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  • Writer's pictureKathy Miles

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation

According to the Business Dictionary online, motivation is “internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal.” So essentially, it is what keeps us working at something and sets us up to achieve it.

There are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic motivation is when you are driven by external factors. These might be rewards such as recognition, money, fame etc. or, it could be that we are driven by the people around us, for example our family and friends. They might pick us up when we get down, help us over an obstacle or, provide encouragement and support.

The most important motivation however, is intrinsic motivation. No matter how many people we have externally on our cheer squad, or what extrinsic motivators there are, if we don’t have the personal motivation to achieve our goal, then we will more than likely still fail.

What is Intrinsic Motivation?

Intrinsic motivation is essentially self-motivation. This means that we are motivating ourselves to do something for internal rewards. This might be doing something because we are passionate about it, we enjoy it or we find it interesting. It is the force that drives us to begin a new path and keep going down that path.

Self-motivation is defined by Business Dictionary online as the “ability to do what needs to be done, without influence from other people or situations. People with self-motivation can find a reason and strength to complete a task, even when challenging, without giving up or needing another to encourage them.”

Why is Intrinsic Motivation Important?

The degree of one’s intrinsic motivation is what determines how committed a person will be to something. Regardless of a person’s skills, knowledge and experience, without self-motivation, it is difficult to succeed.

When we have self-motivation, we are optimistic in facing challenges and obstacles. We have the ability and confidence to face them head on, and although there may be an occasional stumble, we can pick ourselves back up and keep going. This is because we have the personal drive, energy, desire and confidence to pursue our goals.

It also means that we are enjoying what we are doing, so personal satisfaction and well-being is greater.

Without self-motivation, a task looks so much more daunting. People can have doubts, fears and lack the confidence to achieve their goal. Regardless of other people’s beliefs, if we don’t believe that we can do something, then we will achieve our own perception and make this a reality.

Take for example a person who has tried numerous diets and exercise plans in a bid to get healthier. Their family and friends may support them and try to encourage them to achieve their goal, but if they don’t believe that they can do it and they don’t have intrinsic motivation to stick to the diet and do the exercise, then they will not achieve their goal.

How to Motivate in Tough Times

Going through peaks and troughs is perfectly normal, as we all go through rough times or experience times of low energy. Successful people will be those who can navigate through troughs by staying motivated and continuing to push on in the face of adversity.

Here are some tips to help you through those tough times:

  • Goal Setting: Define your goals and commit them to writing. After doing this, put them somewhere that you will see them constantly. Writing them down and being reminded of them will help you stay focused and determined to achieve them.

  • Break it Down: Break your goals down into bite sized chunks. Not many of us can go out and conquer Everest tomorrow with no preparation. Large goals need smaller goals to achieve in order to prepare and lead us towards completion of the larger goal.

  • Identify a Larger Purpose: Think about why you are doing something, what larger purpose will it serve? Think outside the square, it is to make life easier, to make your family happy, is it to make the world a better place or is it simply because you love it? Focusing on the larger purpose as to why you are doing something, will give you more motivation in those tough times.

  • Visualise, Visualise, Visualise: Visualise what success looks like, see it in your mind. Feel the accomplishment and rewards that will come your way after you succeed at your goal.

  • Use Motivational Quotes/Videos: Find videos or quotes that will motivate you. Reading and hearing them again and again will increase your self-belief.

  • Find a Mentor: Search for a person who has done something similar and ask them to be your mentor. They can help to motivate you and give you plenty of ideas that you can apply for yourself.

  • Work with Like-Minded People: Seek out people that have the same thinking as you. People who are optimistic, positive and engaging will help you to stay focused and motivated. Negative people will only lead you to thinking negatively as well.

  • Ask for Support/Help: Realise that it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help and support if you need it, after all, that is what family and friends are for!

If you can keep motivating yourself, you can keep working towards your goal until you accomplish it. Anyone who ever achieved anything great will tell you that it took a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears!

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