Motivation is the desire to act in service of a goal. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining one’s objectives and research shows that people can influence their own levels of motivation and self-control.

Motivation is a powerful, yet tricky beast. Sometimes it is really easy to get motivated, and you find yourself wrapped up in a whirlwind of excitement. Other times, it is nearly impossible to figure out how to motivate yourself and you’re trapped in a death spiral of procrastination.

Motivation can have many sources, and often people have multiple motives for engaging in any one behavior. Motivation might be extrinsic, whereby a person is inspired by outside forces—other people or events that transpire. Motivation can also be intrinsic, whereby the inspiration comes from within a person—the desire to improve at a certain activity. Intrinsic motivation tends to push people more forcefully, and the accomplishments are more fulfilling.

How Do You Start Working on a Goal?

The first step to set specific, achievable objectives.

First, think about why you’re setting the goal and what you want to change. What’s the next job you’d like to obtain? How do you hope your relationship improves? Identifying the importance of the goal can focus attention and strengthen the motivation to accomplish it.

Divide the overarching goal into a series of small, specific, measurable tasks. Small goals are easier to accomplish, and checking each one off the list may invigorate you to keep going—as will the hit of dopamine delivered after completing a task. Making items measurable also allows you to recognize and celebrate when each one is finished—and then move on to the next step.

Create a plan to accomplish each small goal. Balance a realistic understanding of the challenges ahead with confidence that you can overcome them.

22 thoughts on “Motivation

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