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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams

9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams

What no one tells you when you first begin working towards your dreams is that motivation is the key to everything!

Without motivation, there will be no fuel to the fire so to speak. You would have no drive to achieve everything you have ever wanted and there would be no reason to move forward!

But what is motivation?

If you’re looking to achieve your goals and you need some help, learn more about how these 9 types of motivation will make it possible to reach your dreams:

The Two Main Categories of Motivation

Different types of motivation fall into two main categories. We are going to review and discuss the major categories before we begin moving into more minor forms of motivation examples.

1. Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is a type of motivation in which an individual is being motivated by internal desires.

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 to pursue this path of fitness and wellness is to improve his health overall and feel more happier with his appearance.

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

2. Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is a type of motivation in which an individual is being motivated by external desires.

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 so that she would be more attracted to him.

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

Minor Forms of Motivation

All types of motivation are going to fall into one of the two categories above. Now that we’ve covered these motivational types and provided you with some examples, here are minor forms of motivation that are capable of making a big impact in your life!

3. Reward-Based Motivation or Incentive Motivation

Incentive motivation or reward-based motivation is a type of motivation that is utilized when you or others know that they will be a reward once a certain goal is achieved.

Because 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 whatever it is that has been promised.

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

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4. Fear-Based Motivation

The word “fear” carries a heavy negative meaning but when it comes to motivation, this is not necessarily the case. Anyone who is big on goal-setting and achievement knows that accountability plays a huge role in following through on goals.

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

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

5. Achievement-Based Motivation

Titles, positions, and roles throughout jobs and other areas of our lives are very important to us. Those who are constantly driven to acquire these positions and earn titles for themselves are typically dealing with achievement-based motivation.

Whereas those who use incentive motivation to 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.

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

6. Power-Based Motivation

Those who find happiness in becoming more powerful or creating massive change will definitely be fueled by power-based motivation.

Power-based motivation is a type of motivation that energizes others to seek more control, typically through the use of positions in employment or organizations.

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Although it may seem to be a bad thing, power-based motivation is great for those who wish to change the world around them based on their personal vision.

If you’re looking to make changes, power-based motivation may just be the way to go!

7. Affiliation Motivation

People often say that it’s not what we do but who 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 them.

They also thrive when those people compliment the work that they do as well as their achievements.

Affiliation motivation is a great force to help you achieve your social goals and move up in the world.

8. Competence Motivation

Have you always wanted to be better at anything you do? Is one of your goals to learn how to do your job better or improve at your hobby? If so, you may be in need of some competence motivation.

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

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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.

9. Attitude Motivation

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

For those of you who are losing out on life because of your attitude, attitude motivation will help you to recover and move forward properly.

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

Motivation is absolutely vital if you want to achieve your dreams. Using the 9 types of motivation mentioned above, nothing will be able to stand in the way of you and your goals any longer!

If you want to maximize your motivation and reach your dreams and goals, check out this guide:

What Motivates You And How to Always Stay Motivated

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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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 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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