What pulls you, drives you, pushes you?
It might seem like the people around us are very polarized — some people want to make a difference to the environment, while others want to retire at 50 — but research shows that humans are actually much more complex and multifaceted than this.
It isn’t just one thing that motivates and allows us to make that motivation breakthrough, but many things all at once. Researchers have narrowed down the many motivators to a few distinct categories. If you want to get to that motivation place within, then here are a few pointers that will aid in your self help motivation.
Setting goals can improve motivation and get you moving. But when setting goals make sure they feel achievable, realistic, and that they really do motivate you. Improving your average sale at work may not push your buttons, though it looks good on a resume — so what does push your buttons? Saving up for a holiday to Fiji? Taking art classes at night?
These sorts of goals might inspire you to push your average sale up, for example, more than just focusing on improving your work performance.
Goals should feel exciting. They are tied in with your dreams you have for your future. If, however, you find that your goal setting is too daunting or feels to difficult, you may have overreached what you feel is capable and achievable. Instead of writing a novel, maybe just start with a short story.
Then work your way up to 5 stories. Once you have completed 10 stories, even if it takes a whole year, writing a novel may not freak you out. It will probably feel more achievable by then.
Understanding Your Drives
According to a study published by the Incentive Research Foundation in 2011, there are four basic drives that determine human motivation: acquiring, comprehending, bonding and defending.
Acquiring is about the tangible benefits we can gain e.g. money, skills, training, promotions, respect, etc.
Comprehending has to do with doing something we feel is meaningful, such as working with complex ideas, creativity, or participating in a job that makes a difference to the world. Bonding all about friendship, camaraderie, and social connection.
Defending takes into account issues around fairness and justice — we are more motivated to work with and for people who treat us (and others) well, than those who treat us (and others) unfairly.
While some people may feel they lean more towards one drive than another, the studies show humans actually need a balance of all four areas. Failing in one area can negatively impact how we feel about all other areas. When you achieve a holistic balance of all four drives, you naturally access that motivation place within, make that motivation breakthrough, and become highly motivated.
Setting goals, chanting affirmations, working on projects — it all helps, but sometimes you just need a bit more external support.
Some of us thrive from working alone, the triumph is all the more great once you reach the finish line all by yourself. But some of us are team players. Support, camaraderie, creative collaboration — working with others brings a lot to our lives and the things we are trying so desperately to achieve.
If you are not sure what you prefer, just try it. Invite someone to collaborate on a project, partner up with some like-minded colleagues, or join a group. Not only does this sort of networking provide you wish fresh perspectives and ideas, it also provides accountability. Tell people about your goals and projects.
It can really motivate you to know that someone supports your dreams, and is cheering you on.
Increasing motivation is hard when you are tired. Often people are hard-working and dedicated to their goals. But dedication can lead to fatigue, if you don’t pace yourself and self-manage your energy output. Even when you love what you do, even when you feel happy and excited, the mind and body need to rest.
Being “on” all the time, or worse, experiencing chronic stress, can lead to fatigue and exhaustion that feels as if it leeches into every part of life. At this point, you need to be realistic. It is hard to be motivated if you have pushed your system too hard.
To increase your motivation, the best thing you can do is take time out and re-fuel. Take a break from your goals, take a break even from your career or job, just for a little while, if it is possible.
People who care about you always want to help out. Ask those around you to share the load, so you can get away for a while. Ask yourself how long — you know the answer. One weekend? A week? A month?
Soon as you get the rest you need, being motivated and enthusiastic about your goals becomes a whole lot easier.