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Last Updated on August 17, 2021

21 Powerful Words That Will Give You Life Motivation

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21 Powerful Words That Will Give You Life Motivation

Motivation is life-changing. Your life is changing every day. What happens today, you wouldn’t have imagined a few months ago. What would tomorrow bring? You might only find out tomorrow.

Change is either changing for the better or it is slowly changing for the worse.

 “Change happens in an instant.  It happens the moment you decide to change.”

Motivation is derived from the verb “motivate,” which means “move.” It is the burning desire that compels you to take action. It is so deeply intertwined with what you believe to be true and right in life that it moves you from a simple desire to a moment of decision. Have you ever watched a working dog? The only motivation is YOU.

You are going to be different tomorrow.  Stop feeling stuck.  When you decide to be different, you will find motivation seeping into thoughts and into your actions. Motivation causes you to take action, it becomes an inner drive fueling you forward.

We all believe something.  When was the last time you asked yourself, “What do I believe? What role does faith play in my life? Why was I placed on this earth? What is my purpose in life?”

Remembering that motivation is a verb meaning to “move” or take “action.” Family, friends, co-workers and the people all around us are key motivators for how we act. Surround yourself with great people and you will surround yourself with great motivation.

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So, how to find life motivation? These 21 motivational words will inspire you:

1. Goals

It should be no surprise that goals motivate us and inspire us.  The most powerful goals are self-directed goals.  Self-directed internal goals.  They include understanding your priorities and purpose in life, knowing what you believe to be most important and using those goals as a daily guide for how you will choose to live your life.

If you need a bit of help on setting and reaching your goals, The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen is what you need. You can now grab this guide for free, and learn how to make your goals happen this year.

2. New

Choosing to learn something new every day will give you a reason to grown and change.  This could be something as simple as driving to work via a different route or signing up for guitar lessons.

3. Challenge

Challenges are frequently seen as some sort of contest like the final four during March Madness.  Challenges draw out the best in us.  A simple challenge might be to decide to go to bed fifteen minutes earlier for thirty days to see if it improved your daily productivity.

4. Truth

Truth does not waver.  Something either is true or it is not.  Truth provides a firm foundation to stand on.  Truth strengthens, encourages, and will guide you correctly.

5. Determination

You’ve met them.  Those rare individuals who are determined to continue regardless of how difficult the circumstances.  Determination literally means you are willing to put a “stake” in the ground.  It is not a casual choice.  There are very few things humans will determine to mark as permanent placeholders for their beliefs.

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6. Laughter

Laughter heals the soul.  Why is it that children laugh hundreds of times a day and adults laugh only _____ times?   Laughter occurs when something unexpected happens that causes your brain to emit a signal to your lungs to expel a short burst of air causing you to make audible noises that are a signal of joy all across the world.

7. Perseverance

Perseverance reminds me of a road or a bridge – a specific course or path we all walk down.  When you feel hopeless and lost, that is when perseverance counts the most.  Perseverance is consciously choosing to stay on your path even in the midst of incredible difficulties.

8. Freedom

Having a sense of control or autonomy over your time and your actions is a powerful motivator.  Freedom liberates you to dream and imagine and create.  Freedom of stress is one of the most sought after psychological goals.

9. Tenacity

Tenacity is a word originating with the meaning of adhesiveness.  There are frequent times you will find you need to “stick together”.  Tenacity never gives up.  It never lets go. Willpower lives in the core of your being.  Willpower moves you, motivates you and causes you to take action for good or for bad. This inner drive is the control center for many of the decisions you will choose to make moment to moment.

10. Faithful

Faithfulness is a rare quality in today’s world.  It is choosing to remain reliable, trusted and constant.  It carries a sense of attachment and devotion to people, causes, organizations and beliefs.  Faithfulness is a foundational motivator.

11. Endurance

This word literally means to have the ability to endure suffering over long periods of time.  Grit is stone broken down, but it is still stone.  It speaks to the indomitable toughness it can take to push through life’s most difficult trials.  Endurance when accepted can build character, patience, wisdom, empathy and compassion.

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12. Novel

Novelty is also one of the most unexpected motivators.  When you experience something for the very first time or you see something you have never seen before you may find yourself swept away with emotion.  The birth of a child.  An unexpected gift.  A surprise ending to a difficult moment in life.

13. Tragedy

Life is full of heartache and indescribable pain.  War, illness, death, divorce, financial problems, and injustice.  Tragedy regardless of the pain is full of opportunities to learn and grow and find renewal and hope.  Tragedy shows you are never alone.

14. Learning

Any gap in understanding will motivate you to want to fill that knowledge gap.  If you want to know more about leadership – read books by great leaders.  To learn how to train a dog – hire a dog trainer and take lessons.  The incremental acquirement of new knowledge becomes a self-motivating driver.

15. Anticipation

The act of looking forward to something important happening in your life.   When you are just given a glimpse of a future success or opportunity the anticipation releases an incredibly powerful chemical called dopamine into your system.  Everything you have ever wanted in your life you were first motivated to strive for attaining it because you anticipated the feeling of importance it would mean to you.  Dopamine is the brain chemical of anticipation.

16. Courage

Lt. Col. (retired) Dave Grossman shared a single quote of where the bravery of being an Army Ranger came from for him.  He said, “Courage is just being willing to take one more step.” Sometimes the only motivation you need is to take just one more step.

17. Hope

When used as a noun hope only a feeling, but when used as a verb hope becomes the focal point of your motivation.  Sometimes in life all you have is hope.  And, in those moments hope will be more than enough.

18. Time

Time is not merely a framework for how the minutes, hours and days pass by – each day is like having a blank canvas sitting in an art room filled with unlimited options.  Improving your motivation through improving your time management will require you to reduce the number of choices you have to let into your life.  You will find simplicity and peace in narrowing your focus and increasing your energy and attention only on accomplishing the tasks that bring motivation and meaning in your life.

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19. Love

The foundation of life is love..  There is no way to create a life of meaning without love.  There is no motivation, no reason to move or change or engage in life without love.  The foundation of motivation is love.

And, Three That Might Surprise You

20. Brain

The prefrontal cortex is the thinking part of the brain. This is where life happens! In this space just behind your forehead, ideas are created, thoughts are pondered, imagination grows (or dies), judgments are made. This part of the brain is highly specialized in humans; this is where you define meaning, plan for the future, and imagine. Your values, priorities, purpose, goals, drive, learning, love, and hope all live here.  Motivation is a decision.

21. Attention

You experience the depths of motivation when your attention focused so intently on completing a task or a project or a hobby that challenges you to such a point that time stands still.  When you are in that moment – swept away from stress and worry – concentrating with full attention – you don’t need motivation – you are experiencing motivitation.  At that moment you are motivated.  You are in the process of taking action.  And, in those amazing moments you realize the life-changing power of motivation.  You understand the difference between existing and thriving.  And, in that moment – life oozes out of you.  And, motivation is contagious.

22. Time Management

Your personal time management skills affect the levels of motivation you experience in life.  Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter is a sports psychology expert and coach to Olympic athletes, as well as being a world-class athlete in her own right. She says, “It starts with a dream; motivation comes from within.  It has to be an inner desire, an inner fire, a willingness to achieve something you are passionate about.”

Far too many people only focus on the hard parts of life that motivation can guide us through.  By improving your time management you can create daily blocks of time to focus your time and attention on the part’s of life that motivate you.

Action Steps:

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  • Assess your current schedule
  • Determine which activities motivate you and which activities drain you of energy
  • Take time to think about what you really want out of life (preferably away from work or home)
  • Clarify what you want in life by writing down personal or professional goals
  • Create a plan of action – prioritize or sequence the individual action steps you need to take to accomplish your new goals
  • Use a pen and paper to schedule when you will take these actions.
  • Then take action.
  • Remember “motivation” comes from the word “motive” which means to “move” – or to take “action.”

You can find more time management techniques here: 10 Practical Ways to Improve Time Management Skills

More Motivational Tips

Featured photo credit: Lethicia Matos via unsplash.com

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Allyson Lewis

Allyson is a nationally acclaimed author, motivator, speaker, time management, productivity strategist, and executive coach.

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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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