motivated in the same way or by the same things. To have a chance to develop consistently, start by discovering and adapting your personality so that you can move forward. There are plenty of personality profiles and systems that can be used. I personally keep in mind the DISC personality types: Dominant, Influential, Steadfast and Conscientious.
Dominant personality type
Dominants are choleric beings. Their strength is that they move easily and make decisions quickly. Their weakness is that if they are not in charge they refuse to participate. If you are the dominant, choleric type, focus on the choices you make to motivate yourself. Everyone is responsible for their own development, actions and decisions. Choose how exactly to do what you set out to do and be consistent.
Influential personality type
Influencers are sanguine beings and are one of the most enjoyable personality types. These people are often the life of the party. Their weakness is often their lack of focus. If you are the influential, sanguine type, to find your motivation take everything as a game. If you find it impossible, then reward yourself for the gradual successes you achieve.
The steady personality type
Staunch people are phlegmatic beings. Their strength is that they are easily liked by others and are not complicated beings. Their weakness is inertia. If you are the Statoric, phlegmatic type, find value in what you have to do to find your motivation. When staunch, phlegmatic people intuit the value of an action, they can be some of the most tenacious and stubborn personality types.
Conscientious personality type
Conscientious people are melancholic natures. These people are perfectionists, and attention to detail is their forte. But because they want everything to be perfect, they are afraid of making mistakes. If you are the conscientious, melancholic type, how do you motivate yourself to overcome this fear? Focus on the joy that learning the details brings and the possibility of mastering a subject very well.
As you can see, every personality type has its strengths. You just need to identify the strengths of your personality type so that you are set up for success in terms of motivation.
What causes lack of motivation?
You are not human unless you have suffered from a lack of motivation at some point in your life. Everyone has experienced the feeling. It may have been something small or it may be something you’ve struggled with for years. Either way, it’s important to know that although lack of motivation is common, it can be overcome.
There are many things that can be accomplished in life if we are motivated to get the job done. But, if you find yourself in that place where you find it hard to care because of a lack of motivation, one of these five things could be the reason:
1. Lack of action
If you suffer from a lack of motivation, you may not be doing enough. If you simply decide to start an activity, even if you don’t feel like it, your motivation might find you.
Newton’s first law says that an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. That can apply to humans.
You know that saying, “Appetite comes by eating”? Well, and motivation happens when you’re in action. Although it may seem strange, lack of action leaves you without energy and therefore, without motivation. So, stay in action and you will maintain your motivation.
Depression tends to steal your energy and motivation. This is true even for mild depression. When you struggle with depression, it can be difficult to get through the normal tasks of everyday life. That means it’s a struggle to clean the house or pay the bills because you don’t care.
If you think you’re dealing with depression there are a few things you can do to try to find your motivation.
The first is to talk to a therapist. You should also decide which issues need the most attention. For example, you need to pay your bills, piano lessons can wait. Decide what needs to be done now.
When you’re depressed, it’s important to celebrate all your successes, even if they feel small. Don’t allow yourself to feel like you have to wait until life is perfect before you feel good about your accomplishments.
3. Too much to do
If you find yourself in this situation, try breaking your tasks down into small chunks.
Sometimes when you have a lot to do and you feel overwhelmed, your body and mind shut down. Instead of figuring out the details, it’s better to do nothing. We talked earlier about how doing nothing can cause lack of motivation, but it works the other way around too. Lack of motivation can result from having too much to do. When you feel there is so much to do you may not want to start.
As you accomplish each small task, you move towards accomplishing your big task.
4. People pleasing
If you always want to please people, you have most likely experienced a lack of motivation before. When you’re busy trying to make everyone else happy, you can’t identify your own wants and needs. When you have no idea what you want, you have no reason to be motivated. Being motivated to please others won’t get you far.
It’s hard to be motivated when you’re striving to achieve someone else’s goals, but when it comes to your own goals, it’s a whole different story. It’s important to stop trying to please everyone because you will constantly disappoint yourself, and that’s no way to live. Find out who you are and what you want to do. Set your own goals and then create your path. Stop worrying about what others think. All this is easy to say, but harder to do sometimes, so a psychotherapist or coach can help you develop the concrete tools to get where you want to be.
5. A fixed mindset
There are two types of mindset: fixed and growth mindset. If you have a fixed mindset, you tend to believe that you are not in control of your potential. You believe that your skills are pre-existing and that new skills and intelligence cannot be developed.
If you have this mindset, you may suffer from a lack of motivation. If you believe that things “are what they are”, then why would you be motivated to try to do things differently? What’s the point of investing time to learn something new when you think it’s impossible?
To overcome a fixed mindset, you have to work towards a growth mindset. People with a growth mindset believe they can learn new skills. They see experiences as opportunities for growth. They welcome criticism and feedback, even when it is negative, because they know it will benefit them. This is motivating because they believe in the ability to control their destiny.
What are the consequences of lack of motivation?
Lack of motivation means not achieving personal goals which can lead to negative feelings such as: frustration, helplessness, lack of confidence, low self-esteem, etc.
If you have ever had a goal (such as losing 10 kg or running a marathon) you know that simply having the desire to achieve it is not enough. Achieving such a goal requires the ability to persist through obstacles and the endurance to keep going despite the difficulties that always arise.
There are three major components of motivation: activation, persistence and intensity.
Activation involves the decision to initiate a behaviour, such as enrolling in the gym or a class of coahing, phihotherapy.
Persistence is continuous effort towards a goal, even though there may be obstacles.
Intensity can be seen in the focus, vigour and effort involved in pursuing a goal.
The degree of each of these components of motivation can influence whether or not you achieve your goal. Strong activation, for example, means you are likely to start pursuing your goal. Persistence and intensity will determine whether you continue to work towards that goal and how much effort you put into achieving it.
Five tips to stay motivated
Even if you feel unmotivated there are five things you can do to keep going:
Adjust your goals to focus on the things that really matter to you;
2. If you tackle something that is too big or too overwhelming, break it down into smaller steps and focus on taking the first step towards progress;
3. Improve your confidence and self-image;
4. Remember what you have achieved in the past and (re)discover your strengths;
5. Stay in action because it determines your motivation when you start to get results, however small they may be.
Work motivation – How do you stay motivated in the professional sphere?
If you generally expect your work motivation to come from your colleagues or employer you will not have long term results. As mentioned, extrinsic motivation is short-lived. Intrinsic motivation has the greatest impact on our lives. So, it is very important to enjoy what you do, to be passionate about your work. You decide on your actions and can be in control of your life, at home or at work. If you choose to let others make the decisions for you, you will not stay motivated.
Motivation is a choice that is primarily up to us. Choose intrinsic motivation to achieve your personal and professional goals.