“You can motivate by fear. And you can motivate by reward. But both of these methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation.” ~Homer Rice
Ever heard the term “intrinsic motivation” before? Maybe you haven’t, but I’ll bet if you take a moment to read this post, you’ll learn something that can make your life better in just a matter of minutes.
First, let’s define it. According to Psychology today, “intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards. In other words, the motivation to engage in a behavior arises from within the individual because it is intrinsically rewarding. This contrasts with extrinsic motivation, which involves engaging in a behavior in order to earn external rewards or avoid punishments.”
So, in layman’s terms, you’ve got to be motivated to create change because it’s what YOU genuinely want – not because of the fear or excitement of a punishment or reward if you don’t manage to make the desired alterations in your life.
Around here, just understanding the issue isn’t enough – we need to know how to use it to our advantage to improve our lives.
So let’s start here, shall we?
14 Intrinsic Motivation Secrets for Making Everything Better
Scientists, teachers, and business leaders have spent a lot of time trying to find more effective ways to motivate people – and there are thousands of effective (and ineffective methods) to get the job done.
But in almost every situation, one thing is certain and scientists agree: intrinsic motivation works better than external pressure.
Take a look at how to tap into inner sources of inspiration and where to apply them.
How to Use Intrinsic Motivation
- Ask questions. Ask yourself what you would do if you were not getting paid or receiving any direct compensation. Think about the activities that spark your interest and provide gratification.
- Set meaningful goals. This line of questioning can help you identify your purpose. With your objectives in mind, you can set priorities and focus on what’s important.
- Challenge yourself. Aim for targets that are ambitious, without being impossible. Tasks that are too easy tend to become boring. On the other hand, it’s difficult to pursue a dream that seems too far out of reach.
- Give yourself choices. We all like to feel some sense of control. Build a degree of flexibility into your plans. If you’re trying to practice your French, you may want to watch a foreign movie on the days you get tired of grammar drills.
- Search for relevance. Even the most tedious tasks become more meaningful if you can relate them to your values. Pulling up weeds in your back yard reinforces your patience.
- Stimulate your curiosity. Fire yourself up by taking a fresh look at your surroundings. Spend time outdoors appreciating nature. Spend time playing with your children and pets. Ask a librarian to suggest books about a topic you’ve been curious about.
- Accept impurities. Experts debate whether or not human motivation can be completely intrinsic. Even if you secretly want a little public recognition, it’s still valuable to take pleasure in virtuous actions for their own sake.
- Limit material rewards. Studies show that external payoffs can make things less appealing, even if we liked doing them in the first place. Delight in supporting a fundraiser for your local animal shelter, regardless of whether you win a raffle prize. While material rewards are nice, the internal reward is what counts.
- Provide information. Then again, a recent study found that causal information is an effective reward. Boost your motivation by digging up more information about a project. Practical data has the biggest impact.
Where to Apply Intrinsic Motivation in Your Real Life
- Focus on learning. Many teachers and parents struggle to get kids interested in learning, as opposed to just getting good grades. As an adult, you can attend museum lectures, read classic novels, and conduct your own science experiments without worrying about final exams.
- Forget about payday. Make a list of the benefits your job provides that go beyond your salary, benefits, and medical insurance plan. Post it somewhere where you can see it, and remind yourself of why you chose your line of work.
- Get a hobby. Put your leisure time to good use. Pursue your interests and cultivate your creativity. You may discover more about yourself while you’re playing the violin or tending to your vegetable garden.
- Think about others. Transform your relationships by emphasizing what you can give to others. Be willing to let your mother-in-law win an argument. Switch shifts with a coworker when she needs to take the afternoon off. They’ll be more likely to return the favor.
- Value yourself. Consider how everything you do contributes to your self-esteem. Choose actions that honor your true worth.
Looking inside yourself for encouragement will make you feel happier and more accomplished. Rely on intrinsic motivation to move ahead in life.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.