Everyone needs some motivation. Without it, we tend to lose interest in meaningful activities, and for most of us, that’s work.
There are many sources of motivation–external or internal factors that help you get started on a new project or keep up with your daily tasks. But what happens when all these factors fall away? What can you do to find your motivation when you don’t have any left?
The first step is making yourself aware of your various sources of motivation so you can revive them if they fade away. To begin, consider two broad categories of motivations. One set comprises external motivating forces–rewards, punishments, prizes, recognition–that come from outside ourselves—the other consists of internal motivations–our feelings, thoughts, desires, and dreams.
In the workplace, external factors that influence motivation often revolve around rewards and recognition from others. Some common motivators include receiving a bonus or promotion when you meet specific goals, being recognized publicly for your hard work, having your manager take time to go over what you’ve done right in a project, or complimenting a new business suit.
The keyword here is “recognition.” People tend to be motivated by things they feel good about–accomplishments they can see themselves making and meeting their own unattainable goals.
While these types of motivations are essential parts of our lives at work, there are several problems associated with them:
- Employees may not receive the recognition they deserve.
- Their goals may be unrealistic.
- The glory they do receive is fleeting.
Start by addressing the first problem–failure to receive the recognition they deserve for a well-done job. While rewarding your employees with promotions or bonuses can be valuable motivators, you also need to show them that their work matters and is appreciated. That means taking time during regular conversations to comment on what they’re doing right and explaining how valuable those efforts are to achieving business goals.
In some cases, workers may find themselves setting goals that aren’t realistic in terms of the time frame or resources needed to complete a project successfully. They might have certain expectations about their pay raises or promotions due to meeting these goals when it might not be possible.
To address this problem, you need to communicate with your employees more frequently about what they’re capable of achieving and the resources available to them. A great way to do that is through regular meetings (more on that later). A manager who helps their employees set realistic expectations will find that they are more motivated to succeed.
Finally, there’s the problem of motivation fading quickly once others recognize it. Employees grow accustomed rather quickly to praise and positive reinforcement for hard work; if recognition is sporadic or too far apart, workers can lose interest in their projects or tasks over time. One solution would be to institute a reward system where employees receive some prize for certain milestones related to their projects.
The other category of motivation is internal. By definition, this means that motivation comes from within us rather than without–like dreams and desires for self-improvement or feelings about your abilities to carry out a certain task.
Most people are familiar with the concept of having big dreams or “great expectations” as part of their lives. The fact is, most successful people have these aspirations, but they also know they need to break down those dreams into small steps that can be completed regularly if they want them to come true. That’s where you can help your employees by assisting them to set goals so they can work toward accomplishing the smaller steps every day. Meeting regularly with your employees will give you an excellent opportunity to ask them their purposes and how you can help keep their motivation strong.
When it comes to having expectations about your abilities, people typically find that they perform better when they think positively about themselves rather than negatively. If an employee has trouble keeping up with certain types of projects, they may feel like a failure every time something isn’t completed on time, leading to fewer projects because they don’t want to let everyone down again.
For this type of situation, the first step is making sure you understand where your employee’s feelings are coming from; chances are there’s another underlying cause at play (from factors like lack of training or unrealistic project specs). Once you’ve discovered any problems influencing performance, you can help your employees develop a plan to improve their abilities. This will have the dual benefit of boosting their motivation and giving them a clear path toward success, encouraging them to work harder and complete tasks more frequently.
There are also certain personality traits or characteristics that influence how people motivate themselves from within. One study found, for example, that people who rated high on what’s called “internal locus of control” (meaning they felt responsible for taking care of things like their own health and finances) were able to stay motivated and achieve goals without relying too much on external factors like praise from others.
Finally, we come to the issue of controlling yourself rather than allowing yourself to be controlled by circumstances around you; in other words, dealing with stress. When you are stressed out, how well are you able to handle adverse reactions? People who struggle with this are less likely to be motivated because they assume their mood will impact how they approach problems or respond to criticism.
If employees acknowledge that their lousy mood could get in the way of completing specific tasks, they can take steps ahead of time to exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. They can also learn strategies for coping when stress does occur–like deep breathing or stepping away from a problem for a few minutes rather than jumping straight into doing something that might not work.
Self-motivation is what drives us toward success; it’s our motivation that carries us through the tough times until we’re able to complete our projects and reach our goals. Just remember, the better you know yourself and what drives you, the more likely it is that your employees will be able to do the same–and work toward their dreams of success.
Some steps that will help you to be motivated every time:
Define your goal
What is it that you are looking to accomplish? What would success look like for you? Defining your goal starts with thinking about this. You should have an idea of the outcome before beginning the process. The clearer your destination, the more easily achievable it can become. So be very clear in your head about what success looks like in terms of reaching your goal. Write down what success looks like for this project if necessary, even if only in rough draft form!
Create a clear vision
The first step to making a positive change in life is creating a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. Create the highest, grandest vision possible because you can achieve only what you see. If it doesn’t speak to your heart, it won’t motivate you to stay on target.
If anything is holding you back from having success, it’s an unclear vision of where you are going and why.
Produce a plan
A plan is a proper way to approach a goal. If you have already set your goals, it’s time to identify the steps you need to take to achieve your dreams. A good plan can mean the difference between success and failure.
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there – Lewis Carroll
Look for the bigger picture
Do you find it hard to stay motivated? Well, try looking at the bigger picture. When you are thinking about goals that are important to you, think of what they will mean for others. Try your best to look at how it will impact you and make a difference in other people’s lives. If you can get more specific and try to visualize not only yourself but the person or group of people with whom this goal will help, you might be able to accomplish even more than what would have been possible otherwise.
Keep it positive
Have you ever stopped to think how much words affect us? How do they make some people motivated, some depressed, some successful, and others not successful?
Positive thoughts lead to positive actions, and self-affirming statements will help you to achieve your best. Take control of how you think, how you feel, how you act. Positivity will help you make the choices that lead to accomplishment.
Here are eight positive affirmations that hopefully will motivate your day every time:
1) I am motivated
2) Today is a new day filled with opportunities for me!
3) My dreams are within my reach. If I want it enough, I can have it!
4) Today, I will achieve my goals.
5) Today, I will be motivated!
6) I am motivated and positive about everything that comes my way.
7) Believing in myself is the first step to success.
8) No matter what life brings me today, I will make it through with self-belief!