The weather is improving, the birds are chirping, and people want to do everything on their to-do list all at once. But, what’s the feeling when you want to do everything all at one time? Inspiration, commitment, motivation— perhaps? Motivation is one of the primary forces that drives human behavior. It is the desire to act in service of a goal, it’s how we set and obtain our objectives. Some people argue that motivation makes life worth living because it enhances social connection and fuels competition.
So, does everyone have only one source of motivation? Do people have different motivating factors? Of course! Generally, people have multiple motivating factors for engaging in behavior. Motivation can be extrinsic, this is when someone is motivated by outside factors (other people, money, grades, fame, etc). Motivation can very well be the opposite, with intrinsic motivation or inspiration comes from within. For example, the desire to improve a certain activity or hobby, to finish a book in one sitting, learning or to cook a new dish.
Who came up with the idea of motivation and the best way to understand it? In 1943 an American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, theorized that humans are inherently motivated to better themselves and move towards their full potential; or as he called it, self-actualization. Maslow continued his theory by establishing what is now known as the Hierarchy of Needs– when you begin to satisfy the most basic and fundamental needs (e.g., food and safety), you are able to progress to higher forms of needs like love, appreciation, belonging, and self-esteem.
How does all this relate to setting goals? Achieving goals is a process. One of the best ways to achieve a goal, through motivation, is by giving that goal a value. Another idea is to achieve goals through a learning perspective versus performance. One of the best examples of this is instead of wanting to lose 20 pounds, learn more about nutrition, intuitive eating, and find some healthy recipes to cook during the week :). Finally, tracking progress is the best way to keep motivation and achieve your goals.
Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Motivation. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/motivation.
Written by: Abrea, 2021 Undergraduate Intern
Want to talk to someone who can help? If you would like to speak to a professional counselor or psychologist about this and are in the Chicagoland area, please feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.