Intrinsic Motivation | How it Can Help You Reach Your Goals
Motivation is the driving force in reaching your goals. It is what creates the passion, desire, and ambition behind your endeavors. What exactly is motivation? Where does it come from? How can we use it to reach our goals?
Human behavior is based on incentives. Every act we engage in is attached to a reason. That reason is your motivation. For example, you are probably motivated to go to work every day because you receive a paycheck which helps support you and your family. Your motivation for going to the gym might be to achieve a healthy body.
Motivation, however, comes in different forms. And the form you use matters! Generally speaking, there are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. While both are important, this article will focus more on intrinsic motivation and how you can use it to thrive. But first, let’s look at how they differ.
Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Motivation
Your motivation for doing something can arise either from outside (extrinsic) or inside (intrinsic) sources.
Extrinsic motivation occurs when we do something to gain outward benefit or to avoid negative consequences. It is associated with rewards, status, and publicity.
Examples of behaviors driven by external motivation include:
Studying to get good grades.
Doing your chores to avoid being punished by your parents.
Going above and beyond at work in hopes of receiving a promotion.
Participating in sports to receive awards and recognition.
Intrinsic motivation occurs when we do something because it is personally satisfying. It has to do more with meaning, purpose, learning, and personal growth. Examples of behaviors driven by intrinsic motivation include:
Studying a subject because you have an interest in learning it.
Going above and beyond at work because it makes you feel good and accomplished.
Participating in sports because you enjoy that activity.
So, to sum it up, extrinsic motivation is sourced from outside of the individual, whereas intrinsic motivation comes from within.
How to Cultivate Intrinsic Motivation to Reach Your Goals
While it’s important to balance both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, an inner motive is often harder to come by. We live in a world full of outward incentives, from money to fame to job promotions, it’s easy to lose touch with our internal objective.
Let’s discover how we can cultivate inner purpose and motivation to reach our goals.
Feed Your Curiosity
What sparks your interest? What is something you’ve always wanted to learn or do, but never really got around to?
One of the best ways to create intrinsic motivation is by feeding your curiosity. Curiosity creates new challenges, builds new experiences, and fosters personal growth, all factors that lead to success. Without curiosity the world becomes smaller, our minds become narrower, and we lack ambition.
In fact, curiosity and conscientiousness--the desire to do what is right, and to do it well--have been shown to be more important when combined than intelligence in predicting success. Learn for the sake of learning. Open your mind to new and different ideas. Satisfy your interests. This will lead to success driven by your inner ambitions.
Create Goals that Matter
Society has conditioned us to strive for material things; a lot of money, a fancy car, and a large house. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with these goals, but they lack meaning.
Don’t just strive for a career that pays well. Strive for a career that fulfills you, empowers you, and makes you want to wake up in the morning. Don’t just hit the gym for a nice body. Workout to maintain your health, strength, energy levels, and to be around for as long as possible.
Material goals are fine, but you need to attach meaning to them. Create goals that fulfill your passions, values, and beliefs.
Do It for a Greater Good
Sometimes, the best way to create intrinsic motivation is to look beyond ourselves and look to something higher than us.
You might believe you are here to make a difference in the world. Volunteering at a charity that is close to your heart can be a great way to build up intrinsic motivation. You might feel connected to the earth. Gardening and other outdoor activities may bring you a sense of peace and joy.
Everyone has a different idea of what their purpose is. That’s OK. Connect with your purpose, whatever that might be, and create goals that will help you live out that mission.
Doing something so that others will give you praise is a form of extrinsic motivation. It is important to remember that praise can come from within as well!
Praising yourself and remembering past successes can be a great source of motivation. People generally enjoy what they are good at. Remembering your victories not only builds confidence but it reinforces your desire and love for that activity.
Don’t be afraid to praise yourself when you do well. Learn to be happy for yourself. Learn to celebrate YOU. That’s the best form of intrinsic motivation.
Competition is a great source of motivation. However, the competition we’re referring to isn’t what you think.
Don’t put all of the focus on outdoing others. Instead, get competitive with yourself. Intrinsic motivation comes from a desire to learn, grow, and be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday. When you develop a growth mindset and compete at the inner level, you’re motivation and drive will be much stronger than trying to compete against someone else.
This might sound counterintuitive. After all, we are talking about competitive sports here. Certainly, competing against others is a great way to keep up motivation. That type of motivation is usually extrinsic and is driven by rewards, trophies, and recognition. Develop a “self-competition” mindset. Focus on your weaker areas and strive to make them stronger. Each time you reach a new goal, no matter how small, consider that a win.
Find the areas where you want to grow. It can be physical, such as gaining strength or speed. It might be emotional, such as managing your stress or anger better. Perhaps you want to work on your relationships with others. Whatever it is, focus on improving yourself and being just a little bit better with each passing day.
Intrinsic motivation is such an important part of success. It’s what allows you to develop your passions and goals based on YOU and not outside sources. While there is nothing wrong with seeking rewards, praise, or profits, it needs to be balanced with an inner purpose. Gloveworx sessions are all about helping you find that inner drive to achieve your health and fitness goals.