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9 Types of Motivation to Make Your Goals Happen

Written by Leon Ho
Founder & CEO of Lifehack
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Every now and then, we struggle to find the motivation to do anything in life. There are quick bursts of motivation, but it eventually runs out and you begin to fall behind.

When you begin working towards your dreams, no one tells you that motivation is the key to everything. Without at least one of the types of motivation, there will be no fuel to start the fire.

You would have no drive to achieve anything, and there would be no reason to move forward.

If you want to achieve your goals and need some help, learn these about the different motivation types (or motivation styles) that can make it possible to reach your dreams.

Different Types of Motivation: Intrinsic and Extrinsic

When it comes to categorizing different types of motivation, they generally fall into two main categories.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation

is a type of motivation in which an individual is motivated by internal desires and is satisfied when internally rewarded.

For example, let’s say an individual named Bob has set himself a goal to begin losing weight and becoming healthier. Let’s also imagine that Bob’s reason for pursuing this path of fitness and wellness is to improve his health and feel better about his appearance.


Since Bob’s desire to change comes from within, his motivation is intrinsic.

Extrinsic Motivation

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is a type of motivation in which an individual is motivated by external desires or extrinsic rewards.

Rather than being motivated by the need to look better and feel healthier, let’s say that Bob was feeling pressure from his wife to slim down and improve his physique, both external factors.

Since this pressure comes from an outside source, this is an example of extrinsic motivation.

Find out more about external motivation: What Is External Motivation And How to Make Good Use of It?

Breakdown of the Different Motivation Types

All types of motivation in psychology usually fall into one of the two categories above. Now, let’s further break down intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation:

Types of Intrinsic Motivation

1. Competence Motivation

Have you always sought to improve your skills and talents continuously? Is one of your goals to learn how to do your job better or improve at your hobby? If so, you may need some competence motivation.[1]

Competence motivation is a type of motivation that helps others to push forward, become more competent in a certain area, and improve their skills.

This type of motivation is especially helpful when it comes to learning new skills and figuring out ways around obstacles that one is faced with in different areas of life.


2. Attitude Motivation

A problem with our attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs is an issue that many of us face. It can become a problem regarding how we move through life to the point that we begin to lose our happiness and miss out on our dreams.

For those of you who are missing out on life because of your attitude, attitude motivation is one of the best to help you recover and move forward properly.[2]

Attitude motivation is a kind of motivation that comes to those who desire to change how they see the world around them and how they see themselves. Goals associated with self-awareness and self-change will be met with attitude motivation.

Types of Extrinsic Motivation

1. Reward-Based Motivation or Incentive Motivation

Incentive or reward-based motivation is utilized when you or others know they will receive a reward once a certain goal is achieved.[3] Since there will be something to look forward to at the end of a task, people will often become more determined to see the task through so that they can receive what has been promised.

The better the reward, the stronger the motivation will be!

2. Fear-Based Motivation

The word “fear” carries a heavy negative connotation, but this is not necessarily the case regarding motivation. Anyone big on goal setting and achievement knows accountability plays a huge role in following through on goals.

When you become accountable to someone you care about or the general public, you create a motivation for yourself rooted in fear of failure or disappointing others. This fear helps you carry out your vision so that you do not fail in front of those aware of your goal.


Fear-based motivation is extremely powerful as long as the fear is strong enough to prevent you from quitting.

3. Achievement-Based Motivation

Titles, positions, roles in jobs, and other areas of our lives are very important. Those constantly driven to acquire these positions and earn titles typically deal with achievement-based motivation.

Whereas those who use incentive motivation focus on the rewards that come after a goal is met, those who use achievement-based motivation focus on reaching a goal for the sake of achievement and the feeling of accomplishment that goes with it.[4]

Those who need a boost in their professional life find achievement-based motivation extremely helpful.

4. Power-Based Motivation

Those who find happiness in honing in on their power or creating massive change are fueled by power-based motivation.

Power-based motivation is a type of motivation that energizes others to seek more control, typically through positions in employment or organizations. Although it may seem bad, power motivation is great for those who wish to change the world around them based on their vision.

If you want to make changes, power-based motivation may be the way.

5. Affiliation Motivation

People often say that it’s not what we do but whom we know that dictates our success. For people driven by affiliation motivation, this is most certainly true.

Those who use affiliation motivation as a driving force to meet their goals thrive when they connect with others in higher power positions than themselves.[5]


They also thrive when those people compliment the work that they do, as well as their achievements. Therefore, affiliation motivation is a great force to help you achieve your social goals and move up in the world.

Why Knowing Your Motivation Style is Important

Now that you have learned about different types of motivation in psychology, you should also familiarize yourself with your motivation styles.

Here are some benefits:

  • Helps to change our behavior: Depending on your motivation, it’ll alter your mindset. Where one motivation style could discourage you long-term, another could give you deep personal meaning and push you forward.
  • A deeper sense of satisfaction: Your motivational style will push you to be setting the goals you care most about. This translates to satisfaction as you are motivated to complete the goals you care about most.
  • Grows your interest: If you have no motivation, you will not spend time on it. Having the right motivation means dwelling on something that helps you build interest in that area.
  • Develop traits that serve you: Goals are all about habit building, and when you have the motivation to go through these, you’re developing traits. These traits will help you in that specific situation, but they can be used in other scenarios.

Final Thoughts

Motivation is vital if you want to achieve your dreams. Using the different types of motivation mentioned above, nothing will be able to stand in the way of you and your goals any longer.

Identify what you are trying to achieve in life and which type of motivation will most likely get you there.


Don't have time for the full article? Read this.

9 Types of Motivation to Make Your Goals Happen

Motivation is essential in pushing individuals toward success and achieving their goals. Without having the motivation to do something, you can never achieve or even come closer to your desired goals.

There are different types of motivation, with each driving us towards a specific type of goal. Usually, motivation can be divided into intrinsic (internally-driven) or extrinsic (externally-driven) motivation.

Competence motivation helps you stand out and drives you to be the best version of yourself, while attitude motivation is having a positive and realistic outlook toward your goals and working towards change.

Reward-based motivation is an extrinsic motivation that comes with unlocking small achievements that push you towards your set goals.

Fear-based motivation keeps you on your toes because of the fear of accountability. This type of motivation usually has negative connotations.

Power-based motivation comes with coming into a position of power and aiming for higher powerful riles while affiliation motivation comes with being a part of the group and the need to keep your success pace aligned with theirs.

Featured photo credit: Carlos via unsplash.com


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