The Importance of Motivation and How to Motivate Yourself

All of us know how important motivation is to get things done. We need to feel motivated to complete certain tasks we might otherwise put on hold. We might push uninspiring work-related tasks until last minute and when we do it, it is because we could lose our jobs otherwise.

Sometimes motivation seem to be too far away to reach, other times we feel so motivated that we end up in a so-called flow. Flow happens when we do things effortlessly and without realizing how long time we have spent immersed in it. We simply lose track of time.

When it comes to motivation, it is important to remember that it is not always so easy to motivate ourselves (or others) and the things that are easy to do in practice isn’t necessarily the most effective way.

In the workplace, leaders who allow employees’ perspectives and let them be a part of forming ways to complete the task are more successful in motivating them, than bosses who simply tell their employees what to do and how to do it – without leaving room for employees’ thoughts.

Teachers seem to be able to motivate their student’s if they find the teaching activities to be personally inspiring, interesting and makes them feel curious.

By letting other’s points of views be a part of the process, and allowing their suggestions to be heard, it is more likely that all this information will form constructive strategies. Even if it is not possible to always make everyone happy, making sure that everyone is heard and being a part of the process will lead to higher levels of motivation.

This is applicable for parents and other relationships as well.

Motivation become effective when we care about the outcome. What people care about is subjective, so to make others care about the outcome we need to adjust the way to reach it so that it makes sense for the parties involved.

We all need to feel like we want to do it in order to feel motivated, whatever it may be. We also want to feel like we have a choice in the matter, therefore being heard and being a part of the process is essential for motivation.

We want to seek success, not avoid failure. When we seek success, the process in which we do things become more positive than when we try to avoid failure, which can be described as a negative process of doing things.

Another part of promoting motivation is to set specific goals. It is easier if one big goal is broken down into several smaller ones.

Let’s say you have decided to write and publish a book. The goal is to get the finished book out there and for as many people as possible to read it. Instead of having this one goal, you can shift your focus to smaller ones. The first one might be writing one chapter a week/month, another goal could be to find a printing house before a certain date and one goal could be to have the first physical copy at a specific date. This list could be much longer and probably is for most writers, these are simply examples of smaller goals to help getting that motivation back on track.

When it comes to motivating others, there are some key aspects to keep in mind;

When we acknowledge what someone is saying, it shows them that we are listening and care about what they say. It is a powerful way to communicate and make them feel heard. By repeating back what is being said it shows that we are paying attention and are listening actively. If we summarize what has been said, it also shows that we have tried to understand the other person and gives them an opportunity to correct us if we didn’t understand what they said. These are ways to support motivation. Keep in mind to not be judgmental and to validate feelings.

Interventions with motivational intent will get worse results when it is focused on productivity, achievement, performance or general well-being than when we focus on people’s own emotions and motivations.

Supporting others by celebrating small victories or great efforts is another way to get more motivated. And who would say no to a celebration?

If you have trouble staying focused on tasks, it could be a good idea to decide to do it for a specific time each day. For instance, you can decide to write for an hour each day, take a daily walk of an hour every day or listen to ten minutes of language learning each day.

The problem is usually not doing it, the problem is usually not doing something else. Not scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, the news or anything else that is draining your energy and ends up being time consuming and uninspiring.

Making the decision to not scroll aimlessly and instead picking up that book you want to read, listening to the basics of the Italian language or deciding to put on your walking shoes and going out is the way to feel motivated. If you take one step out the door, you will take another one, and then another one. If you begin reading one word in your book, you will read the next word, the sentence and then the chapter.

Scott Geller asked in his TED talk The Psychology of Self-Motivation: Did you wake up today to an alarm clock, or an opportunity clock?

Do you get to do what you do, or do you have to do what you do?

Feel free to leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Scott Geller TED talk: The Psychology of Self-Motivation

Awesome TED talk by Stephen Duneier: How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals


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  1. “The problem is usually not doing it, the problem is usually not doing something else.”
    So true! I think this is the biggest problem of doing, it’s about what we have to give up in order to do it, and that can be hard.
    Such good article!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh how I recognize that part of scrolling aimlessly through social media. You always think it’s only for a short amount of time but it’s usually much more and leave you feeling tired.
    Thank you for this, it’s a very good reminder of what to do instead!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Katherine for your kind comment! That is so true and something I’m still working on, too 🙂 ❤

      Like

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