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

Author: mentalhealth360.uk

Mum to two amazing sons. Following recovery from a lengthy psychotic episode, depression, anxiety and anorexia, I decided to train as a Mental Health Nurse and worked successfully in various settings before becoming a Ward Manager. I am a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and a Mental Health Awareness Trainer, Mental Health First Aid Youth and Mental Health Armed Forces Instructor. Just started my mental health from the other side blog.

18 thoughts on “Why is motivation important”

  1. This is great! Thanks for explaining the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic, I think I hear about extrinsic more but it’s disguised as intrinsic. The interesting relationship between motivation and energy is also something I’m curious about, especially considering certain chronic issues can rob you of physical or mental energy. Excited to read your next post about little to no energy!

    1. Thank you Nathan. I’m up and ready to tackle the post I promised, and let’s see if I agree with my findings. I too, am curious and in need of some ways to combat little or no energy. Yes, for me, I feel robbed of energy due to the chronic physical pain and my constant negative thoughts.

      Tune in later today 😉

  2. I’m looking forward to the next post… I’ve had very little motivation the last several months, because no matter what I do, everything is going to crap…

  3. Really interesting post- motivation is definitely very important. I remember how unmotivated I was when I was going through depression and it just really messed me up at the time.

  4. It’s nice to know the official terms for the two types of motivation! My experience has generally been that extrinsic motivation always wears down while intrinsic motivation is more sustainable. In college, I was very motivated by deadlines in that I worked frantically to complete assignments and turn them in on time. However, every class wore me down more until I started making excuses to procrastinate on my work, which just added more stress to my life.

    By contrast, no one has to urge me to work on my own creative projects. In fact, they motivate me to get other tasks done so that I have more time to write. 😊

    1. Hiya and thanks for your comments. Yes, the research shows that intrinsic is more sustainable and that people tire very quickly of the extrinsic awards.

      I was the same, all my papers went in at the last minute! I think I’m still the same now. always thinking I have more time that I actually do.

      It’s always better to working on your own projects, motivation’s built in then lol. 🙂

  5. Likes this line most : “Motivation is the process that guides, initiates, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors.”
    Right motivation is required for reaching goal.
    Thanks for writing this motivational post.

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