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Last Updated on January 20, 2021

How Self-Motivation Can Be Easier When You Find Your True Calling

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How Self-Motivation Can Be Easier When You Find Your True Calling

Whenever a new year starts, we often make our own new year’s resolution. But how long can you keep it? One week? One month? Six months? Entire year?

Well… You know it by heart.

You want to be healthy but you can’t resist to junk food. You want to get in shape but you are too lazy to sweat. You want to save some money but you continue to spend money on meaningless things. You want to get promoted but you don’t even want to go to work.

Are we just too weak to stay motivated?

Maybe yes. Maybe not.

You are just fulfilling the obligations or expectations imposed by others

When we talk about self-motivation, we talk about ‘self’. It is not about someone else. It is ALL ABOUT YOU. If you are just trying to fulfill the obligations or expectations imposed by others, you will never be able to stick to it. If your parents want you to earn more money and you try to follow, it’s not likely you will have the motivation to do it till the end as you barely know why you should do this.

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You are not sure what you want to do

A vague and unspecific new year’s resolution always die in silence. Not having a clear goal is often the reason why we lack motivation. If you say you want to earn more money, you can’t just say it. Things don’t happen like magic. Without a clear direction, you will feel like running on an endless track. You will easily give up in the middle as you never see the sign which guides you to the finishing line.

You are not ready for a change

‘Let’s leave it for tomorrow.’ That’s the most typical line from a person who lacks motivation. Perhaps sometimes we are too optimistic, thinking that things are not that bad and everything can wait until tomorrow. You might want to lose weight for years but you might only start exercising when you find yourself dying of diabetes. People always only feel the strong need to change when they’re at the edge of a cliff.

And you can’t just let it be

Some even lack the motivation to learn to motivate themselves. But, please, don’t give up.

Self-motivation is an important skill that all of us need to master. At work, being able to motivate yourself and others makes things work better. When you encounter a massive and overwhelming task, you should be able to motivate yourself instead of procrastinating, which makes you harder to overcome inertia.

In your personal life, self-motivation is important as well. Think of the countless time when you lack motivation to go to gym or to save more. How do you feel about these? Perhaps a feeling of failure and frustration. You often feel bad. But if you can motivate yourself and achieve something, you will feel the pride and delight.

Find out what motivates you

Here, the most direct way to motivate yourself is to first find out what motivates you. It sounds straightforward but sometimes it might take a second thought to figure out your motivation.

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There are two kinds of motivation:[1]

Intrinsic: To perform an action or task based on the expected or perceived satisfaction of performing the action or task. Intrinsic motivators include having fun, being interested and personal challenge.

Extrinsic: To perform an action or task in order to attain some sort of reward, including money, power and good marks or grades.

If you find your motive is extrinsic, try to immerse it into your goal. Let’s say your goal is to get in shape, try to think of what kinds of reward you can get during the journey or after you achieve your goal. For example, you might be able to turn it into your career to make money.

Scott Geller’s 4C model

Scott Geller, an Alumni Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech, introduces the 4C’s of self-motivation to help people motivate themselves. They are: competence, consequences, choice, and community.

Competence

Ask yourself two questions first:

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  • Do you believe you can do it?
  • Will it work?

If the answer to both question is YES, then you would feel competent and are more likely to be self-motivated.

It feels like common sense but it’s based on research about self-efficacy. If you don’t believe you can do it and you don’t believe it will work, there’s no point in doing. You can still try but in the next minute you would probably say, ‘See? I’ve told you it doesn’t work’. Then you give up. It doesn’t matter whether you can really do it. What matters is you have to believe it. That’s what keeps you going.

Consequences

Here comes another question, ask yourself:

  • Is it worth it?

From the day you were born, everything you did was because you wanted something from doing it. Babies cry as they want food while children work hard on study as they want good grades.

When you believe you are doing worthwhile work, you are more determined to do it. If you want to get in shape, you calculate the pros and cons. You might feel tired after doing workout but what you can gain might be a good shape and a good health. You compare the pros and cons to see if it’s worthwhile. Once you believe that it’s worthwhile, you would focus more on the pros instead of the cons.

Choice

When you have a sense of autonomy, you are more inspired to do the task at hand.

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Think of the time when you were kids. Everyday you wake up in the morning and rush to school. How do you think about ‘going to school’? ‘I have got to go to class’? Or ‘I get to go to class’? For the former one, it’s a requirement; for the latter one, it’s a opportunity. Although most of us have successfully graduated from school, probably not many not us find motivation in school because we think we have no other options.

So, if you want to do something, do it for yourself. It is nearly impossible for you to feel motivated if that’s only a requirement for you. If you want to be healthy, don’t think it is only because your doctor tells you to do so. Instead, try to relate whatever that motivates you and say that it’s my choice to be healthy.

Community

Social support is critical. People who perceive a sense of connection with other people feel motivated and happier.

The power of a man is limited. And everyone has weaknesses. When things get tough, it’s always good to have someone to remind us and to encourage us. If you get tired and lack motivation, you need someone to remind you the reason why you start at first. Sometimes you also need someone to help you believe in yourself. And most of all, we need to learn from each other.

To know more about the psychology of self-motivation, take a look at the TED talk by Scott Geller here:

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Read This Book To Motivate Yourself!

    Motivate Yourself: Get the Life You Want, Find Purpose and Achieve Fulfilment is a book written by Andro Donovan. It offers practical strategies to improve your productivity, such as how to quieten that negative inner voice that inhibits your personal growth and how to motivate those around you with productivity at the center of everything you do. The exercises introduced help you to move past your self-doubt and propel yourself into living your dream.

    Reference

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    Published on September 27, 2021

    What Is Incentive Motivation And Does It Work?

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    What Is Incentive Motivation And Does It Work?

    We’ve all needed a bit of inspiration at some time in our lives. In the past year or two, that need most likely has grown. Who hasn’t been trying to shed those extra pounds we put on during the pandemic? Who hasn’t felt the need to fake a little enthusiasm at joining yet another Zoom call? Who hasn’t been trying to get excited about trekking back into the office for a 9 to 5 (longer if you add in the commute)? Feeling “meh” is a sign of our times. So, too, is incentive motivation, a way to get back our spark, our drive, and our pursuit of the things we say we want most.

    In this article, I’ll talk about what incentive motivation is and how it works.

    What Is Incentive Motivation?

    Incentive motivation is an area of study in psychology focused on human motivation. What is it that gets us to go from couch potato to running a marathon? What spurs us to get the Covid vaccine—or to forgo it? What is it that influences us to think or act in a certain way? Incentive motivation is concerned with the way goals influence behavior.[1] By all accounts, it works if the incentive being used holds significance for the person.

    The Roots of Incentive Motivation

    Incentive motivation’s roots can be traced back to when we were children. I’m sure many of us have similar memories of being told to “eat all our veggies” so that we would “grow up to be big and strong,” and if we did eat those veggies, we would be rewarded with a weekend trip to a carnival or amusement park or playground of choice. The incentive of that outing was something we wanted enough to have it influence our behavior.

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    Growing up, incentive motivation continues to play a major role in what we choose to do. For example, while we may not have relished the idea of spending years studying, getting good grades, pursuing advanced degrees, and graduating with sizeable debt from student loans, a great many of us decided to do just that. Why? Because the end goal of a career, a coveted title, and the associated incentives of financial reward and joy in doing something we love were powerful motivators.

    One researcher who believes in the power of incentive motivation is weight management expert, co-author of the book State of Slim, and co-founder of the transformational weight loss program of the same name, Dr. Holly Wyatt. Her work with her clients has proven time and again that when motivation fizzles, incentives can reignite those motivational fires.

    “Eat more veggies, exercise, keep track of my weight: These things and more DO work, but bottom line, you gotta keep doing them. Setting up rituals and routines to put your efforts on auto-pilot is one way. And along the way, the use of both external and internal motivators helps keep people on track. External motivation sources are those things outside of ourselves that help to motivate us. They’re powerful, like pouring gasoline on a fire. But they may not last very long. Internal motivators are more tied into the reasons WHY we want to reach our goals. In my State of Slim weight loss program, we spend a lot of time on what I call ‘peeling back the onion’ to find the WHY. I think the internal motivators are more powerful, especially for the long-term, but they may take longer to build. They’re the hot coals that keep our motivational fires burning.”

    Examples of Incentive Motivation

    In the way of incentive motivation, specific to the external motivators, Dr. Wyatt challenges her clients to commit to changing just one behavior that will help them reach their weight loss goals. Clients must then agree to a “carrot” or a “stick” as either their reward for accomplishing what they say they will do or as their punishment for falling short. Those incentives might be something like enjoying a spa day if they do the thing they said they would do or sweating it out while running up and down the stairwell of their apartment building a certain number of times as punishment for not following through.

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    Whatever they choose, the goal must be something they really want, and the incentive must be something that matters to them enough to influence their behaviors in reaching those goals. Some people are more motivated by some sort of meaningful reward (a carrot) whereas, other people are more motivated by some sort of negative consequence or the taking away of a privilege (the stick).

    Another example of incentive motivation is playing out currently with companies and government entities offering perks to people who get the Covid vaccine. Nationwide, offers are being made in the way of lottery tickets, cash prizes, concert seats, free admission to events and discounts for food, and even free drink at local restaurants and bars. The list of incentives being offered to the public to increase vaccination rates is pretty extensive and quite creative.[2]  These incentives are financial, social, and even hit on moral sensibilities. But is this particular incentive motivation working?

    Remember that a key to incentive motivation working is if the individual puts importance on the reward being received on the ultimate goal. So, not all incentives will motivate people in the same way. According to Stephen L. Franzoi, “The value of an incentive can change over time and in different situations.”[3]

    How Does Incentive Motivation Differ from Other Types of Motivators?

    Incentive motivation is just one type of motivating force that relies on external factors. While rewards are powerful tools in influencing behaviors, a few other options may be more aligned with who you are and what gets you moving toward your goals.

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    Fear Motivation

    In many ways, being motivated by fear is the very opposite of being motivated by incentives. Rather than pursuing some reward, it’s the avoidance of some consequence or painful punishment that sparks someone into action. For example, married couples may “forsake all others” not out of love or commitment but out of a fear that they may be “taken to the cleaners” by their spouses if their infidelities are revealed.

    Another example wherein fear becomes the great motivator is one we’re hearing about more and more as we’re coming out of this pandemic—the fear of being poor. The fear of being poor has kept many people in jobs they hate. It’s only now that we see a reversal as headlines are shining a light on just how many workers are quitting and refusing to go back to the way things were.

    Social Motivation

    Human beings are social creatures. The desire to belong is a powerful motivator. This type of social motivation sparks one’s behavior in ways that, hopefully, result in an individual being accepted by a certain group or other individuals.

    The rise of the Internet and the explosion of social media engagement has been both positive and negative in its power to motivate us to be included among what during our school days would be called “the cool kids” or “cliques” (jocks, nerds, artsy, gamers, etc.). We probably all have experienced at one time or another the feelings associated with “not being chosen”—whether to be on a team to play some game or as the winning candidate for some job or competition. Social rejection can make or break us.

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    Before You Get Up and Go…

    Know that, especially during these challenging times, it’s “normal” and very much “okay” to feel a lack of motivation. Know, too, that external motivators, such as those we’ve talked about in this article, can be great tools to get your spark back. We’ve only touched on a few here. There are many more—both external and internal.

    Remember that these external motivators, such as incentive motivations, are only as powerful as the importance placed on the reward by the individual. It’s also important to note that if there isn’t an aligned internal motivation, the results will more than likely be short-lived.

    For example, losing a certain amount of weight because you want to fit into some outfit you intend to wear at some public event may get you to where you want to be. But will it hold up after your party? Or will those pounds find their way back to you? If you want to be rewarded at work with that trip to the islands because you’ve topped the charts in sales and hustle to make your numbers, will you be motivated again and again for that same incentive? Or will you need more and more to stay motivated?

    Viktor Frankl, the 20th-century psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, and author of the best-selling book, Man’s Search for Meaning, is quoted as having said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” As important as external motivators like incentives may be in influencing behaviors, the key is always to align them with one’s internal “why”—only then will the results be long-lived.

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    So, how might incentive motivation influence you and your behavior toward goals? Knowing your answer might keep you energized no matter what your journey and help to further your successes.

    Featured photo credit: Atharva Tulsi via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Britannica: Incentive motivation
    [2] National Governors Association: COVID-19 Vaccine Incentives
    [3] verywellmind: The Incentive Theory of Motivation

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