Do you feel it’s difficult getting up in the morning? To carry out work tasks or to maintain a routine? You say: “I lack the motivation and energy”?
Motivation is what drives us to grow and evolve - whether in the personal or professional forum. It’s the “WHY” of the things we do and it’s dependent of an external impulse that leads to actions.
However it’s important to be able to carry out self-motivation, that is, the ability to motivate yourself without the need for an external impulse.
What is self-motivation?
By definition, self-motivation, also called intrinsic motivation, is “an act or effect of self- motivation; attitude of those who seek to do or achieve something out of their own interest, enthusiasm or decision”.
Unlike extrinsic motivation, self- motivation is not dependent on external impulses (such as work promotions, or punishments), but on the inner strength that is provided by internal impulses, and anticipates the needs and improvement of activities. These intrinsic factors have a deeper effect and longer duration and are more easily accepted by individuals, since they come from the inside instead of being imposed by the outside.
This does not mean that extrinsic motivation is bad or that intrinsic motivation is good - they have different conditions of use and it’s our job to know which one to apply in each situation. For example: In an initial approach to education (be it school, work or even a hobby) it is important to have an external motivator such as grades, money or health, but the more you invest in knowledge and effort the more you should find internal motivation, applying your knowledge about your own needs and interests and taking responsibility for their application.
Motivation also depends on how we see ourselves and how we see the environment around us. For the first, our mental speeches and beliefs influence how we access motivation. If we maintain a mental speech of "I can do this", then we will find the necessary motivation in an easier way. For the second, the analysis of the environment can be a key element in motivation, because it’s easier to feel motivated if you feel safe. In the same way, even the physical environment can be motivating (light colours, plants, ...).
Motivation and success
The man is motivated to maintain comfort. However, in the primitive reactions of seeking comfort, we forget that discomfort is necessary for further success.
Successful people are strongly motivated to achieve their goals. Self-sabotaging people create their motivations to fail.
People who self-sabotage feel that they have no idea what they must do to succeed. Their motivation is not clear, their goals are poorly defined and they invariably prefer comfort to new challenges. Their definitions of success are vague or with impossible goals (“I'll be the best!”), which makes it difficult to understand their true position on the path to success.
Self-motivation is key to success. Successful people are clear about what they want and how they will get it. They do not wait for luck or for inspiration to make decisions. On the contrary, they depend on themselves, realizing what motivates them and planning their lives, creating an action plan that takes them where they want to go.
Be honest about what is important to you - what are your motivators. Do not make goals just because you think it will make you look good, or because everyone else makes those goals, so it should be good. Make time daily to review your behaviour and your goals to find out what will really motivate you.
Whatever the reason for your motivation, it is your responsibility. If you don't have the motivation, no one will take you to work in the morning, or encourage you to take care of yourself. Remember: Motivation is up to you! You can develop it further in this course.
How to create an action plan to maintain motivation?
Find autonomy in your goals. Transform your speeches of "I have to ..." to "I want ". When making “I have to…” goals, you are looking for the reason to carry out the action, as if trying to convince yourself (for example: “I have to study, to be successful”). On the contrary in "I want" goals, you are acting under what really interests you ("I want to take this course because it is a topic that interests me"). It is centered on your Why.
Objectives of "I want", are freely chosen and can be centered on your personal taste (intrinsic interest), the importance of the objective (which interest is identified) and assimilation with your own identity (it fits your life).
Amen (2005) suggests that to set goals for success, we must take the approach W5H: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How:
|Who: Who is responsible for setting and achieving the goals?
|For your goals to work, it has to be done by you, for you, working for you. Take the time to get to know yourself. What are your strengths, your obligations, your skills...
|What: What is the specific objective?
|What you want to accomplish. Your goals should work for you and your life context.
|When: What are the specific steps to the goal?
|It is important to have a specific deadline in mind, of when you will reach your goals. This deadline will give you the incentive to continue working on your goals and it will also give you an idea if you are on the right path to your goals. It may be necessary to change the deadline, but the initial plan must include the speed with which you want to reach the steps towards your goals.
|Where: Project when you will complete the steps.
|It is also important to assess where you are in the process. Not everyone starts at the same point, nor does everyone move at the same pace toward similar goals. The continuous evaluation of your position allows you to check if you are on the path that will lead to success.
|Why: Why is this important to you? Where does it fit in your life plan?
|It’s important to achieve significant results, to understand the meaning of your life. Many people set goals that are contrary to their belief systems, creating conflicts between what they are and what they believe they should be. These areas must be in harmony for your goals to be achieved.
|In the process of developing goals, it is also necessary to develop an action plan - the strategy of how to move from motivation to action. A well-defined plan is the most essential tool for anyone who wants to achieve their goals.
Do you know what your success plan is?
What do I do now? Tips for building self-motivation
After defining your strategic plan, it's time to put it in action and for that you will need to find your motivation.
Here are some tips:
- Create a library of good experiences that will keep you motivated - Feelings are motivating. It is not uncommon to think about the time you spend with family or friends to keep yourself motivated. These moments of affection and triumph remind you of who you are and why you are pursuing this goal.
- Think about what you'll feel when you're done - Anticipating the sense of accomplishment will help you gain motivation. Remember the reason why you are doing this task.
- Do the tasks you don't like first - Use tasks that give you pleasure as a motivator. Motivation does not mean that you will find all tasks motivating. Find in the tasks you like the reason for doing the tasks you don't like.
- Do not stick to the expectations of others or the comparison with them - Find motivation for yourself and don't stick to the expectations of others ("I have to lose weight because they think I need it"). The goals of others are rarely aligned with ours and their "Whys" can be completely different. When you try to satisfy the wishes of others you will find that your motivation has fallen, as you are not really working for yourself. The same is true for comparison. If your goals are something like: “I have to do this because Joseph did it too”, then you are also diminishing your motivation, by building goals that, once again, may not really work for you. Remember we all work at different rates, with different goals.
- Just Start! - Procrastination happens. Who has never started the year with endless plans on how it will start by going to the gym, but in fact it never will? It is common for plans to remain on paper, so you should strive to get started. It may be hard on you initially, but motivation doesn't work if you don't stay active.
Motivated for the future?
Motivation is an important step in the construction of any plan, so it is important to take the time to become more self-aware and understand what your true goals are and how you can motivate yourself to them.
Prepared to carry out your action plans?
Inês Cabral | Project Manager
- Amen, D. (2005). How to Get Out of Your Own Way. A Step-By-Step Guide for Identifying and Achieving Your Goals. MindWorks Press, USA.
- Amen, DG (2015). Change your brain, change your life : the breakthrough program for conquering anxiety, depression, obcessiveness, lack of focus, anger and memory problems. 2 [edition], revised and expanded. Hamony Books, New York.
- Annibali, JA (2015). Reclaim Your Brain. How to Calm Your Thoughts, Heal Your Mind, and Bring Your Life Back Under Control. Penguin Randowm House LLC, New York, New York.
- Arden, J. (2010). Rewire Your Brain - Think Your Way To A Better Life. Wiley;