We’ve all been there before — a big deadline you’ve known about for weeks is approaching, and for some reason, you feel frozen. You know you need to get it done, but you can’t seem to muster the inspiration and enthusiasm you need to finish the task.
No, there’s nothing wrong with you, and yes, everyone around you has gone through this before. What you’re experiencing is a lack of motivation. And you can’t get motivated without first understanding what motivation is and where you can find it.
Without further ado, this is your comprehensive guide for when you start wondering how to find motivation. Through appreciating what motivation is, learning how to get motivated and knowing how to stay motivated, you’ll be crushing goals left and right. Never again will you dread a deadline looming on your monthly calendar!
In this guide, we will explore a handful of items, including:
Finding motivation starts at the most basic level — understanding the what, why and how of it. Your first challenge in getting motivated begins now. Continue reading to learn how easy and beneficial it is to stay motivated in your life!
For this first lesson in understanding motivation, we’re going to examine why motivation is beneficial to our daily lives. Quite a few factors contribute to the process, and some key theories apply. Whether you need motivation for school, at work or in your daily routine, this understanding can be the perfect launching point to achieve a lifetime of inspiring goal-setting.
Understanding motivation is essential because it’s how we learn about people, based on what drives them every day. Both professionally and morally, a person’s motivation can influence attitude, thoughts and actions. This identifier allows us to explain others’ behaviors and determine how well we connect with one another.
Understanding your motivation is a challenge because there may be times when you can’t identify the specific reasons for a decision you make. For example, let’s say your family wants to organize a get-together for dinner. You surprise everyone by being a leader and not only deciding when and where to eat, but also personally reaching out to every member of your family to ensure they know the details.
Sounds fantastic, right? But what’s surprising to your family — and maybe yourself! — is that you normally never want to be the decision-maker. You prefer to offer comments and suggestions, but would much rather let your mom be the one to organize and execute the plan.
Your motivation for taking the lead might not be easy to spot right away, especially if this seems out of character for you. After some time, though, you’ll see your energy and determination was a result of wanting to impress your family and show you can step up and take responsibility.
Another reason it’s vital to understand motivation is that it can help you relate with and connect to other people. Not everyone’s motivational factors are the same — what motivates you might not inspire your best friend or sibling. Knowing this will allow your relationship to evolve naturally and prevent harsh judgments that arise from miscommunication and differing opinions.
Motivation is an essential characteristic in the workforce for employers to understand their employees. Everyone comes into a job with goals in mind — and personal motivators are the source of these goals. When an employer understands their employees’ motivators, the professional relationship strengthens.
In general, workers have three engagement levels that set the tone for work commitment and productivity. These engagement levels are:
An engaged worker is someone who is passionate about the company they work for and the work they perform. Their excitement and enthusiasm are palpable to everyone around them. The organization benefits greatly from an engaged worker because they will always be moving forward and experiencing positive growth.
Alternatively, a worker who is not engaged is passive about their work life. There is no excitement radiating from them, and their work is acceptable, though not outstanding. A worker who is not engaged doesn’t value passion in their work — instead, they’re solely focused on putting time into the task at hand.
A more extreme level of engagement is the actively disengaged worker. We’ve all worked with a “Negative Nancy” — someone whose unhappiness and pessimism adversely affect the valuable work engaged workers do every day. An actively disengaged worker doesn’t care about the company as a whole and would rather voice their unhappiness at work than brainstorm ways to change their behavior.
Understanding these various levels of engagement benefits both employers and employees. Your personal motivators indicate the type of work you’ll put in, and will directly influence how engaged you are at work. Every employer or supervisor should be aware of how engaged their workers are — those who are actively disengaged won’t have any motivation and can harm your business.
The factors of motivation can vary by environment, such as work or home life. However, two theorists created models that demonstrate the fundamental motivational factors in all our lives.
First, we’ll look at Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory to understand one of the easiest factors of motivation. Then, we’ll explore Abraham Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs to detail five levels of motivation.
Herzberg wanted to look at what could be a motivating factor with employees at work. He based his research around a list of factors that would either create satisfaction or dissatisfaction among workers.
After realizing there was a somewhat even split between what was satisfying and dissatisfying, Herzberg categorized these characteristics into “hygiene factors” and “motivators.”
Despite the name, hygiene factors are not representative of personal hygiene or health! Per Herzberg’s definition, hygiene factors are those whose needs must be met first and foremost for anyone to achieve satisfaction. These hygiene factors are the characteristics that lead to the highest levels of dissatisfaction in the workplace. The most dissatisfying factor is company policy and administration, or how the business runs itself, with the least dissatisfying factor being job security.
On the other end of the spectrum are the motivators. Once all the hygiene factors are in place, these motivators need to be met to chase what Herzberg calls “true motivation.” In the workplace, the most satisfying factor is achievement — when an employee feels a sense of achievement and accomplishment, motivation and productivity can increase by 40 percent!
Of course, this model doesn’t have to apply solely to a working environment. Everyone has unique hygiene factors they need to meet to go further and achieve true motivation. Maybe your hygiene factors include an organized desk or a protein-packed breakfast! Once you’ve met these needs, you can then move on to tackle the other elements that can bring you true motivation.
Another theorist whose model has become invaluable is Abraham Maslow. His hierarchy of needs identifies five levels of motivation, ranging from essential needs to ongoing growth. Starting at the bottom and moving upward, here are the five motivational levels.
Maslow’s motivational factors function by satisfying levels one through three to pursue levels four and five. All of us need to be well-nourished and healthy to live life and do our jobs. We want to feel safe and secure in every environment. It’s also essential to build relationships and connections with the people around us, whether that’s family members, close friends or co-workers!
Once we’ve achieved these basic needs, we then become motivated by the upper-tier motivators. We want respect from our work family, we want to feel confident in our decisions and we want to be unique in our behaviors. After we gain that acknowledgment from our peers, we then begin to motivate ourselves from within — we’ll find our driving purpose in life, discover our untapped potential and let the creativity in us run wild.
If you’re still looking to determine what motivational factors are affecting you, an easy way to categorize is to divide between two options — intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The underlying principle here is that everything in our environment plays a role in our motivation, just as our inner thoughts and feelings do.
Extrinsic motivation derives from elements in our environment that could increase or hinder our drive to get things done. In an office setting, for example, cubicles can keep some people focused on their daily work, while others feel cramped and like they are under scrutiny. Meanwhile, an open office seems brighter with cleaner airflow, but it can also lead to distracting conversations with co-workers.
Intrinsic motivation involves three internal motivators — needs, cognitions and emotions. Believe it or not, that little voice inside your head can heavily sway your willingness to do a task! The boredom you feel doing a repetitive task at work, such as filing papers or stocking shelves, can affect your intrinsic motivation. You can also gain positive influence from how a task or project makes you feel, like excitement from something new or eagerness for an enviable position.
The bottom line here is that motivational factors come in all shapes and sizes. The practice is simple — meet your necessary, fundamental, most basic needs first, and watch as your motivation for the bigger, more meaningful things in life start to blossom.
Behavioral, emotional and mindset changes are all benefits of motivation. These changes are an excellent way for people to reflect on their actions and thoughts and become a better version of themselves.
In general, the following items are the most immediate and common benefits of motivation:
If you’ve ever expressed hesitance in your current or future role at work, your boss has probably had the chance to incentivize you a little bit. Whether that is an extra bonus or a reward for an accomplished goal, you’ve found the motivation to commit to your company and contribute to its overall success.
When an employer trusts you, they will likely give you more responsibilities and tasks to accomplish. This is a motivational boost, as it allows you to assume ownership and take initiative over your highly prioritized and well-regarded workload.
Motivation in the workplace can also lead you on a successful career path. You’ll improve efficiency and begin wowing your HR team — so be on the lookout for a possible promotion headed your way!
When you’re motivated and in an upbeat mood, you’re more likely to look at the good side of news and not focus on the bad stuff. This perspective shift not only leads to higher levels of satisfaction, but can also lead you away from self-pity and negative talk.
Losing weight or sticking to a diet plan does not happen overnight — despite us all wishing that’s how it worked. Instead, you need a gentle push of encouragement to get you going in the right direction. Motivation benefits you in this way, especially when you include a co-worker or friend to join you in the process.
You know how we just explained how motivation can encourage you to put more effort in at work, which could ultimately land you a promotion? Well, being motivated can also lead to some serious confidence in yourself — and that confidence will help push you toward that new position and higher salary! This push allows you to feel in control of your life, which is a feeling that will also contribute to your happiness in life and at work.
Finally, another rewarding benefit of motivation is wanting to commit to your current relationship and stick together when things seem challenging. When you’re motivated to find new ways to appreciate and delight your partner or spouse, they’ll only love you back 110 percent!
After establishing what motivation is and how it can impact your life, the next step in our guide is to address the root of the problem: Why are you unmotivated?Chapter 2