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Last Updated on January 5, 2021

3 Steps on How to Figure out What Motivates You at Work

3 Steps on How to Figure out What Motivates You at Work
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Work is called work for a reason. No matter how passionate you are about a certain field, you are inevitably going to run into aspects of your career that you are not fond of. If you are in a current position because of the money or security it provides, you may be even more impacted by the truth stated above, and it can be difficult to find what motivates you at work.

That said, the mindset and approach that we take when we approach anything in life is what dictates our overall experience. If I come to work feeling drained and not wanting to do anything, I am not going to get anything out of my job. If I find motivators in my job that remind me of why I am doing it, however, I am going to fare much better.

The problem that many face when they are trying to find motivation around them is the actual act of becoming aware of these motivators. Awareness is always the first step to change (and it is also the hardest). If you are trying to figure out what motivates you at work, continue reading below for further insight into how you can become a happier, more productive worker!

1. Take a Moment to Consider Why You Are in Your Current Position

When we work somewhere for a significant amount of time, the daily grind can become something that we do on autopilot. When we do work in this mode, we end up losing ourselves along the way, which gets in the way of us finding what motivates us at work.

It is only when we approach work with the mindset of providing value for both the employer as well for the customer that we are able to gain some sense of achievement from it.

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For example, let’s pretend that you are working a basic scheduling job. On the surface it may seem boring to you, causing you to lose focus and energy. When you take a closer look, however, your job is quite important.

People rely on you to make sure that they are getting enough hours, that they can get important days off when they need it, and that the organization runs smoothly, even in times of crisis. You are in charge of all of these aspects, and this ultimately provides value for those around you.

Answer this question: Why do I have this job?

Is this a job that you love doing? Does it involve work that you are passionate about? If you can remind yourself of why you took the job in the first place, you can find that spark to do better work again.[1]

If you are in a job solely for financial reasons, you can still find the motivation to work (even though it may be a little more difficult). We will dive deeper into this concept in the next section.

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2. Map out Your Future

In some instances, our future is more exciting than our current situation, and that’s okay! The good news is that you can leverage your future to your advantage by using it as motivation to work harder.

How?

Consider each job that you hold or will hold as a stepping stone on the path towards your ultimate goal. While your current job may not be very exciting or fulfilling, it serves a purpose. Whether that be in the form of building your resume, teaching you new skills, helping you save the money to look for a new job, or providing extra money on the side, there is a purpose for everything!

In order to benefit from the job that you have and find motivation in it, take a moment to consider the points above. Then, build a plan for the future in order to discover what motivates you at work.

To give you an example, let’s imagine that your path looks like this:

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  • My current job as an office assistant will allow me to save money and learn important skills that I can use in a position above my own.
  • Once I finish my degree this summer, I can apply for a better job in an entry-level marketing position, where certain office-based skills will come in handy.
  • While working in this entry-level position, I can further develop my skills on the side and ask for new projects that meet my needs and capture my interest.

Not only does a comprehensive plan remind you of how your current position serves you, but it keeps you excited in future positions as well.

Remember, however, that goals only work when they are specific, set to a deadline, and broken down into smaller, more achievable tasks. This will keep you highly motivated during work also![2]

3. Take Things Slowly and Set Reminders

Two important things to remember when you are trying to stay motivated is to avoid overwhelm and to keep yourself reminded about why you should be motivated by the opportunity in the first place.

When it comes to work, many people make their jobs much larger and worse than they actually are. You can avoid falling into this cycle of avoidance and despair by reminding yourself that every day is a new day. You can change your schedule around to add in new and exciting things, and focus on your life outside of work.

While work is an important part of your life, it doesn’t have to be draining or boring. By learning what motivates you at work, you can get excited about what you do again.

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The second point above can be achieved by setting small reminders throughout your workplace. If you are someone who is already satisfied with the work that you do and the value you provide, you can make small notes around your workspace that remind you of the services that you offer and how they help others.

If you are someone who is not necessarily happy with the position that you currently hold, you can instead use tools such as goal sheets, calendars, and vision boards to help you keep track of your progress as you move toward your ideal position.

However, make sure to not fall into the trap of resenting your job or acting out. This will only make getting motivated at your job harder!

The Bottom Line

Motivation is always possible to find in any situation. All it takes is a little effort, some gratitude, and the ability to see why your job adds value to your life and to the lives of others.

If you have been having difficulty finding what motivates you at work, use the step-by-step guide above to figure out why you are in your job, where you want to go afterward, and how you can leverage this information to your advantage. What you get out of your situation is ultimately up to how you choose to perceive it!

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More Tips on Getting Motivated

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021

How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up
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It’s Monday morning. The alarm goes off. Do you know how to get motivated at that moment? What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you open your eyes? 

Are you excited to get up and go to work, or are you dreading the day and week ahead?

Whatever your response may be, ask yourself this question:

“What is it that makes you feel unmotivated?” What’s driving you to feel negative or positive about your Monday ahead? If you want to know how to get motivated, keep reading.

The Two Types of People

You likely know of people who have been doing the same thing for years and seem to not have any problem staying stagnant. Whether it be in their marriage, job, or personal endeavors, they seem to be getting along just fine without progressing towards anything “better.”

On the other hand, I’m sure you also know of individuals who focus on the positive, goals setting and are constantly pushing themselves to greater heights. Be it promotions at work, building a family, celebrating marriage milestones, traveling more, or going to school again, these individuals seem to constantly progress towards something that improves or enhances their life.

So what’s the difference between these two types of individuals?

What you feel capable of doing comes down to one thing: motivation. It’s the force, or lack of, that keeps driving you forward to overcome challenges and obstacles to achieve your goals.

Without motivation, you’ll give up after a few failed attempts, or even on the first tough challenge that comes your way. Or you’ll just remain where you are: unhappy yet not doing anything to progress ahead.

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What Is Motivation, Really?

Whether you realize it or not, motivation is a huge force in your life, and it needs to be harnessed in order to excel and actually enjoy whatever it is that you’re doing on a daily basis. If you find yourself thinking, “I need motivation,” there are specific steps you can take.

Unfortunately, many overgeneralize the word motivation. We think of being either motivated or unmotivated as a simple “yes” or “no” state of being.

But motivation is not a switch. As discussed in the Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation, motivation is a flow. To feel motivated, you need to dive beyond the surface. Just reading a motivational quote, being encouraged by your friends or mentor, or writing out a short to-do list won’t help you build sustainable motivation in the long run.

You can think of the motivation that we want to achieve like the Sun (self-sustaining and long-lasting), which supplies a constant influx of energy to all life on Earth. Just like the Sun, your “motivation engine” has different layers, starting from the core and spreading out to the surface. The surface is what you see, but the real process is driven from the core (your internal motivation); and that’s the most important part.

If you can create a self-sustaining motivation engine, you’ll be able to find more meaning in your life and enjoy every minute of what you’re doing, which will make your roles and responsibilities less of a chore. 

Let me help you understand this motivation flow better by breaking down the motivation engine into 3 parts:

  1. Core – Purpose
  2. Support – Enablers
  3. Surface – Acknowledgement

The Third Layer: Surface

The outermost layer, also known as Acknowledgement, encompasses any type of external recognition that might give you motivation. It may come in the form of respect or recognition, such as compliments and praise.

Or it could be emotional support through encouragement, feedback, and constructive criticism. It could also be affiliation, where you have mutual companions or buddies sharing the same goal or burden with you.

One recent study pointed out that “rewards had a positive impact on work motivation but no significant relationship existed between reward and job satisfaction”[1].

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Therefore, it’s important to recognize that rewards will motivate you, but they won’t necessarily make you happier in an undesirable situation.

This is generally what you see on the surface when you look at other people. You see the external acknowledgement, respect, and recognition they’re getting.

The Second Layer: Support

In essence, the second layer of the motivation engine (also known as Enablers) is what supports your goals. They can magnify the motivation core you have, or speed up the momentum that you build. Basically, they create favorable circumstances for things to go smoothly.  

If you want to know how to find motivation, positive enablers are key. This could include friends and family, or any support network you’ve created in life.

The Innermost Layer: Core

But what’s most important, and the true driving force behind your motivation flow, is the innermost core, your Purpose. Your purpose is what differentiates the motivated from the unmotivated, the achievers from the underachievers, the happy from the unhappy.

Your motivational core is your Purpose, and it is sustained by two things: having meaning, and forward movement. With these two as a foundation, you’ll have a power source that will feed you motivational energy indefinitely.

If you want to learn more about the Motivation Flow, join our Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation for free now!

How to Sustain Your Purpose

Having meaning is simple. If you want to learn how to find motivation, just ask yourself a question: Why?

Why are you pursuing a certain goal? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. While motivation provides you energy to do something, that energy needs to be focused somewhere. So without meaning, there is no direction for your energy to focus.

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Yet, having a meaningful objective doesn’t mean you have to change the world or have a huge impact on society. The secret to meaningful work is simple: it should contribute value to something or someone that matters to you.

One study suggested creativity as one possible path to meaning, saying: “Many of the core concepts in work on the meaning of life, such as the needs for coherence, significance, and purpose or the desire for symbolic immortality, can be reached through creative activity”[2].

Next up is gaining forward movement. In short, this means to just keep moving. Like a snowball, motivation from having progress creates momentum. So to keep this up, you have to keep moving.

The good news is, your progress doesn’t have to be huge for you to recognize it. Small amounts of progress can be just as motivating, as long as they keep coming. Like driving a car, you may be really impatient if you’re at a complete halt. But, it lessens if you’re moving forward, even if you’re moving slowly.

Creating a simple progress indicator, like checklists or milestones, is a great way to visualize your small (and big) wins. They trigger your brain to recognize and acknowledge them, giving you small boosts of motivational energy.

This is why video games are so addictive! They’re full of progress indicators everywhere. Even though the progress is completely virtual, they’re still able to trigger the motivation centers in your brain.

Find out What Drives You Today

Why not take some time today and do a quick reflection of where you’re at now? Take one aspect of your life that you’d like to progress further in.

For example, it may be your current job. Start with your why. Write down your reasons for why you’re in the job that you’re in.

Then, think about your Motivation Core: your Purpose. Write down what it is within your job that gives you meaning, and what are some things that will help push you forward in life.

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Once you have those points, it’s time to do a comparison. Does your current job help you make progress towards that purpose that you’ve written?

If it does, you’re on the right track. If it doesn’t, or if you’ve realized your life isn’t going where you want it to, don’t panic. There’re tools that can help you get through this. The Actionable Motivation On Demand Handbook is one of those effective tools that can help you always stay motivated. Get your own handbook and never lose motivation again!

Do your best to not focus on the negative. Review your goals and aim yourself in a positive direction, even if it means that you start small.

Final Thoughts on Staying Motivated

Happiness doesn’t need to be a vague term or illusion that you’re constantly chasing after with no end in sight. By finding your true motivation, you’ll be one step closer to realizing your happiness and finding meaning in everything you do.

You may have tried many solutions to help you stay motivated and found that none of them really have any impact. That’s because they bring about incremental changes only, and permanent change requires a holistic approach. It requires more than just focusing on one area of your life or changing one part of your routine or actions.

You want to make a fundamental change, but it feels like big, unknown territory that you can’t afford to venture into at this point in your life.

The truth is, taking your life to the next stage doesn’t have to be this complicated. So, if you’d like to take the first step to achieving your life purpose, the time to learn how to find motivation is now!

More on How to Find Motivation

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] European Journal of Business and Management: Impact of Reward and Recognition on Job Satisfaction and Motivation
[2] Perspectives on Psychological Science: Finding Meaning With Creativity in the Past, Present, and Future

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