Motivational hot air balloonMotivation is a powerful concept. But how do we create it? Can you think of someone who you think has a lot of get up and go? Someone who is driven and energized is usually described as motivated. But is it really that simple? How do you get motivated?

What is motivation?

Many would agree that motivation involves positive action toward a goal over time. This means that it has three main elements. First, you need to act or move. Second, the action is directed toward a goal. Third, the action is sustained over time.

Different types of motivation have been identified. A number of definitions exist. Even though this is the case, sustaining goal-direct behavior over time is a key feature.

Motivation research

In the beginning, research into motivation looked mostly at individual responses. However, the influence of social processes and social influences is now acknowledged. This means that more attention is being paid to what motivates us in our environments.

A great deal of research about motivation continues to focus on the short term. This means that more work is required in order to understand motivation over time. Understanding motivation over time will help us harness the power of motivation. This type of research is usually more expensive to complete. It is referred to as longitudinal research or research over time.

Who can get motivated?

We all differ in relation to what motivates us. Some of us get motivated easily. We might find that certain tasks and environments motivate us. Others of us require much more effort to get up and go. Even though we all differ in relation to our achievement motives, it is perhaps good to know that most of us have some capacity to get motivated. This is true even in scenarios where we don’t feel motivated by the task. When we don’t feel very motivated it is helpful to use our extrinsic motivation potential. This type of motivation is different to intrinsic motivation which involves more of a focus on internal feelings.

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