How to Motivate Someone, Including Yourself

We all seem to know how to live well, yet few of us can bring ourselves actually to do it.

Many proposed motivational strategies routinely fall short and prove to be ineffective when put to the objective empirical test.

We might be able to come up with strategies and recommendations on how to motivate ourselves and others. Unfortunately, what is easy to do is rarely what works.

Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification.

Karl Popper

This article introduces an array of methods of motivating human behavior and gives examples of techniques and motivational strategies as well as skills to develop to motivate ourselves and others more effectively.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Goal Achievement Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients create actionable goals and master techniques to create lasting behavior change.

Methods of Motivation

Imagine you are asked to motivate your employees to be more creative and work harder. You might first consider offering attractive incentives.

While this seems like a viable solution, these types of incentives are rarely effective; they can also sometimes create serious harm, damaging the very motivation you sought to promote.

Researchers who study motivation often come to two conclusions:

  1. Not all attempts to motivate others and ourselves are successful.
  2. What is easy to do in practice is rarely what is most effective.

Based on the general finding that what is easy to do is rarely what is effective, motivation researchers have to go back to the drawing board many times over to do the tough work of designing effective interventions and motivational supports.

Among all the prospects which man can have, the most comforting is, on the basis of his present moral condition, to look forward to something permanent and to further progress toward a still better prospect.

Immanuel Kant

Many of those who need to apply motivational strategies to their work and lives also come to similar conclusions. Teachers tend to have much better success motivating their students to read when they take the time to transform the lesson plan into activities that children find to be interesting, curiosity provoking, and personally inspiring.

Leaders have much better success motivating their employees’ creativity and hard work when they take the employees’ perspective and invite them to generate their own self-endorsed work goals.

Even parents are more successful at encouraging their children to engage in socially constructive behaviors when they make an effort to truly understand why their children do not want to be prosocial and take the time to explain to them the benefits of engaging in such activities.

When we replace giving directives and commands with working patiently and diligently to see the situation from the other person’s point of view, we ask for input and suggestions, and pull all that information together to offer some constructive goals and strategies, we often find that we have better success motivating others.

Although all of these approaches to motivate and engage others are somewhat difficult, they are well worth the effort.

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.

Henry Ford

Motivation is a complex process to explain and equally complex to fully realize. The science of motivation tells us that motives are internal experiences that can be categorized into needs, cognitions, and emotions that are influenced by antecedent conditions like environmental events and social contexts.

These internal and external forces point us to how we can intervene to increase motivation. Depending on the motivational dilemma we are dealing with, we can design interventions that target physiological or psychological needs, specific cognitive phenomena associated with motivation status, or emotional states, as well as make adjustments to the environment to create an optimal context for increased motivation.

 

Motivational Strategies

The very purpose of studying motivation is to translate motivation theory into practical intervention programs that improve people’s lives.

Often, motivational dilemmas dictate what type of intervention will be used, be it need based, cognition based, or emotion based.

The motivational techniques and strategies described below give examples of how we can intervene in the status of motives originating from these different sources and only scratch the surface of the many approaches to motivation.

There are also several rather sophisticated and highly successful interventions in our articles on Motivation at Work and Motivational Interviewing for behavioral change, as well as examples of activities and worksheets that can be found in our article on Motivation Tools.

 

Satisfying Psychological Needs

Various psychological needs motivate behavior. According to self-determination theory (SDT), we are the very source, cause, and origin of our own freely chosen behavior (Deci & Ryan, 2008). SDT identified three basic psychological needs that we are driven to satisfy:

  • Autonomy (self-determination)
  • Competence (capability and effectiveness)
  • Affiliation (relatedness and belonging)

Affiliation needs occur on the spectrum of association at one end and belonging at the other. We are motivated to form long-lasting positive relationships with others, according to the belongingness hypothesis.

When we experience social exclusion, for example, it can result in unpleasant feelings, a loss of autonomy, and numbness, and we may feel strongly motivated to re-establish social connections. The need for belonging is satisfied by establishing relationships with other people.

Daniel Pink (2009) explains why extrinsic rewards do not work in today’s world because most of us don’t perform rule-based routine tasks. He argues, rather convincingly, that we need to create environments where intrinsic motivation thrives and where we can be creative and gain satisfaction from the activities themselves.

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.

Confucius

If autonomy is our default setting, giving us a choice in terms of tasks, time, team, and technique is one way to increase it. When coupled with opportunities for growth and mastery, our intrinsic motivation increases through engagement.

Pink (2009) tells us that mastery is a mindset, demands effort, and is like an asymptote we approach but never fully realize. He also reminds us of the importance of striving toward something greater than ourselves. Purpose, according to Pink, is not ornamental, but a vital source of aspiration and direction.

See our article on Motivation Tools to take a basic psychological needs assessment.

Other recognized psychological needs include:

  • Closure
  • Cognition
  • Meaning
  • Power
  • Self-esteem
  • Achievement

The need for closure motivates us to avoid ambiguities and arrive at a firm conclusion. This can have implications for our relationships and ability to function effectively as we respond to increasing complexity in our environment and changes to our circumstances. To satisfy the need for closure, we can provide clear expectations and well-defined, measurable goals, frequent feedback, and timelines.

The need for cognition refers to a desire to understand our experiences and environment through thinking. When we are forced to think on our feet, make snap judgments, or use intuition without the chance to reflect on our experience, we may experience tension and stress. Providing information and compelling rationale for why tasks need to be performed can help satisfy the need for greater understanding.

The need for meaning motivates us to understand how we relate to our geographical, cultural, and social environment. This becomes particularly important following catastrophic events or personal tragedies. According to the meaning-making model, after traumatic events, we are strongly motivated to restore meaning.

This can be done through counterfactual thinking, when we consider alternatives that contrast sharply with our current situation. In other words, what might a person’s life have been like if some other (counterfactual) event had or hadn’t occurred?

The need for power motives us to want to be noticed, influence the lives of others, be in command, and have high status. Occupations that allow for the legitimate exercise of power can provide opportunities for visibility, recognition, and success for those with a power motive. Satisfying the need for control can also involve being in charge of an organization.

The need for self-esteem refers to the evaluative feeling a person has about the self. William James believed that self-esteem depends on how many possible selves, he called pretensions, we have achieved or become.

A contemporary view of self-esteem defines it in terms of a contingency of self-worth as it occurs in various domains, such as academic competence. Successes and failures in a specific domain boost or lower self-esteem, respectively, and provide us with a degree of contingent self-worth in that domain.

We can increase our level of self-esteem by either reducing the number of possible selves or by increasing the number of successes. Our self-esteem is lowered when we decrease the number of successes or increase the number of pretensions.

The need for achievement is guided by two internal sources: the desire to achieve success and the desire to avoid failure. When we are persistent, want to do things well, and have a high standard of excellence, we are said to need achievement.

The motive to avoid failure is characterized by fear and anxiety about failing at a task. The probability and incentive value of success and failure are other determinants of achievement behavior included in the achievement motivation theory (see our articles on Theories of Motivation). The need for achievement can be satisfied by accomplishing challenging tasks.

 

Intervening Into Cognitions

One of the most important cognitive phenomena in the context of motivation is our self-concept – how we define it, how we relate to society, ways we use its agency to develop personal potential, and how we regulate the self to enable goal pursuit (Reeve, 2015).

Self-concept is an example of a cognitive mechanism that plays a role in motivation.

Here, cognition is treated as a motivational force. If you change the content of your thinking, you change your motivational state. The same applies to other cognitive phenomena like plans, goals, mindset, intentions, attributions, values, mastery beliefs, self-efficacy, dissonance, perceived control, expectancy, identity, self-regulation, possible selves, and self-control.

We do not see the world as it is, we see it as we are.

Anais Nin

Self-concept is learned and comes from how we mentally represent our characteristics in specific domains like academic achievement or interpersonal relationships.

These self-schemas generate two types of motivation: toward the consistent self and the possible self. We are motivated to direct our behavior in ways that confirm our self-view and to avoid those that contradict it.

We also observe others and consider a future possible self that we may want to become. These possible selves become long-term goals that energize, direct, and sustain the motivation to develop toward the hoped-for ideal self (Reeve, 2015).

See our blog post on Motivation Tools for examples of the ideal and future-self activities.

Identity is the self within a cultural context and how the self relates to society. We assume social roles like ‘mother’ or ‘teacher,’ and we act to establish, confirm, and restore the cultural meaning of that role-identity. We also create connections to social groups with shared affiliations, interests, and values, which further contribute to our identity formation.

Self-concept also has an intrinsic motivation, or agency, of its own. When our self exercises its inherent interests, preferences, and capacities to grow, it expands the self into an ever-increasing complexity. Pursuing life goals that emanate from personal agency generates enhanced effort and greater psychological wellbeing.

 

Emotions as Feedback

Changes in emotion, behavior, and wellbeing can be used as feedback to motivate others in productive ways. Interventions that alter emotional states toward the positive, produce valued behavior, or bring on a sense of wellbeing can use these changes to form a positive feedback loop and increase motivation toward goal pursuit.

Praise, for example, can evoke positive emotions, while modeled mastery programs can increase a sense of competence through gradual progression. Several subjective experiences of wellbeing, from gratitude exercises to the cultivation of awe, can be used as change inducing and a form of positive feedback. They produce gradual changes in emotion and wellbeing as well as a progressive change in behavior through discipline.

Attentional focus regulation is another way to intervene in our emotional responses to increase motivation. It allows us to reappraise how we see and can choose to reframe a situation, such as looking for a silver lining.

These types of emotional regulation can be useful in contrast to suppressing emotions, which occurs when all the above opportunities for establishing control have been missed, and a person is trying to down-regulate an adverse emotional event (Reeve, 2015).

See our blog post on Motivation Tools for examples of how to intervene in emotional states and amplify the power of positive feelings.

 

Learning Self-Control

The metacognitive monitoring of our goal-setting progress is a self-regulatory process that increases our capacity to carry out long-term goals on our own.

Self-control is a big part of the process of self-regulation and is of crucial importance in sustained motivation. This capacity to suppress, restrain, and override an impulsive, short-term desire or temptation to pursue a long-term goal instead is quickly depleted when we struggle to override immediate urges.

Take the Procrastination scale on our Motivation Tools post to assess your ability to resist temptations and distractions.

Have you ever heard the saying, “No glucose, no willpower?” The biological basis of self-control, according to the limited strength model of self-control, is the brain fuel of glucose. The exercise of self-control depletes glucose and the capacity for future self-control but can be replenished by the following (Reeve, 2015):

  • Nutrition and caloric intake
  • Training
  • Episodes of positive affect
  • Psychological need satisfaction

Longitudinal research, also known as the marshmallow tests, shows rather impressively that the childhood capacity for high self-control predicts successful life outcomes (Mischel & Ebbesen, 1970).

 

Motivation and Stress

Stress can have a significant impact on our motivational states. Effective coping with stressors involves planning, execution, and feedback. During the planning component, we appraise life change events. First, we analyze if the event is positive, negative, or irrelevant to our wellbeing.

Then, if the event is appraised as negative, we inventory the resources we can use to manage the event. During the execution component, we determine how to cope with either the original stressor or the stress itself.

Clarifying and trying to solve the stressor is a form of problem-focused coping, while alleviating the accompanying distress is an emotion-focused coping strategy. Emotion regulation is a type of coping that helps us control emotions and how intensely we experience them.

For both appraisal and coping, being flexible helps. Stressor intensity and controllability impact coping strategies. Reappraisal is a better strategy when the stressor is of low intensity, but when stress is very high, distraction is more effective. When stressors are evaluated as controllable, problem-focused coping is best, but when they feel uncontrollable, emotion-focused coping is better.

Finally, during the feedback component, we experience different levels of sensitivity to feedback about the effectiveness of coping processes. If necessary, this feedback can be used to reappraise the stressor and accompanying stress and to alter coping and emotion regulation strategies. The American Institute of Stress has a lot of helpful information about stressors, anxiety, and coping.

 

Motivation Techniques

motivated athleteWhen considering motivational techniques, it helps to understand that in practice, motivational states can be supported, neglected, or thwarted.

For that reason, most successful interventions do not try to change a person’s motivation or emotion directly.

Instead, effective interventions will more often make changes to the person’s environmental conditions and the quality of their relationships. The goal of motivational techniques is to find, create, or offer motivationally and emotionally supportive conditions and relationships and to leave behind neglectful or abusive ones.

We must also carefully evaluate through evidence-based approaches what the known antecedent conditions are to the motivational or emotional state that we are trying to promote.

 

Optimal match of skills and challenges

Intrinsic motivation and autonomous initiative are created by activities with a specific set of properties: they are challenging, require skill, and have clear and immediate feedback.

The key to success here is setting challenges that are neither too demanding nor too simple, “a constant balancing act between anxiety where the difficulty is too high for the person’s skill, and boredom where the difficulty is too low” (Csíkszentmihályi, 1997, p. 476).

Csíkszentmihályi (1990), who developed the theory of flow to define these well-balanced activities, talks about specific conditions that allow for the onset of flow:

  • Presence of clear goals
  • Immediate feedback
  • High challenges need to be matched with adequate personal skills, most often achieved in complex activities requiring specific capabilities. Flow is associated with above-average challenge and above-average skills.
  • The task has to be challenging enough to require the mobilization of personal skills, promoting concentration and engagement to enable merging of action and awareness. Repetitive and low-information activities are very rarely associated with flow.
  • Focus on the task at hand and focused attention are must-haves.
  • Perceived control of the situation
  • Loss of self-consciousness

 

Feedback

Giving feedback can be a beneficial form of motivation and, if done well, can leave people feeling motivated and positive. Here are some great pointers for doing feedback well according to Robert Biswas-Diener:

  • The power of expectations. The person receiving the feedback owns their emotional reactions to the expectation of the feedback as well as the very process of receiving feedback. Establish at the outset what the feedback is intended to accomplish, what form it will take, and clarify if further work will be expected.

  • The power of accuracy and specificity. Be specific and pay particular attention to the part of the feedback that might be superfluous. Also, be careful to provide feedback on performance, not the person or their character.

  • Feedback is directed at the future, not the present. The focus of the feedback should be the vision of the terrific future work and how to get there, however many iterations it will require.

  • Believing in the project. Your feedback should speak to your personal investment and express your belief that the work can be great and has the potential for success. Worthwhile feedback requires effort and is a very important part of investing in the improvement process.

  • The power of relationship. Harness what you know about the person to give better feedback and keep them accountable; feedback is a form of connection, and you would tailor your approach differently depending on who you talk to.

 

Distractions

Eyal (2019) defines motivation as the urge to escape psychological discomfort and free ourselves from the pain of wanting; distractions are forms of unhealthy or unproductive ways of escape.

Eyal (2019) challenges us to become aware of what we need to distract ourselves from so we can consciously define what we want to seek traction toward. Dissatisfaction can motivate us and drive us to act. If we are not happy, the pain lets us know that something needs to be done about it, and this represents a perfectly healthy evolutionary response.

While we tend to blame lack of motivation on external triggers, more often than not, it is merely a response to internal pain that pushes us to feel restless and makes us more prone to give in to the urges.

Eyal (2019) suggests looking for the emotion that proceeds the habit, getting curious about it, and instead of trying to escape, bringing even more attention to the craving. Some call it surfing the urge. When you put these negative thoughts and emotions on stage, they tend to dissipate.

The ironic process theory tells us that suppressing thoughts has a rebound effect, causing the unwanted cognitions to persist as our mind continues to monitor for them (Wegner, 1994).

The antidote to this tendency is to actively invite these thoughts on the stage. Lessons from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy show that this works, creating distance between the thought and ourselves and lessening its impact by seeing it for what it is.

This allows us to re-imagine the trigger so we can become aware of it next time it surfaces and track it, especially during the liminal moments when we transition from one activity to another.

 

Goal setting and implementation intentions

The realization of goals can be effectively facilitated by forming an implementation intention that spells out the when, where, and how we are going to achieve our goal. It is accomplished by deciding in advance of goal striving how we are going to overcome a roadblock. “If situation Y is encountered, then I will initiate goal-directed behavior X!” (Gollwitzer, 1999).

Studies show that implementation intentions have a positive effect on goal attainment, promote the initiation of goal striving, shield ongoing goal pursuit from unwanted influences, help us disengage from failing courses of action, and conserve capability for future goal striving.

If your goal is to eat less sugar, your implementation intention could become something like, “When the dessert menu arrives, I will order coffee.” If your goal is to work out more, your implementation intention could turn into, “I will work out for an hour at the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays before work.

Access the “if-then” planning worksheet on our post on Motivation Tools.

 

Integration

Dr. Daniel Siegel’s research combines brain sciences with practical approaches to our understanding of human behavior and mechanisms of change. Siegel stresses the importance of understanding the self through learning about the functioning of our brain as well as developing mindful ability to observe the inner states that help us develop empathy toward others and navigate our social world.

If motivation is about change, what brings it about? According to Siegel, change is possible because most human beings are striving toward integration, where we connect the functioning of our inner systems toward the state of inner harmony.

The most ambitious claim of Siegel’s mindsight theoretical construct is that we can alter our physical brain by focusing our attention in a way that integrates a different aspect of our psychological and neurological functioning and practically rewires synaptic connection toward better mental health.

Siegel’s model of wellbeing comprises the process that integrate the mind, brain, and our relationships. He identifies eight areas of integration through which creating an inner state of harmony can be promoted and motivation increased:

  • Integration of consciousness allows for greater awareness and clarity in perceiving our mind.
  • Bilateral integration occurs when we reconcile left and right brain functions, connecting our thinking and emotional brain.
  • Vertical integration allows for greater bodily awareness and is a form of creating a mind–body connection.
  • Memory integration concerns the process of memory creation and how it affects our wellbeing.
  • Narrative integration is about how we find meaning and explain our experiences.
  • State integration concerns mental state integration, like the need to be alone versus the need to be social.
  • Interpersonal integration is about how we relate to others.
  • Temporal integration has to do with our sense of time and is related to existential psychology and our thoughts about permanence and need for certainty.
  • Finally, transpirational integration is about the expended sense of self, and Siegel hopes that cultivating it has the potential to transform the world we live in (PsychAlive, 2009).

The construct of mindsight combines tools of mindful self-awareness with insights into our nature that are driven by a scientifically informed understanding of brain functions.

This understanding of the self, according to Siegel, not only allows us to self-regulate and direct our lives, but also helps us understand others better and can aid us in developing empathy – crucial for thriving in relationships.

His definition of empathy as having a map of others is a potent metaphor, in the same way that his interpretation of psychological flexibility paints a picture of a river between rigidity and emotional dysregulation (PsychAlive, 2009).

 

Techniques for Sustaining Motivation

It isn’t enough to find motivation. To bring about lasting change, we need reminders, repetition, and rituals.

Reminders

To focus our attention on a particular commitment, it helps to have reminders. These external cues in our environment can be straightforward and simple or complicated and creative. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Enter your workout times in your planner, just as you would do for a client meeting.
  • Put a picture on the wall or your screensaver of the person who motivates you most to get out of bed and into your running shoes.
  • Trip over your reminders literally: leave your running shoes by your bed.
  • Set your alarm clock to play a song or an affirmation that you find particularly motivating.

Repetition

Regular reminders can pave the way for repetition, which is essential for lasting change. No matter how hard it is, exercising only for the first week or two of the year likely falls far short of your hopes and aspirations for the new year. Moreover, it is through reminders coupled with repetition that you get to the promised land of change: the cultivation of rituals.

Use technology to bombard your nonconscious brain with declarations of the world you want to create. Technology has given us all sorts of excellent tools.

  • Set up recurring appointments or notifications and schedule the thing you’re changing. Whether it’s gym time, food prep time, or bedtime, schedule it and have everything in place so that it’s more likely to happen. These are environmental supports that make it easier for the subconscious to follow the change in behavior.
  • Track your progress on a chart displayed someplace visible or through an app that requires you to log your achievements; feedback reinforces motivation.
  • Make if–then plans for when obstacles get in the way.
  • Play audio affirmations while you are jogging, working out, or cleaning the house.
  • Play subliminal audio and video recordings to yourself throughout the day.
  • There is software available that will play your affirmations to you by flashing them almost invisibly on your computer screen.

Rituals

We form rituals after a sufficient number of reminders and repetition because our brain creates new neural pathways associated with a particular behavior. It becomes easier after a month or two to act in a certain way at a specific time.

Words of caution as you create a reminder, repeat, and ritualize:

  • Less is more. Neural overload is likely to lead you to do nothing. Modest hopes and aspirations lead to small wins and gradual change.
  • Fail and fail again and remember that success on the fifth or sixth attempt is much more likely.
  • Public commitments are a strong force. Say or record your intended actions to yourself or a trusted friend or practitioner. Better yet, find someone who can keep you accountable.
  • Affirmations are another way of verbally stating what your desired state is. It sends a powerful message to the brain, which helps to reinforce the desired changes. Affirmations should be repeated in the present tense.
  • Journaling your intentions, feelings, and impressions also creates powerful neural connections and can further support your perseverance.

When we create useful reminders and repeat them often enough to create rituals, we increase the chance of creating a new habit and replacing less desirable behaviors.

 

Motivational Skills

Motivation is both an art and a science, and requires a considerable amount of practice. Whether you’re a coach, manager, parent, or teacher, you come to realize that not all of these skills come naturally, but they can be improved with practice.

The rapidly growing field of personal and professional coaching has much to offer in the arena of motivational tools and interventions. Sir John Whitmore defined the essence of coaching as “unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance” (Milner & Milner, 2018).

The Association for Coaching (n.d.) describes personal coaching as “a collaborative solution-focused, results-oriented and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self-directed learning and personal growth of the coachee.” The focus of coaching is to help the client take action toward the realization of their goals, desires, and vision. For that, we need motivation.

Below is a brief description of some of the techniques and skills usually taught in coaching programs certified by the International Coaching Federation that can be used to enhance a client’s motivation toward goal pursuit.

  • Acknowledging what our clients are saying is one of the most powerful ways to show that you’re really listening and that you care. It can be accomplished through mirroring or paraphrasing.

  • Clarifying and summarizing can further deepen the mutual understanding and help build the rapport necessary to support the motivation for change.

  • Validating a client’s feelings is crucial for creating a safe space where they don’t feel judged.

  • Breaking resistance and asking the client how they managed to overcome similar situations in the past is similar to methods of appreciative inquiry.

  • Button pushing is about helping the client find another way to look at the situation and is similar to the concept of cognitive reframing.

  • Celebrating client’s wins and championing efforts are crucial in increasing positive emotions and similar to active constructive responding.

  • Coaching limiting beliefs is about asking how true beliefs are and how believing them has affected the client.

  • Coaching interpretations is about considering the complete opposite of how the client views their current situation.

  • Coaching assumptions is about asking why, if this happened in the past, it must happen again.

  • Coaching gremlins is about identifying that aspect of the self that thinks the client is less than who they really are.

  • Evaluating is about exploring options and asking the client how will they know when they are successful.

  • Forwarding is about asking the client what they will do when they get there.

  • Observation is about noticing something positive about the client, even if it’s complimenting them on their honesty,
    making choices, etc.

  • Metaphors are powerful awareness tools that ascribe meaning to the situation and can inspire.

  • Planting the seed is a way of expressing that we have faith in our client’s abilities.

  • Stretching is about asking the client what would it look like to go one step further.

  • Reflection is about checking in with the client and how they feel about what was just discussed.

  • Moving from head to heart is about asking the client to describe emotions that show up during the session.

  • Visioning is utilizing visualization techniques like the ideal future self.

  • Exploring values is about exploring what our clients deem as most important in their lives.

  • Translating needs is another method for helping clients; our needs translate into motives that cause us to act, and these actions have emotional consequences.

See our article on Motivation Tools for more examples of powerful motivational questions.

 

A Take-Home Message

By now, you should have realized that true, effective motivation is tied to the outcomes that people care about.

Motivational interventions produce better results when they focus on supporting people’s motivation and emotion rather than trying to increase some specific outcome, such as performance, productivity, achievement, or wellbeing.

What are your favorite motivational strategies and techniques? Share your suggestions below.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Goal Achievement Exercises for free.

If you’d like to help others succeed in life, check out our Motivation & Goal Achievement Masterclass©, a comprehensive training template for practitioners that contains everything you need to help your clients reach their goals and master motivation-enhancing techniques.

  • Association for Coaching. (n.d.). Coaching defined. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.associationforcoaching.com/page/CoachingDefined
  • Csíkszentmihályi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. Harper & Row.
  • Csíkszentmihályi, M. (1997). Finding flow: The psychology of engagement with everyday life. Basic Books.
  • Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian psychology/Psychologie Canadienne49(3), 182–185.
  • Eyal, N. (2019). Indistractable: How to control your attention and choose your life. Bloomsbury.
  • Gollwitzer, P. M. (1999). Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans. American Psychologist54(7), 493–503.
  • Milner, J., & Milner, T. (2018, August 14). Most managers don’t know how to coach people. But they can learn. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2018/08/most-managers-dont-know-how-to-coach-people-but-they-can-learn
  • Mischel, W., & Ebbesen, E. B. (1970). Attention in delay of gratification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology16(2), 329–337.
  • Pink, D. H. (2009). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. Penguin.
  • PsychAlive. (2009, December 17). Dr. Dan Siegel: What is mindsight? [YouTube video].
  • Reeve, J. (2015). Understanding motivation and emotion (6th ed.). Wiley.
  • Wegner, D. M. (1994). Ironic processes of mental control. Psychological Review101(1), 34–52.

About the Author

Beata Souders is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Psychology at CalSouth and MA in Creative Writing at SNHU, she holds a Master's degree in Positive Psychology from Life University. An ICF certified coach and a Gottman Institute Certified Educator, Beata is on the Executive Committee for the Student Division of the International Positive Psychology Associations and has published and presented on subjects ranging the Flow Theory to learned helplessness.

Comments

  1. Samyak sharma

    Nice write up… It was really helpful

    Reply
  2. James Salinas

    Thank you here for this information I was encouraged when I read it.

    Reply
  3. R Hahn

    The word Motivation has become meaningless. Does it mean to start doing something, stop doing something, do something better, do something longer, do something better than someone else, etc?

    The motivation to eat when hungry or drink when thirsty are obvious, but what is it that makes someone decide to run a marathon or to read a book a week? Does it register the same in the brain? Are the same hormones involved?

    I’ve been trying to write a fairly simple paper on motivation, but the more I research it, the more I see that no one really understands what it is. There are lots of theories, plenty of brain scans, but where is the scientific definition of motivation? My guess is there are many types of motivation, not just one.

    In the Pleasure Trap, Doug Lisle talks about all living things being driven by 3 factors: Seek Pleasure, Avoid Pain, and Conserve Energy. I would think any definition of Motivation must address these 3 factors as well.

    Reply
  4. Pearl Agarwal

    “Thanks for sharing this information about Motivating.
    Really a nice source of information about Motivation Writing.
    I actually added your blog to my favorites list and look forward to getting the same quality content every time I visit your blog.
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    Reply
  5. sharon

    What a well written piece. That quote by Henry Ford is one of my favorite mantras.

    Reply
    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Sharon,
      Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, that quote really highlights the importance of self-belief for achieving our goals — I like it, too.
      – Nicole | Community Manager

      Reply
  6. PETER PAUL

    THANKS A LOT

    Reply
  7. Carlos Costa Pinto

    A very useful article!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Carlos

    Reply
  8. ame

    thank you please keep sharing

    Reply
  9. Tamsen Matheson

    Thank you for this resource – for my clients and me!

    Reply
  10. M.S.Shekar

    Very useful and informative article. Please keep sharing. Thank you very much.

    Reply
  11. onisimo raboiliku

    I really love these stuff you are doing, it’s very ecouraging to note that your techniques work quite well with some of my clients.

    Reply

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