Motivation is literally the desire to act and move toward a goal. It's the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining one's objectives—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. Motivation might be extrinsic, whereby a person is inspired by outside forces—other people or things that transpire. Motivation might be intrinsic, whereby the inspiration comes from within a person. High achievers, who have outsized stores of motivation, readily feed their needs of a meaningful life. The needs encompass physiological requirements, social connection, ego, and fulfillment. Physiological needs—sustenance, shelter, safety, physical health—are most important. Also crucial is the need for social connection and acceptance. Ego is another area that requires attention, an individual must have confidence, status, recognition, and respect. And the last is fulfillment, whereby the individual realizes his potential and deepest desires. Motivation plays a big part in every one of these areas.
Setting and Achieving Goals
Reaching the next level in one’s career or getting in better physical shape sound worthwhile, but they are much harder to turn into reality in the absence of meaningful goals. A goal can be an effective tool for sustaining motivation. It’s not a matter of simply jotting down or visualizing a desired outcome. A useful goal is specific and important, experts advise, something one can grab a hold of when motivation flags. Focusing attention on what, exactly, one really wants is crucial. Truly motivating goals should also be realistic, not aiming too high nor selling one’s capabilities too short.