What Drives Motivation?

What Drives Motivation?
Most of us have experienced moments in our lives when we aren’t motivated to do something. Maybe we want to pay our bills, declutter a closet, or clear through old paper piles. Maybe we want to exercise, go back to school, or learn another language. The problem is we don’t feel motivated enough to act. So what exactly is motivation? “Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. Motivation is what causes us to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge” (“What is Motivation” Kerry).
The 3 Components of Motivation

1. Activation involves the decision to initiate a behavior, such as enlisting the help of a professional to work with you to achieve a desired organizational goal, or using a calendar to set and keep organizing appointments with yourself.

2. Persistence is the continued effort toward a goal even though obstacles may exist such as feeling overwhelmed about the amount of accumulation in your home. Persistence may require a significant investment of time, energy, or resources.

3. Intensity can be seen in the concentration and vigor that goes into pursuing a goal. For example, one individual might coast by and not need to give much thought as to what they want to keep or where to store things, while another individual might work regularly on trying to remain on task or incorporate maintenance activities into a schedule.

Extrinsic Vs. Intrinsic Motivation

Different types of motivation are frequently described as being either extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic motivations are those that arise from outside of the individual and often involve rewards such as trophies, money, social recognition, or praise. Intrinsic motivations are those that arise from within the individual, such as doing a complicated crossword puzzle purely for the personal gratification of solving a problem.

While there are other factors that determine our level of motivation, such as instinct, need, and arousal levels, it is helpful to understand the components that motivate us, or drive us to act on our path to a specific goal. You can increase your motivational level by increasing your chances of success. Remember to break tasks down into manageable steps and reward yourself by doing something you enjoy doing after you have completed a task.

Parts of this article have been summarized or copied from Kendra Cherry’s article, “What is Motivation.”


Jenny Power, Absolutely Organized

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