Motivation is the key to improvement

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Motivation is the key to understanding why humans remain tenacious in pursuing certain achievements that do not bear any fruit in the short term. It is the necessary condition to achieve our goals, to improve ourselves. But how to motivate ourselves? Motivation is, in short, what makes an individual act and behave in a certain way. It is a generic term that applies to a wide range of impulses, desires, needs and longings.

Authors such as Bernard Weiner often distinguish between two main types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsically motivated behavior is aimed at personal interest in performing it. This means that we do not need any external incentive such as money or prestige to realize it.

Extrinsic motivation gives a preponderant role to those motivators of behavior that come from the outside and that are not usually not naturally correlative to the behavior they reward. Therefore, intrinsic motivation is what guides us. In addition, in this type of motivation, the reward is immanent to one’s own action, to one’s own enjoyment of it.

In today’s Western society we live in a constant evolution of external circumstances that, many times, plunge us into inertia. The path of inertia makes us let ourselves be carried away by circumstances and thus we end up acting in a dehumanized way. Living without motivation makes us enter a world that makes us mechanical and where we forget ourselves and our true motivations.

Inspiration comes from others, but motivation is ours.

Let us think: what leads us to act in one way or another and what are the real reasons that lead us to the direction we are taking. Knowing what are the reasons that guide us will help us to really know what leads us to make certain decisions or why we opt for one choice and not another.

Sometimes we act in the wrong way or regret our actions for not reflecting on what are the true motivations that drive our decisions. To know our motivations is to know ourselves as people, it is the way to self-knowledge and to the improvement of oneself.

To choose to live motivated is to choose a more fulfilling existence. Motivation is what drives us and keeps us fighting for our dreams, despite everything we must face to make them come true.

Obviously you can not always be equally motivated and few paths are completely bathed in rose petals, but in motivation is the key to why there are people who achieve everything they set out to do while others resign themselves to living the life they have, even though they do not feel satisfied with it.

“The religion of all men should be to believe in themselves”

-Krishnamurti-We can learn from how athletes are motivated

Motivation in sports activity is a determining factor for the good practice of physical activity and for the achievement of objectives in competitive sport. The intellectual, physiological and psychological processes that decide, activate and direct our behavior in physical activity are similar in their skeleton to those that work with other types of activities.

We are all competitive by nature although some more than others. In this case the job of the psychologist is to take advantage of this trait of human nature and feed it. This process helps to maintain motivation in the short term, therefore, it must be combined with strategies that maintain motivation over time.

A scientifically proven way to maintain motivation for long periods is visualization. Daily, at least for 5-10 minutes, it is good to visualize the procedure and the desired results so that our mind can have prepared certain automatisms of the task towards which we focus.

This is very useful both for physical activity and for any other goal, especially when we talk about novel tasks or that we have not faced in a long time. On the other hand, visualization in a way to train the focus of attention.

In general terms, to motivate a person – just like an athlete – to improve their performance, you have to evaluate their effort and previous accumulated experiences. There are many athletes who unknowingly motivate themselves for poor performance or less than their possibilities could develop.

These results often generate anger and sadness because they involve spoiling a previous hard, constant and well-enhanced work. An effort that can be treated for a lack of motivation, but also for an excess of it. Thus, in one way or another motivation is a relevant factor in the final result and its control can tip the balance in our favor or against. You might be interested in…

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