Maybe you think you know everything you need to motivate yourself or you are still evaluating what you need to motivate yourself to achieve your goals. There are some fascinating things that researchers have discovered about the psychology behind human motivation. It is worth knowing these data so that you know yourself better … And that motivation will never be a problem in your life again.

Incentives are not always the best solution

Many models of motivation focus on a “carrot at the end of the stick” approach, concentrating on the use of incentives to motivate desired behaviors. While incentives can be important and useful in some cases, other factors, such as the desire to achieve and effectiveness, can be even more important. In other words, internal motivation is much more effective than external motivation, because when external motivation ends, the desired behavior also ends .

In fact, incentives can sometimes lower motivation. Incentivizing things that are already rewarding and enjoyable can backfire and really decrease motivation. When people receive extrinsic rewards for activities that they already find intrinsically motivated, they become less interested in participating in the activity in the future. Therefore, something that is done for pleasure does not need any extra motivation … Because the same gratification of doing that action is more than enough.

Intrinsic motivation is what you need

For children (and adults), designing activities to motivate intrinsically can make the learning process easier and more effective. There are some vital factors that can be used to increase intrinsic motivation, such as ensuring that activities are challenging enough but not impossible, which makes the activity interesting and engaging, giving people personal control over how they address the activity. Recognition and praise for efforts are also important, and give people the opportunity to compare their own efforts with those of others.

Praising efforts for ability can improve motivation

Praising ability rather than effort can decrease motivation. Emphasizing innate ability (intelligence, appearance, etc.) leads people to have a fixed view or mindset of their traits and characteristics. Instead, experts suggest that praising the effort and process that went into solving the problem helps children and adults see their skills as something they can improve with effort and consistency. Instead of believing that they are smart or dumb, they see themselves as capable of improvement through effort and hard work … which is what really leads to success!

Willpower is NOT everything

Willpower reserves can be depleted if you overload them too much. In one experiment, volunteers had to use willpower to take on the role of an obnoxious character in a first task and were then asked not to laugh or smile while watching a humorous movie. 

Both tasks required willpower, but the researchers found that participants who had ” exhausted ” their reserves of willpower on the first task found it more difficult to refrain from laughing during the second task. So what is the solution?

When willpower is depleted, it is more important to find sources of internal motivation.  By finding intrinsic sources of motivation , people can recharge their motivational energies … and willpower will not really suffer. But when the motivation is external, then the reserves of willpower are quickly depleted causing you to lose interest in achieving those goals. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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