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Motivation & how to find it

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

The best kind of motivation is self motivation, right? How do we find that?

There are two types of motivation; Extrinsic (external) and Intrinsic (internal).

Let me give you an example of each type:

Extrinsic - Let's say your boss has a new idea, it is a big project and the deadline is a short time frame. You are not nearly as passionate about the project as your boss but you want to keep your job so you find the motivation to get the project done and on time. This is something you have to do but not necessarily something you want to do so the drive comes from an external motivator.

Extrinsic motivation can create self-motivation when it is driven by an intrinsic reward such as money, a promotion, higher status or special recognition.

Intrinsic - You have been wanting to go on a backpacking trip that is super challenging, you are a little out of shape and it will take some training. It is time consuming and difficult yet you are excited to be able to go and you want to be prepared so you find the motivation to challenge yourself daily. This is something you want to do and the drive comes from your desire or internal motivator.

Intrinsic motivation creates a higher percentage of self-motivation via the individuals internal desire to reach the goal.

Scott Geller, a psychologist at the forefront of research on self-motivation says that there are three questions to use in determining self-motivation:

  1. Can you (I) do it?

  2. Will it work?

  3. Is it worth it?

If the answer is yes to all three questions , likely self-motivation is present.

His belief in regards to this:

If you believe you can do it, you have what's called self-efficacy (a belief in your capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce your desired outcome). If you believe it will work, you have what's called response-efficacy (a belief the action will lead to the outcome you want). If you believe it is worth it you have decided that the consequences (outcomes/rewards) outweigh the costs (challenges/obstacles).

A few tips and skills to help motivate yourself:

  1. Set high but realistic goals. Use the SMART goal setting protocol

  2. Take the appropriate level of risk for yourself.

  3. Get consistent feedback by going back to what the main goal is and focusing on how to get there.

  4. Stay committed to your goals and be willing to push harder to achieve them.

  5. Become aware of opportunities and actively seek them out, walking through open doors when they appear.

  6. Don't let obstacles set you back, learn how to deal with them and continue to pursue the goal (resilience).

A few tips on how to maintain self-motivation:

  1. Ask yourself how will reaching this goal impact my life now and in the future? How will not-reaching this goal impact my life now and in the future?

  2. Keep learning and acquiring knowledge regarding your desired outcome.

  3. Spend time with others who are motivated, positive, supportive and inspiring.

  4. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and work on both.

  5. Get good at time management and avoid procrastination.

  6. Get help when needed and support others.

"Offer your strengths to others and you will be amazed how many people offer their strengths to you"

- Simon Sinek -

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