Intrinsic motivation is your behavior that is driven by internal rewards. In other words, the motivation to do a behavior comes from within you the individual because it is “intrinsically” inside YOU to be rewarding. The opposite is extrinsic motivation, which involves engaging in a behavior in order to earn external rewards or avoid punishments.
One thing is certain – intrinsic motivation works better than external pressure.
Let’s take a look at how to tap into your inner sources of inspiration and where you can apply them!
How to Use Intrinsic Motivation
1. Ask questions.
Ask yourself what you would do if you were not getting paid one stinking dime or receiving any direct compensation. Think about the activities that spark your interest and provide gratification.
2. 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.
3. Challenge yourself.
Aim for targets that are ambitious, without being impossible. Tasks that are too easy tend to become boring. Instead of training for a triathlon for the first time, maybe a 5K should be the first goal. On the other hand, it’s difficult to pursue a dream that seems too far out of reach.
4. Give yourself choices.
Let’s face it, we all are a control freak to some degree. We like to feel some sense of control. Build a degree of flexibility into your plans. For instance, 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.
5. 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. =)
6. Stimulate your curiosity.
Fire yourself up by taking a fresh look at your surroundings. Spend time outdoors appreciating nature. Spend time playing with your grand-children and pets. Ask a librarian to suggest books about a topic you’ve been curious about or use the power of Google and Google-it.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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
Ok, so now you know how you can use intrinsic motivation. Now, let’s look at how to apply it.
1. Focus on learning.
Ask many teachers and parents and they will tell you about the 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.
2. Forget about pay day.
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.
3. Get a hobby.
Put your leisure time to good use. Pursue your interests and cultivate your personal creativity. You may discover more about yourself while you’re playing the violin, tending to your vegetable garden, drawing, writing poetry, or organizing something that you enjoy collection.
4. 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.
5. Value yourself.
Consider how everything you do contributes to your personal self-esteem. Choose actions that honor your true worth.
Looking inside yourself for encouragement that will make you feel happier and more accomplished. Rely on intrinsic motivation to move ahead in life!
Kim Steadman is the COOP (Chief Online Operating Person) for The Re-Feathered Nest. A place of encouragement for moms entering the Empty Nest Zone who are ready to RePurpose and ReDesign according to God’s purpose for their lives now that the kids have flown the coop. Kim can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheRefeatheredNest and on Google+ at +Kim.