Motivation is the force that keeps you pushing forward towards your goals, even when they’re difficult or seem impossible to achieve. Without it, you’ll give up on the first obstacle or setback that comes your way. Whether you want to make a big change in your life or just improve yourself at work, learning how to motivate yourself is essential to success.
Psychologists have a variety of theories about what drives people to take action, including biological instincts, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and social and psychological requirements. Each theory looks at the underlying motives that drive behaviors. For example, according to the instinct theory, all behavior is based on an instinct to meet basic physiological needs. Once these are met, the motives shift to other needs such as safety and security, social needs and self-esteem desires, and then finally to higher-level needs such as personal growth and self actualization.
The content theories of motivation seek to identify the specific needs or drives that fuel people’s work behaviors. These include the need for recognition, achievement and advancement (Herzberg), the desire to satisfy the self (Maslow), the desire to gain a sense of identity, purpose, value and self-worth, and a need to contribute to society (Alderfer).
These theories identify the particular aspects of work that stimulate intrinsic or extrinsic motivation in individuals. Intrinsic motivation occurs when an activity is valued for its own sake and enjoyment, while extrinsic motivation arises from the reward or punishment associated with the behavior. Intrinsic motives are more likely to lead to long-term success in a task than extrinsic motives.
One of the most important things you can do to maintain motivation is to work on tasks that adhere to the Goldilocks Rule, meaning that they are not too easy nor too hard. This means that the tasks should be challenging enough to feel just slightly beyond your comfort zone, which will keep you motivated to push through and prove to yourself that you can succeed.
Another key is to clearly communicate the ‘why’ behind each task to employees. When they know how their individual efforts add up to the company’s overall mission, it can increase their internal motivation significantly. This will also help them stay connected to the organization and its values, which is crucial for employee retention and satisfaction.
Motivation directly affects an organization’s performance and productivity, as well as employee morale and workplace culture. Employees who are highly motivated will be more punctual, diligent and will strive to fulfill their responsibilities, leading to increased quality of work. In addition, they will be less prone to absenteeism and will help reduce the costs of recruitment and training. A motivated workforce also provides a stable work environment, reducing conflicts and labor unrest.