Why is motivation important

Is motivation important in everyday life?

Motivation is important in life
Motivation is important — Image by Clique Images @ unsplash

Of course motivation is important, and in almost every aspect of human behavior too. Why? Without it, we’d do nothing; not work, have no hobbies, and no meeting up with family or friends.

Do you wish you were more motivated sometimes? I think we all do. There are times like weekends when you just want to chill out in your pj’s, and that’s okay. But on other days, we need the motivation to go to the gym, walk the dogs or go to work.

In my previous post Is self-confidence important, the words motivation and action were mentioned briefly. We found out that if there’s no action, there’s no motivation. We also learned that action comes before, and motivation comes after, and with that, comes more motivation. In this post we’ll explore why it’s important.

So what is it?

Motivation causes you to act. adult blur books close up
Motivation causes you to act i.e. to study — Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Motivation is the process that guides, initiates, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors.

It is what causes you to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge.

It involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behavior.”

Very Well Mind

Why it’s important

woman wearing grey long sleeved top photography
Motivation is the desire to do things -Photo by Artem Beliaikin Pexels.com

Motivation is a starting point for all our choices such as partners, careers, or hobbies. It’s the reason for people’s actions, desires and needs, it makes people ready to act. It’s the force that pushes us on to develop, to change, improve and to achieve. 

Psychology Today said “Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It’s the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining goals.”

In school or uni, if we’re motivated we learn better and remember more of what we learned. At work, we’re more likely to complete tasks on time, and in the gym, we’re more able to push ourselves that little bit further.

You can read about the 9 or 11 types of motivation, but broadly speaking, there are two main types:

Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation - woman wearing black sports bra and jogger shorts smiling
Intrinsic motivation — Photo by nappy on Pexels.com
  • is engaging in an activity for its own sake. You enjoy the activity because it’s fun or challenging, not because you’ll get a reward or avoid punishment.
  • where people are generally motivated by a desire to satisfy human needs and comes from within. It’s driven by a personal interest or enjoyment in the task itself, be that at work, in college or in sport. For example, you love tennis and you want to get better at it. You don’t want to compete in the next Olympics, you just want to play, and be better. You’d also love to wipe that smile of your big-headed pal’s face.
  • might come from a person’s own self-confidence and discipline, a desire to please their boss or do well for their company or the desire to achieve certain professional or personal goals.
  • results in growth, i.e. growth due to challenges you’ve overcome or are experiencing. This might come after a divorce or separation and mental or physical illness.
  • is clearly visible in young infants, that consistently try to grasp, throw, bite, squash or shout at new objects they encounter. Even if less important as they grow, human adults are still often intrinsically motivated while they play crosswords, make paintings, do gardening or just read novels or watch movies, according to Ryan and Deci (2000) 

Yet, to get a clearer picture of intrinsic motivation, one needs to understand that it has been defined by contrast to:

Extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation such as money, silver and gold coins
Extrinsic motivation such as money — Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  • refers to behavior that is driven by external rewards such as praise, money, fame, or grades. This type of motivation arises from outside the individual.
  • can be driven by psychological or tangible rewards. The psychological rewards like praise, positive feelings or lack of criticism can sometimes come from within. However, they’re a type of motivating reward that is external to the actual process of participating in the event. The tangible rewards like new toys, a bonus at work or extra pocket money are simply always external.
  • refers to doing something not because you enjoy it, but because you want to earn a reward or avoid punishment.
  • where you don’t want to do something, but you must do it, i.e. take various medications each day. It feels more out of necessity rather than an activity that will bring you enjoyment or fulfilment.

Do you look forward to your daily workout because you have a bet with your best friend about who can lose the most weight? Then you’re extrinsically motivated — in this situation, at least. We’re never just intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. We can be either or, in different situations.

So now we know that motivation is important, what it is, and the two main types. In my next post we’ll explore little or no motivation, and what to do about it. In the meantime:

Over to you

Clipart.com

While I felt motivated to complete this topic in one post, I honestly don’t have the energy. When researching this article, I saw several google suggestions as to How to motivate yourself when you’re tired, fatigued or just plain exhausted! I haven’t read these Bullsh*t claims yet but once I do, I’ll let you have my opinion. I might just have to eat my words 😉 As always, I’m happy to read any comments, receive constructive criticism and answer any questions.

Caz

Is procrastination a bad thing?

123rf.com

Procrastinate: put off till another day or time; defer; delay.

Is this such a bad thing? I mean, we’ve all put things off ’til tomorrow, next week etc. Right? i.e. I’ll start my new diet Monday but never do, I’ll start cramming for my exams soon, I’ll wait ’til hubby’s in a better mood to tell him about the latest credit card bill. And who hasn’t made New Year resolutions? Or who’s said, I must start saving for retirement?

For many people, a little procrastination isn’t harmful — like 15 minutes lost in Facebook or putting off doing the ironing for a few days. However, for some people, procrastination can create massive problems at home, at university and in their workplace. In fact, it can impact on every area of their lives.

According to Joseph Ferrari (Professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago and author of Still Procrastinating: The No Regret Guide to Getting It Done), around 20 percent of U.S. adults are chronic procrastinators. Psychology Today UK agrees “Approximately 20 percent of people are chronic procrastinators.” Yet more, a recent poll by Nationwide Building Society found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of those questioned identify themselves as procrastinators (Luke O’Reilly, The Metro, UK, 2014).

Deposit Photos

A common misconception is that procrastinators have poor time management skills and tho’ this can sometimes be the case, there could be deeper issues at play. Ferrari says “It really has nothing to do with time-management – to tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, cheer up.”

Neil Fiore (The Now Habit, 2007) also wrote that “procrastination is not typically a function of laziness, apathy or work ethic.” It may be a self-defense behavior that develops to protect a person’s sense of self-worth i.e. better not to start the diet than to start it and admit failure to lose weight or better not to put in the exam paper/essay than to put it in and fail – some would rather be seen as being unable to manage time than fail the task itself.

Maria Lamia (What Motivates Getting Things Done: Procrastination, Emotions, and Success) says our emotions are what motivate our behaviour, and that procrastinators are motivated by their own particular emotional history. She wrote about two types of procrastinator: those who procrastinate and don’t get the job done and those deadline-driven procrastinators who do get the job done (and they almost always do it well).

“Many people who delay and don’t get the job done – they delay and fail – often say ‘my problem is that I’m a procrastinator’. We have to remember that failure, for some, creates shame, and people who continuously fail have a lot of shame. They’re not motivated by emotional responses at a deadline, but rather they’re inhibited by them. So when a deadline passes, they blame it on procrastination in order to save face… what’s better than blaming it on procrastinating, rather than look at the emotional issues that are really interfering with you doing the work?” So there are some psychological and emotional elements at work here. Is it a mental health problem?

Although procrastination itself is not a mental health diagnosis, it is linked to a number of disorders, including ADHD, depression and anxiety. On the other hand, procrastination can prompt depression and anxiety.

My youngest son had a real problem with procrastination a few years ago and, at the time, I hadn’t really understood how much it affected him emotionally or mentally. As Head of the Science Department (at the tender age of 26) for a large inner-London High School his procrastination had him preparing lesson plans last thing on a Sunday evening, ready for Monday mornings. Subsequently, leaving it so late led to anxiety and panic attacks. He obviously did well as the school’s Science grades went from being one of the lowest in England to having the biggest increase in grades that year. However, he then became depressed and I was so afraid for him, knowing what that feels like. Fortunately, he sought counselling, where he was able to discuss what was going on for him and work through the emotional issues affecting him. Thankfully he left that job to return to study and now enjoys being a Physiotherapist. He still catches up with his counsellor now and then and I’m really proud of him for seeking help when he needs it.

I suppose I procrastinate too – it’s taken me three days to get this far through my post. But I don’t think I’m a chronic procrastinator and I don’t believe it’s about emotional issues for me – on this post anyway.

Wow! I swear, I have literally just realised why I’m finding it difficult to complete my post about my Psychotic depression – I started it on the 7th of this month! Duh! Emotional issues.

Are you a procrastinator? Does procrastination impact on areas of your life? I’d really love to know.