Every now and then, we struggle to find the motivation to do anything in life. There are quick bursts of motivation, but it eventually runs out and you begin to fall behind.
What I tell people who struggle with motivation is this: you can’t just focus on motivation. You need to focus on your motivation style to figure out the best way to stay motivated. Knowing what your motivation style is is the key to perpetual motivation.
Why Knowing Your Motivation Styles Is Important
I’ll go into detail of what these styles are in a moment, but first, why is knowing your motivation styles so important? Here are some benefits and reasons that are worth knowing about:
Change our behavior – Depending on the motivation you’re using it’ll alter your mindset. Where one motivation style could discourage you long-term, another could give you deep personal meaning and push you forward.
A deeper sense of satisfaction – Your motivational style will push you to be setting the goals you care most about. This translates to satisfaction as you have the motivation to complete the goals that you care most about.
Grows your interest – If you have no motivation, you’re not going to spend time on it. Having the right motivation means dwelling on something that helps you build interest in that area.
Develop traits that serve you – Goals are all about habit building and when you have the motivation to go through these, you’re developing traits. These traits will help you in that specific situation, but they can be used in other scenarios.
Knowing your motivation styles gives you a better sense of self-awareness. You’ll be able to identify problems and find the motivation to push through them and persist.
Do You Know Your Motivation Style?
You may have multiple motivation styles that work for you. By having several styles available to you, you could leverage motivation from several sources to reinforce habits.
To help you figure out your motivation style, we’ve got a convenient and free assessment What’s Your Motivation Style? to help you.
With this Motivation Style Assessment, not only do you get a clear idea of what styles suit you but you will learn how to leverage your motivation styles to always stay motivated. The assessment will provide you with a detailed analysis for all the motivation styles, and you can easily identify your primary and secondary motivation styles so you know which ones to rely on more. Take the assessment here for free.
Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
But before getting into the specific styles, there are two core types of motivation that are essential to understand: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Understanding these types of motivation will help because you’ll have a better grasp of when to use one over the other.
Extrinsic motivation is also known as external motivation – motivation that’s coming from around you. Examples are Youtube videos, motivational speakers, posters or articles that inspire you. Anything from the outside that impacts your motivation is extrinsic.
Intrinsic motivation is the opposite. It’s internal motivation and is believed to be the superior motivation since it’s all coming from within. One of the prime examples of internal motivation is having a why or a specific attitude toward your goals.
Both of these motivations are crucial – regardless of one being supposedly better than the other. There are specific situations where these types of motivation can shine and are not without their own shortcomings.
The 8 Motivation Styles
From those two major types of motivations comes the motivation styles that I’ve been talking about.
This motivational style happens beyond our own explanation. This type of motivation is primal and something that we can’t ignore no matter how hard we try. This type of motivation is highly situational and you’ll likely find it in covering your basic needs.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory explains that and is a good example of this motivation at work. The theory states that we’re all motivated to cover our basic needs like food and shelter but also those higher-level psychological needs and self-fulfillment. We all have this type of motivation from the start.
This type of motivation stems from the achievement of a task or a goal itself. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re motivated solely by the reward that comes with it. Instead, you find motivation through the process, you take joy and find self-motivation by going through the steps and making progress little or big.
An example of this is losing weight. Someone who is achievement motivated is someone who takes joy in stepping on the scale and seeing they dropped a few pounds. They might not be at their target weight goal yet, but the initial loss in weight is inspiring.
Another form of intrinsic motivation is attitude motivation. It’s the type of motivation that is cultivated by your desire to change the way you or others think and feel. Those who are motivated in this fashion excel at engaging in actions and interactions in order to embolden those around them, providing words and actions that make others feel better or uplifting.
An example of this is motivational speakers. For those around them, it’s all external motivation. But that positive and uplifting feeling is something that compels the motivational speaker to get on stage, shoot videos, and provide motivational content in the first place.
4. Competence & Learning
Also called learning motivation, its motivation leans further into the process than the reward. Think of it as achievement motivation but all they care about is the process and learning aspect.
This type of motivation is all about getting better and finding motivation by moving the needle of progress towards completing your goal or task. The destination is nice, but it’s not the main reason for what you are doing.
Out of the intrinsic motivation styles around, this is the most valuable one. It’s the type of motivation you’ll experience when you’re working towards any goal or task. Every bit of progress you make will bolster you. Again, it’s similar to losing that couple of pounds on the scale. Other examples are being half done writing up reports or a school paper.
Moving to extrinsic motivation, the most prominent one you’ve probably heard about is incentive motivation. What this means is that you find motivation in the results or rewards rather than in the process or completing the goal or task.
A good example of this is signing up to participate in a marathon because you want to win. You’ll train hard every day so that you have higher odds of winning. Another one is studying for a test because you want to have the highest mark in the class.
Fear motivation is finding motivation in driving yourself into fear or in an uncomfortable position. Because of this nature, the external influence is going to be something negative, but effective. An example of this is that you’ll find the ability to work overtime because the fear of not being able to pay for your bills will cause you unease. The fear of what your inability to pay can provide you with enough motivation to push forward.
You can also twist it into a positive light. For example, say your family has a history of heart problems. That fact can lead you to work out more frequently and maintaining a healthy body.
Those who are motivated by power are people who are motivated by having control over their own lives and can be extended to others as well. Everyone wants to be able to make choices and if you’re given more options to pick and choose, you’ll find this motivation manifesting in your life.
An example of this motivation is given the option of what kind of school or career you’d like to pursue. This provides power motivation since it requires you to be intentional with your thoughts and actions and allow you to manifest the life you want to lead.
8. Affiliation & Social
The final motivation style is affiliation and social motivation. This sort of motivation is something that is innately in us as it’s motivation that stems from our desire to connect and contribute to a social group.
Diving deeper into this, you will find motivation stemming from this to revolve around your desire to be accepted and to belong in particular groups.
Now you’ve probably already got an idea of what motivation styles suit you but if you still haven’t taken the Motivation Style Assessment, I recommend you to do this now: What’s Your Motivation Style?
When you have an understanding of what motivates you, you’ll have more control over your own life. You’ll be able to better change yourself and push you through that change.
On top of that, there also comes deeper understanding in what brings you satisfaction, what you’re interested in, and ultimately have habits that contribute to your growth.
Shared from Leon Ho Founder & CEO of Lifehack