What motivates you is different for everyone. If you’re big on external or extrinsic motivation, you see outside factors such as rewards or acknowledgement as the most effective way to stay committed to your personal and professional goals. On the other hand, if you’re someone who thrives on the satisfaction of a job well done or knowing that you can cross that one thing off of your list that has been bugging you for ages, internal or intrinsic motivation is more your style (via Psychology Today).
Some internal factors that may push you to succeed can include having control over your schedule or activities, friendly competition, or getting the opportunity to rise to challenges. External factors generally involve rewards such as a promotion or even punishment (via Mental Toughness Partners).
No matter your personal preference, we’ve all experienced times where motivation comes in waves. Sometimes, our attempts to stick to our goals become a never ending cycle of pushing back deadlines, foregoing applying for your dream job, skipping that morning workout and more.
So which motivation produces the best results?
The most beneficial kind of motivation
People perform better when they are intrinsically motivated (via Mental Toughness Partners). The reason for this is that intrinsic motivation makes you more personally invested in reaching your goals, whereas outside factors may be temporary or superficial. However, both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation have value.
A 2014 study published by the International Journal of Business and Social Science aimed to find out whether the effectiveness of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations depended on the generation you are born in. For the sake of the study, researchers classified Generation X as people who may have grown up with two divorced or working parents (or both), which therefore forced them to be independent and skeptical at a younger age. Generation Y was described as being more positive and valuing a work-life balance. Despite the differences, it was found that both generations benefitted from having intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. In the end, maintaining a balance is the best way to stay true to your goals.
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