What motivates you?

As you look to the promise of the New Year, what’s next for you? Are you looking to create a change? Is it a small change you desire like rearranging the furniture or a really big, scary change, like the answer to “I don’t want to be here anymore?”

Whatever change or growth you desire, whether it’s pushing you away from something or pulling you towards something, the drive to change is your motivation, and the source of your motivation is your motivators. 

Knowing and understanding what’s motivating you and why they’re important to you is key to guiding your life path for living a successful, fulfilling life. This link between motivators and motivation and setting and achieving your goals is a critical success factor.

So, what are they for you?

What motivates you, and why is it important to you? How do you tap into them to cause what you want? This is a very personal inquiry. Only you know the answer.

Conscious Awareness – Choose Your Motivators

Understanding your true self, including your unique needs, wants, desires, and aspirations, helps you know what’s most important to you and what direction you want to grow.

This is the first critical step to setting and reaching any goal and causing any change. They are the “real” personal reasons that move you to do things, whether you get things done or not, and have the life you want most. 

Choosing the right motivator for you can spark the inspiration you need to muster the courage to take action to move closer to a goal. Equally important is to sustain your motivation, to keep your motivation fire burning throughout the year. 

Needs & Deficiency; Wants & Growth

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how humans fulfill potential serves as the perfect reference for understanding needs and motivation. This work assumes human beings are motivated by a hierarchy of needs, and the basic/lower level needs must be more or less satisfied prior to a higher need. 

Your needs are the required, must have basic necessities to live a healthy life – food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care, etc. These are common and essential for all humans and have a sense of urgency that drives them to be fulfilled because non-fulfillment may result in disease or even death. 

According to Maslow, these are Deficiency Needs because they represent scarcity and lack; these needs do not continue to motivate when fulfilled. Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy, Levels 1 – 4.

Your wants are not required to live a healthy life or for survival and can be fulfilled in the present or in the future. They are your good to have, your heart’s desires, your wish to have! These are unique to you. 

According to Maslow, these are Growth or “Being” Needs because they represent an ongoing process of fulfilling these needs, and when fulfilled, they continue to motivate. Examples of growth needs include learning, appreciation, actualization, service to others, etc. Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy, Levels 5 – 8.

“When you stop growing, you start dying.” William S. Burroughs, American writer, and visual artist

Motivators and Your Goals

Your motivators drive you to set and keep focused on your goals – perfect for this time of year. Staying connected to them throughout the year will support you as you take inspired action (the act of doing rather than avoiding), spark and sustain motivation, build momentum, grow, and transform. 

This is critical as the year ticks on, and life shows up with its distractions, competing demands, and resistance blocks your path, challenging your focus and commitment. 

Motivation – Are you moved from inside or outside?

Motivation is an individual, internal mental process, and force that supports you in achieving specific goals and performing tasks more efficiently. It makes things happen for you by causing you to take action, make a move, do something, create things. 

Your motivation can come from inside yourself, intrinsic motivation. This involves engaging in activities because those activities are personally rewarding and fulfill your beliefs and expectations. It’s more about meaning and purpose, service and duty, learning, and growth. This type of motivation is more likely to be self-motivating.

Motivation from outside yourself, extrinsic motivation, has to do more with rewards and engaging in activities outside yourself like title and financial rewards, status and power, publicity, and fame. 

These are both involved at different times in our lives for various reasons. One is not necessarily better than the other; they’re just different. You need to understand how they are different for you and the respective impact of each on you. 

Sometimes we need to be motivated from outside, a push to take action, to move in life from a boss, your parents, teachers, partners, friends, peer pressure, motivational speakers, etc. 

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Motivation & Self Motivation

An essential ability of successful people is to motivate themselves effectively to start and finish tasks rigorously without an outside influence. The more effective your self-motivation, the more successful you’ll be in achieving your goals. This is a game-changer life skill for living a successful, fulfilling life; often, the difference between achieving goals and not. 

Here’s a news flash – action often precedes motivation, not the other way around! After you take inspired action from your motivators, even the simplest act can cause your motivation to take off and accelerate.

Motivation Mastery – Self Motivation

Motivation Mastery is the art and skill of self-motivation. It supports you in dealing with challenges and setbacks, overcoming resistance, finding ways to move forward, creating new experiences, and achieving your dreams and desires.

Self-motivation is key to sustaining motivation over time, helping you achieve your goals, especially goals with long timelines. It helps you stay focused on tasks, which enables you to overcome fear and manage procrastination and perfectionism.

I observed time and again with myself and my clients that self-motivation is what made the difference during 2020. Staying positive, creative, solution-focused, and in action to deal with the uncertainty and changes presented by the pandemic were critical to success this year in any area of life.

Here are a few practices that might help you sustain your motivation. 

  • Acknowledge gratitude and appreciation regularly
  • Plan regularly, and yet remain flexible and open to new possibilities that show up.
  • Establish interim milestones and celebrate small success every step of the way.
  • Get complete and clear regularly to create space for new opportunities.
  • Join and participate in communities with like-minded people
  • Communicate with others regularly

Conscious awareness of what’s motivating you – your motivators are your secret weapon to having your efforts work for you and with you rather than against you.

Knowing your motivators, why they motivate you, and where the drive is coming from are all critical for you to take inspired action and drive your own motivation to cause the change you desire.

Sustaining your motivation will generate momentum, accelerate growth and behavior change and realize whatever change or transformation you desire. Self-motivation is the game changer skill for living a successful and fulfilling life. It’s often the difference between reaching goals and not. 

If you seek success and fulfillment, knowing your motivators, pursuing your growth needs, wants, and desires, tapping into your intrinsic motivators,  and mastering self-motivation is the path to get you there.

Spend some time reflecting and answering the questions below. 

  • What are your motivators? 
  • How do they guide you?
  • How self-motivated are you on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • Do you regularly set goals and objectives to achieve your life vision?
  • Have you completed or updated your Vision Board for 2021?
  • Do you have a motivating environment and supportive community to support you this coming year?

Let’s make 2021 your best year yet.

The year you take charge of your goals and achievements. This starts with consciously knowing and understanding your motivators and mastering self-motivation. These are your best tools for taking that next “right” action and moving closer to your goals.  

Knowing and connecting with your motivators, using action to spark motivation, coupled with ongoing practices and tactics to sustain your self-motivation, will help you to be unstoppable not only in 2021, in any year!

Let’s do this …