What is Motivation? A Psychologist Explains


The simplest definition of motivation boils down to wanting (Baumeister, 2016). We want a change in behavior, thoughts, feelings, self-concept, environment, and relationships.

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

This article shows what motivation is, both in real life and in how psychology observes and studies motivation. It includes an explanation of the process by analyzing real-world motivational problems like procrastination and avoidance.

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.

This Article Contains:

What is motivation, motivation definition in psychology, motivation model, motivation process, motivation cycle, recommended books on motivation, a take-home message.

Motivation is an internal process. Whether we define it as a drive or a need, motivation is a condition inside us that desires a change, either in the self or the environment. When we tap into this well of energy, motivation endows the person with the drive and direction needed to engage with the environment in an adaptive, open-ended, and problem-solving sort of way (Reeve, 2015).

The essence of motivation is energized and persistent goal-directed behavior. When we are motivated, we move and take action.

Motivation is influenced by the satisfaction of needs that are either necessary for sustaining life or essential for wellbeing and growth. Physiological needs for food, water, and sex (yes sex) serve the organism to maintain life and also provide satisfaction from doing so.

Psychological needs for autonomy, mastery, and belonging direct our behavior in much the same way. As do the needs for achievement, power, closure, meaning, and self-esteem. Some of these needs will become motives as will all the intrinsic activities we engage in.

Our environment and social context will play a significant role in terms of extrinsic motivation. We will also be motivated by goals, values, and desires to experience specific emotions associated with certain end-states (Reeve, 2015).

The best way to explain motivation is to show what it looks like in everyday life. Here is an example of possible motivational reasons a person could have to engage in exercise.

Reasons to Exercise Type of Motivation Real-Life Examples
Fun, enjoyment Intrinsic motivation Children run, jump, and chase simply for the sheer fun of it.
Personal challenge Flow Performers get “in the zone” when their pursuits optimally challenge their skills.
Forced to do so External regulation Athletes exercise because their coach tells them to do so.
Accomplish a goal Goal Runners strive to run a mile in six minutes or less.
Health benefits Value Patients exercise to lose weight or to strengthen the heart.
Inspiration Possible self People watch others exercise and become inspired to do the same.
Pursuit of a standard of excellence Achievement strivings Snow skiers race to the bottom of the mountain, trying to beat their previous best time.
Satisfaction from a job well done Competence As exercisers make progress, they feel more competent, more effective.
An emotional kick Opponent process Vigorous jogging can produce a runner’s high, a euphoric rebound to the pain.
Good mood Positive affect Being in nature can induce a good mood such that people exercise spontaneously, skipping along without even knowing why.
Alleviate guilt Introjection People exercise because they think that is what they should or ought to do to please others or to relieve their sense of guilt.
Relieve stress and anxiety Personal control After a stressful day, people go to the gym, which they see as a structured and controllable environment.
Spend time with friends Relatedness Exercise is often a social event, a time to enjoy hanging out with friends.

For a more in-depth discussion of the many mechanisms of motivation, see our article on Motivation and What Really Drives Human Behavior .

The study of motivation in psychology revolves around providing the best possible answers to two fundamental questions: what causes behavior, and why does behavior vary in its intensity?

Motivational science is a behavioral science that seeks to construct theories about what constitutes human motivation and how motivational processes work.

Motivation, when seen in the real world, and when measured by science , becomes visible and detectable through behavior, level of engagement, neural activation, and psychophysiology. Some would also include self-report in this list, but studies show that self-reports have proven to be highly unreliable sources of information (Reeve, 2015).

So how does motivation behave? With presence, intensity, and quality. Motivation is visible through gestures and facial expressions, intense effort, immediacy (or as psychologists like to call it short latency).

The presence of motivation can also be inferred from the levels of persistence and decisiveness in choosing one goal over another, which taken together make for a high probability of occurrence (Atkinson & Birch, 1970; 1978; Bolles, 1975; Ekman & Friesen, 1975).

Motivation can also be inferred from the level of engagement.

For example, in a coaching scenario or a motivational interview, a competent practitioner will enthusiastically and generously contribute to the flow of conversation (agentic engagement), express interest and enjoyment (emotional engagement), process deeply and pay attention (cognitive engagement), and persist in these efforts as if time and the outside world didn’t exist (behavioral engagement). And yes, for many of us, we don’t have those kinds of conversations often.


There are five psychophysiological expressions of motivation:

Psychophysiological Expressions
Hormonal activity Chemicals in saliva or blood, such as cortisol (stress) or catecholamines (fight-or-flight reaction).
Cardiovascular activity Contraction and relaxation of the heart and blood vessels (as in response to an attractive incentive or a difficult/challenging task).
Ocular activity Eye behavior—pupil size (extent of mental activity), eye blinks (changing cognitive states), and eye movements (reflective thought).
Electrodermal activity Electrical changes on the surface of the skin (as in response to a significant or threatening event).
Skeletal activity The activity of the musculature, as with facial expressions (specific emotion), bodily gestures, or shifting one’s weight from side to side during a boring hallway conversation (desire to leave).

Brain Activations

Just like changes in behavior, engagement, and psychophysiology, brain activations mark the rise and fall and maintenance of motivational states. A different pattern of neural activity is present with each motivation and emotion. For example, the hypothalamus is active when we are thirsty, and when we feel disgusted, there is a rise in insular activity.

Researchers use sophisticated equipment like electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe, detect, monitor, and measure brain-based neural activity.

See our blog post on Motivation Science for more information on the neuroscience of motivation.

Putting all this together to answer the perennial question of what motivation is, but most importantly what it does, we define motivation as rising and falling of needs, cognition, and emotions expressed through patterns of behavior, levels of engagement and neural and psychophysiological activity directed toward realizing essential life outcomes. Video

How to motivate yourself to change your behavior – Tali Sharot

In a nutshell, motives are internal experiences in the form of needs, cognitions, and emotions and are the direct and proximal causes of motivated action. Social contexts and external events act as antecedents to motives that cause or trigger motivational states. Our motives express themselves through behavior, engagement, psychophysiology, brain activations, and self-report.

The model below illustrates the framework for how motivational psychologists study the process of motivation and its elements and try to find the answer to the questions about what causes motivation. It also shows why the study of motivation is so relevant to people’s lives and how motivation contributes positively to significant life outcomes like achievement, performance, and wellbeing, to name a few (Reeve, 2015).

Motivational Model

Our motivation, when it originates from internal motives, as categorized into needs, cognitions, and emotions, is often experienced as more immediate and potent than extrinsic motivation.

Since we don’t exist in a vacuum, however, these inner experiences cannot take place without some degree of the external influence, be it in the form of consequences, incentives, or other forms of pressure arising out of the social context of our environment.

Our physiological and psychological needs drive us, our cognitions direct us, and emotions land intensity and energy to our pursuits. When the combination of antecedent conditions and the internal motives align, they create a ripe environment for engagement, which propels the action behavior.

When these behaviors, in turn, create more positive motivational and emotional states, they reinforce the behavior through a positive feedback loop and increase the likelihood of repetition (Reeve, 2015).

The greatest thief this world has ever produced is procrastination, and he is still at large.

Josh Billings

The self-concordance model of goal setting differentiates between four types of motivation (Sheldon & Elliot, 1999).

Goals guided by either identified or intrinsic motivation can be considered self-concordant. Self-concordant goals are associated with higher levels of wellbeing, enhanced positive mood, and higher life satisfaction levels than non-self-concordant goals.

motivation essay

Consider a motivational problem like procrastination or avoidance

Our needs, cognitions, emotions, environments, and relationships can play a crucial role in procrastination or avoidance.

All needs are born either out of deficiency or need for growth. Physiological needs are a particularly strong force in determining behavior. Our bodies will signal our brain if our wellbeing is threatened, and this can lead to avoidance and procrastination when we are suffering from hunger, thirst, or lack of sleep, for example.

Psychological needs are also significant drivers of motives as they represent inborn needs for the development of a sense of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. When we try to force ourselves to do something that contradicts those needs, these innate forces can be tough to overcome.

The conflict between chosen behavior and the need for satisfaction of psychological needs like autonomy can create dissonance, which can lead to avoidance or procrastination. While the fulfillment of physiological needs is about preserving wellbeing, satisfying psychological needs is about thriving and growing as a person (Reeve, 2015).

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Viktor E. Frankl

There are also implicit needs which are acquired from our environment through socioemotional development. They vary from person to person as our experiences vary, and unlike inborn psychological needs, implicit motives are acquired.

Implicit here means unconscious. These needs occur without conscious awareness and are trait-like and enduring. Implicit needs motivate us toward the pursuit and attainment of specific social incentives (Schultheiss & Brunstein, 2010).

An implicit motive is a psychological need that arises from situational cues that cause emotional reactions, which then predict, guide, and explain people’s behavior and lifestyle. They can be inferred from the person’s characteristic thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. What a person “needs” within an implicit motive is to experience a particular pattern of affect or emotion.

For example, if we have little or no need for achievement, we may experience negative affect, such as anxiety, shame, and embarrassment while engaging in that challenging task and will avoid or procrastinate as a result. Implicit motives predict our behavior far more accurately than do explicit motives, which are basically what we tell others about what motives us (McClelland, Koestner, & Weinberger, 1989).

Our cognitions can also influence our tendency to avoid or procrastinate. Cognitions are mental constructs like goals, mindset, expectations, beliefs, and self-concept, to name a few that influence our motivation. If we have conflicting goals, for example, we may be more likely to avoid or procrastinate.

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.

Wayne W. Dyer

Emotions, although closely linked to cognitions and psychological needs, in and of themselves can motivate or demotivate. They can signal the importance of particular behavior. We may feel joy or pride at the possibility of goal attainment through engagement in particular behavior, or we can be afraid of failure and choose to avoid or procrastinate.

Our environment can also be either ideal and supportive or an obstacle to staying motivated and achieving our goals (Reeve, 2015). It can be full of distractions or lack optimal conditions that allow for sustained motivation.

motivation essay

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Motivation is a dynamic process, and our motives vary over time. Raising and falling as circumstances change, and as time passes, motives contribute to the ongoing stream of behavior. To further complicate matters, we are driven by a multitude of different motives at any one point in time.

One motive, usually the one most situationally appropriate, will be strongest and dominate our attention while other motives will be subordinate and lie relatively dormant. Although typically the strongest motive will have the most considerable influence on our behavior, as circumstances change, each subordinate motive can become dominant.

The below example shows how a student’s motivation to read varies over time in strength, starting relatively strong then weakening when compared to the need to hang out with friends or to eat a snack (Reeve, 2015).

Motivation Cycle

The awareness of how motivation varies over time is particularly important when it comes to goal setting.

When we differentiate the motivational and the performance-based advantages versus disadvantages for those who adopt a short-term goal, as in eating less than 2000 calories today, versus performers who adopt a long-term goal, as in losing 20 pounds this year, we must consider the type of activity they are engaging in before making recommendations.

Short term goals work better for uninteresting activities as they boost commitment by providing feedback on progress more often, which further reinforces the effort to persist (Reeve, 2015).

Motivation to perform routine or boring activities can be improved; however, by providing clarity of goals and choice in how to perform a task. Clarity and choice can fuel a sense of mastery and autonomy, and both, in combination, can increase overall motivation as they satisfy basic psychological needs.

When it comes to interesting tasks, or as Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi (1990) calls them autotelic activities, long-term goals work better as they often provide for greater flexibility and more autonomy in how to pursue them. Short terms milestones can feel intrusive for interesting activities. Autotelic activities are already engaging, and we are often intrinsically motivated to perform them because they produce enjoyment. But most importantly, we are motivated to pursue them in the absence of external rewards or incentives.

′Autotelic′ is a word composed of two Greek roots: auto (self), and telos (goal). An autotelic activity is one we do for its own sake because to experience it is the main goal.

Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi

We also need to keep in mind that motivation to act on the goals is often higher when the goal is based in the near future, while far off goals do not create the tension of immediacy that would motivate us to act right away (Reeve, 2015).

To learn more about the types of motivation that exist, see our article on Motivation and What Really Drives Human Behavior .

You can also find many different approaches to increase motivation in the below list of self-help books published on the subject. Some are more philosophical, others biographical, and a few present recent research in motivation psychology.

There is a wide array of books on motivation, covering different aspects and genres. Making a selection of the top ten was just not possible, so here is a list of 16 excellent books on motivation.

1. Finite and Infinite Games

Finite games

The goal is to keep playing with boundaries.

Available on Amazon .

2. Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everyone Else

Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

Masters practice, practice, practice. One must deliberately engage in mentally demanding and repetitive activity to become an expert.

3. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience


Flow as motivation.

4. Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation

Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation

Motivation is something people do, not something that is done to them.

5. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success


Keep finding opportunities to improve.

6. Then We Came to the End

Then We Came to the End

Joshua Ferris shares a humoristic yet emotionally true reflection about survival in life’s strangest environment – the office.

7. Good Work

Good work

Focusing on genetics and journalism, this eagerly awaited book investigate the exhibition of humane creativity, where performance is coupled with social responsibility.

Available on  Amazon .

8. Outliers: The Story of Success


Creative work is more satisfying, but success is influenced by many factors.

9. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Winner of the prestigious Lincoln Prize and the inspiration for the Oscar Award winning–film Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, directed by Steven Spielberg, and written by Tony Kushner. Need we say more?

10. The Amateurs

The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal

Pulitzer Prize-winning writing skills combined with sport journalism results in a highly acclaimed book.

11. Punished by Rewards

Punished By Rewards: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes

Rewards motivate us only to get more rewards.

12. Once a Runner

Once a Runner: A Novel

Always better than himself.

13. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

We are not ready for freedom. The paradox is that we are free only to the extent of our self-mastery.

14. Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace

Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace

How to be self-sufficient.

15. The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organizations

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization

In learning organizations, life is a work of art.

16. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

A study by Jim Collins and his research team over five years, revealed much-needed insight into management strategies and more.

It seems it isn’t that simple to find the motivation to do this thing that is so important to us. We must consider if it competes with other motives, and perhaps take stock of our values to make sure that this not the case. Often we may have to intervene in how our motivation is influenced by external incentives present in our environment or social context to make sure that we match those to high internal motives.

Motivation science tells us that if we want to be successful in motivating our own or other people’s behavior, high internal motives should be matched with high external motivations. Finally, we will often want to sustain the motivation over some time and may have to create a regiment of reminders, repetitions, and rituals — more on that in our article on motivation tools .

How do you hack motivation? What helps you stay committed?

Share your experience in the comments section.

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

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Awanto Twui wibowo

Beautiful article….Thank you very much it make me to understand perfectly


Thank you for an interesting read! A great view on a topic I am greatly interested in 🙂

I am looking for the Wayne W. Dyer reference – is there any pointers for this?

Many thanks.

Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

Glad you enjoyed the post! I believe this was a spoken quote, not from a written source (see here ).

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Capital Time

First, I appreciate your blog; I have read your article carefully, Your content is very valuable to me. I hope people like this blog too. I hope you will gain more experience with your knowledge; That’s why people get more information.

Jina D

It’s THAN not THEN.

Motivation Process Our motivation, when it originates from internal motives, as categorized into needs, cognitions, and emotions, is often experienced as more immediate and potent —then —-extrinsic motivation

Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

Oops! Thank you for bringing this to our attention — I’ve just corrected it 🙂

Zechariah Matson

Amazing article, I came across this article for a paper I am writing in college and found it extremely useful. Additionally I own a part time dog training business and find that motivation is a hugely underappreciated concept within dog training. I base much of my training on motivation and find this article to be extremely beneficial in understanding motivation as it applies to both humans and animals as well as the behavior that come from it. Lastly I really appreciated the recommended books at the end, I just downloaded a few of them off of audible and will continue my studies on motivation.

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3 Goal Achievement Exercises Pack

What Is Motivation?

The Driving Force Behind Human Actions

Kendra Cherry, MS, is the author of the "Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition)" and has written thousands of articles on diverse psychology topics. Kendra holds a Master of Science degree in education from Boise State University with a primary research interest in educational psychology and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Idaho State University with additional coursework in substance use and case management.

motivation essay

Verywell / Emily Roberts 

The term "motivation" describes why a person does something. It is the driving force behind human actions. Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors.

For instance, motivation is what helps you lose extra weight, or pushes you to get that promotion at work. In short, motivation causes you to act in a way that gets you closer to your goals. Motivation includes the biological , emotional , social , and cognitive forces that activate human behavior.

Click Play to Learn More About Motivation

This video has been medically reviewed by John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE .

Motivation also involves factors that direct and maintain goal-directed actions. Although, such motives are rarely directly observable. As a result, we must often infer the reasons why people do the things that they do based on observable behaviors.

Learn the types of motivation that exist and how we use them in our everyday lives. And if it feels like you've lost your motivation, do not worry. We also share a few ways to develop or improve your self-motivation levels.

Press Play for Advice on Motivation

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares an exercise you can use to help you perform your best. Click below to listen now.

Follow Now : Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts

Types of Motivation

The two main types of motivation are frequently described as being either extrinsic or intrinsic.

A Third Type of Motivation?

Some research suggests that there is a third type of motivation: family motivation. An example of this type is going to work when you are not motivated to do so internally (no intrinsic motivation), but because it is a means to support your family financially.

Is It Extrinsic or Intrinsic Motivation?

Why motivation is important.

Motivation serves as a guiding force for all human behavior. So, understanding how motivation works and the factors that may impact it can be important for several reasons.

Understanding motivation can:

Mental Health in the Workplace Webinar

On May 19, 2022, Verywell Mind hosted a virtual Mental Health in the Workplace webinar, hosted by Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW. If you missed it, check out  this recap  to learn ways to foster supportive work environments and helpful strategies to improve your well-being on the job.

Components of Motivation

If you've ever had a goal (like wanting to lose 20 pounds or run a marathon), you probably already know that simply having the desire to accomplish these things is not enough. You must also be able to persist through obstacles and have the endurance to keep going in spite of difficulties faced.

These different elements or components are needed to get and stay motivated. Researchers have identified three major components of motivation: activation, persistence, and intensity.

The degree of each of these components of motivation can impact whether you achieve your goal. Strong activation, for example, means that you are more likely to start pursuing a goal. Persistence and intensity will determine if you keep working toward that goal and how much effort you devote to reaching it.

Tips for Improving Your Motivation

All people experience fluctuations in their motivation and willpower . Sometimes you feel fired up and highly driven to reach your goals. Other times, you might feel listless or unsure of what you want or how to achieve it.

If you're feeling low on motivation, there are steps you can take to help increase your drive. Some things you can do to develop or improve your motivation include:

Causes of Low Motivation

There are a few things you should watch for that might hurt or inhibit your motivation levels. These include:

Motivation and Mental Health

Sometimes a persistent lack of motivation is tied to a mental health condition such as depression . Talk to your doctor if you are feeling symptoms of apathy and low mood that last longer than two weeks.

Theories of Motivation

Throughout history, psychologists have proposed different theories to explain what motivates human behavior. The following are some of the major theories of motivation.

The instinct theory of motivation suggests that behaviors are motivated by instincts, which are fixed and inborn patterns of behavior. Psychologists such as William James, Sigmund Freud , and William McDougal have proposed several basic human drives that motivate behavior. They include biological instincts that are important for an organism's survival—such as fear, cleanliness, and love.

Drives and Needs

Many behaviors such as eating, drinking, and sleeping are motivated by biology. We have a biological need for food, water, and sleep. Therefore, we are motivated to eat, drink, and sleep. The drive reduction theory of motivation suggests that people have these basic biological drives, and our behaviors are motivated by the need to fulfill these drives.

Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs is another motivation theory based on a desire to fulfill basic physiological needs. Once those needs are met, it expands to our other needs, such as those related to safety and security, social needs, self-esteem, and self-actualization.

Arousal Levels

The arousal theory of motivation suggests that people are motivated to engage in behaviors that help them maintain their optimal level of arousal. A person with low arousal needs might pursue relaxing activities such as reading a book, while those with high arousal needs might be motivated to engage in exciting, thrill-seeking behaviors such as motorcycle racing.

The Bottom Line

Psychologists have proposed many different theories of motivation . The reality is that there are numerous different forces that guide and direct our motivations.

A Word From Verywell

Understanding motivation is important in many areas of life beyond psychology, from parenting to the workplace. You may want to set the best goals and establish the right reward systems to motivate others as well as to  increase your own motivation .

Knowledge of motivating factors (and how to manipulate them) is used in marketing and other aspects of industrial psychology. It's an area where there are many myths, and everyone can benefit from knowing what works with motivation and what doesn't.

Nevid JS.  Psychology: Concepts and Applications .

Tranquillo J, Stecker M.  Using intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in continuing professional education .  Surg Neurol Int.  2016;7(Suppl 7):S197-9. doi:10.4103/2152-7806.179231

Menges JI, Tussing DV, Wihler A, Grant AM. When job performance is all relative: How family motivation energizes effort and compensates for intrinsic motivation . Acad Managem J . 2016;60(2):695-719. doi:10.5465/amj.2014.0898

Hockenbury DH, Hockenbury SE. Discovering Psychology .

Zhou Y, Siu AF. Motivational intensity modulates the effects of positive emotions on set shifting after controlling physiological arousal . Scand J Psychol . 2015;56(6):613-21. doi:10.1111/sjop.12247

Mystkowska-Wiertelak A, Pawlak M. Designing a tool for measuring the interrelationships between L2 WTC, confidence, beliefs, motivation, and context . Classroom-Oriented Research . 2016. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-30373-4_2

Myers DG.  Exploring Social Psychology .

Siegling AB, Petrides KV. Drive: Theory and construct validation .  PLoS One . 2016;11(7):e0157295. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0157295

By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is the author of the "Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition)" and has written thousands of articles on diverse psychology topics. Kendra holds a Master of Science degree in education from Boise State University with a primary research interest in educational psychology and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Idaho State University with additional coursework in substance use and case management.

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Home — Essay Samples — Psychology — Personality Psychology — Motivation

motivation essay

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Your Motivation to Do Sports

Some theories of motivation or why it is necessary to motivate employees.

Motivation is what explains why people or animals initiate, continue or terminate a certain behavior at a particular time. Motivational states are commonly understood as forces acting within the agent that create a disposition to engage in goal-directed behavior.

There are four main tyoes of motivation: Intrinsic, extrinsic, unconscious, and conscious.

Theories articulating the content of motivation: Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Herzberg's two-factor theory, Alderfer's ERG theory, Self-Determination Theory, Drive theory.



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Motivation can come from two sources, from inside of you and from outside of you. It can come from your hopes and expectations. It is from your desire to do something or to be someone, but not everyone is highly

Essay about Self-Motivation is Empowering

Motivation is a very strong tool we can use to get further in life and to achieve our dreams and goals. Setting goals for ourselves is something that I consider to be very important, I believe in always pushing myself further and further in life, not only physically but mentally as well. We all have different things or tools we can use to motivate us towards our end goals. In order for us to stay motivated we have to have a goal and be driven towards achieving that goal.

Motivation In The Workplace Essays

Motivation in the workplace is one of the major concerns that managers face when trying to encourage their employees to work harder and do what is expected of them on a day-to-day basis. According to Organizational Behavior by John R. Schermerhorn, James G. Hunt and Richard N. Osborn the definition of motivation is "the individual forces that account for the direction, level, and persistence of a person's effort expended at work." They go on to say that "motivation is a key concern in firms across the globe." Through the years there have been several theories as to what motivates employees to do their best at work. In order to better understand these theories we will apply them to a fictitious organization that has the following

How the Original Beauty Company’s Motivational Practices and Reward Systems Are Based on Theories of Motivation

Motivation is a word used to refer to the reason or reasons for engaging in a particular behaviour especially human behaviour. These reasons may include a drive, a need, a desire to achieve a goal, a state of being, or an ideal. In human beings, motivation involves both conscious and subconscious drives.

Motivation And Motivation Of Motivation

Motivation is derived from motive which means an idea, emotion or need that prompt a man into action. In practical, the different motives operate among different people at different times and influence their behavior. The motivation process involves the study that motives the individual which cause different kind of behavior. Motivation is a process that starts with a physiological or psychological deficiency or need that activates behavior or a drive that is aimed at a goal or ‘incentive’. It means relationship among need. A motive is an inner state that energizes, activates or moves and directs or channels behavior toward goals.

The Importance Of Motivation In My Life

Motivation is hard to find, but everyone has that one person in their life that they look up to. Throughout my years of growing up I saw someone struggling hard to make it in life and saw how she worked day and night to make a living. This person has helped me with both school work and how to keep pushing to reach my goal. She has been there since day one every time I get frustrated she always by my side tells me it’s going to be worth it trusts me to just keep going that person who I look up to everyday is Melissa Corona my mother’s little sister I call her Nana.

Motivation in the Workplace Essay

Motivation is a very broad term that is discussed in a variety of settings. There is the motivation to perform in a business setting, the motivation to perform on the field of competition, the motivation to provide for friends and family, and the motivation to accomplish goals that have been set. These are all various motivations that any one person can be involved with at any time. According to Maslow, motivation always exists within a person and in various forms, “...motivation is constant, never ending, fluctuating, and complex, and that it is an almost universal characteristic of practically every organismic state of affairs” (Maslow, 1954). As complex as motivation seems, it is everyone’s intention to identify their personal

Essay on Motivation

Motivation is one of the most discussed topics in the present era’s organisations, especially since renowned psychologists like Maslow and Herzberg are dedicating their efforts to understanding it. Companies are investing a significant amount of resources in improving productivity in order to maximise profits. One of these important resources is of human nature. In order to get the very best out of employees, some motivational approaches need to be used. But what is motivation and how do I successfully motivate? I will try to relate one of my personal experiences with a friend to some of the most influential motivational theories. After introducing my story and making a definition of motivation I will address the ideas of Taylor,

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Motivation Essay

500+ words essay on motivation.

Motivation, the word itself, means positive vibes which push an individual to go through tough times. We all are unaware of what drives one to stay motivated. We have different sources such as our role models, parents, teachers, etc. Everyone should have some infrequent motivation intervals to move forward in their life.

Meaning of Motivation

Motivation provides us with positive energy to achieve our goals and makes us feel optimistic and enthusiastic. It pushes us to perform our work specifically to get results. In our life, it gives us the energy to stay focused on our work. Every individual needs the motivation to achieve their dreams and aspirations. Human beings have numerous things to motivate themselves, such as encouragement from loved ones, friends, etc. Motivation from our parents makes us feel more confident about the path we pursue. It encourages us to believe in ourselves and make us stronger. Sometimes, we fail to achieve success, and at that phase, we require motivation. Once we get motivated, we start fresh with energy and hope.

Motivation comes with constant practice, meaning getting moved or inspired by someone that will help you achieve your goals. Everyone needs motivation, whether in a workplace, school, institution, etc.

Role of Motivation

Motivation comes with the right mindset irrespective of your goal, too big or long term. It helps us to move ahead mentally and physically. To keep ourselves motivated, we require a driving factor or tool and to become successful; we need to push our boundaries. Also, you need to come out of your comfort zone to reveal your true potential.

Types of Motivation

An individual might have various types of motivation, but in my opinion, motivation can be self-motivation and motivation by others.

Self-motivation: Self-motivation means keeping ourselves motivated without the influence of other people and situations. If you are self-motivated, you can complete the given task without guidance and encouragement.

Motivation by Others: People who lack self-motivation need help from others to keep themselves motivated. They need encouragement from others to maintain their state of motivation. These people also need to listen to motivational speeches for inspiration.

Sources of Motivation

The source of motivation can be anyone, either your school teachers or your parents, depending upon the situation.

From People: When it comes to our motivation, our mothers play an imperative role. Mothers selflessly motivate their children in every stage of life. According to research, it is found that when we communicate with our mothers, our brain releases oxytocin in a reasonable amount. It makes us feel good and motivated. Also, some people are well-known about our goal clearly, so they encourage us.

Famous Personalities: We also get inspiration from our favourite personalities like social workers, writers, political leaders, film stars, presidents, cricketers, etc. We want to become like the person we follow, which indirectly becomes our motivation.

Animals: Animals also motivate us, like dogs, which always makes us happy. We can also take the example of an ant who keeps on falling but never gives up, so it teaches us that we should not feel unmotivated in our failure. Similarly, if we look at our surroundings, many animals motivate us.

Nature: The season is the best example when we talk about nature. The season keeps on changing, but we might not like every season, but still, we survive and understand its significance. Rivers also inspires and teaches us to face every problem of our life.

Books: They are one of the best sources of motivation. Many books have beautiful experiences shared with some captivating stories. Books are our best friends and the best motivators.

Conclusion of Motivation Essay

It is not only you who may feel low or sad. People meet different people and get motivated, like an energy drink. Always have your inspiration with you because it will help you achieve your goals. It is good to be optimistic because it helps us achieve our goals and adds peace to our lives.

From our BYJU’S website, students can learn CBSE Essays related to different topics. It will help students to get good marks in their upcoming exams.

Frequently asked Questions on Motivation Essay

How important is self-motivation.

In today’s competitive world, motivating oneself constanly is necessary to move forward in life and career.

Do teachers play an important role in the ‘motivation factor’ of students?

Students spend maximum time in school and thus teachers are solely responsible (after parents) in motivating children towards the right goal.

How do students develop motivation?

Students can keep themselves motivated by setting realistic goals, making note of their progress, following timelines and rewarding themselves for their achievements.

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6 Unique Tips for Writing a Brilliant Motivational Essay

5 unique tips to writing a brilliant motivational essay

Fortunately, in the contemporary world we live in, we can pursue have numerous education paths.

However, choosing college and career path is only half the battle.

The hard part is gaining admissions into the school of your dreams. Make no mistake: this is not an easy task. Most schools require not only outstanding grades, but also a thorough motivational essay explaining your motives for pursuing your chosen major at their institution.

This is the opportunity to stand out and show your character and ability to turn your education into a successful venture.

In the following article, we will give you some writing tips and practical advice on how to write a superb essay for college admissions and earn that acceptance letter.

1. Do your research

One of the most common mistakes people make when writing a motivational essay is creating a template piece for every college they apply to. This is a huge no-no, and here’s why: each academic establishment has its own agenda and preferences.

Some appreciate social initiatives and volunteering experience, some look for passion and determination to succeed, while others pay more attention to grades and test scores.

Try to research your chosen school as much as possible and write a unique essay accordingly. Sometimes colleges provide specific questions they want to see answered in your essay, so be sure to read the instructions carefully. Edit your work so the readers will feel the school’s spirit in your essay. It’s a good start to help your application stand out from the crowd.

2. Be personal

This part may surprise you: you don’t need to be an excellent writer. Sites like EduBirdie might save you some time, but they skip over the real reasons colleges want a motivational letter. Colleges want to get to know you — the person behind the application forms, documents, and numbers.

They want to see what your aspirations are, what you like to do, why you decided to pursue this particular path, and what you consider your strengths to be.

A generic, standard letter with no personality simply won’t. Don’t just repeat your application verbatim — embrace your life and interests and show off the real you! Try to present yourself in an informal way; don’t worry about formalities.

Let the university staff get to see your unique character and way of thinking; perhaps you can include a relevant joke or an anecdote from your life that is connected with your choice of profession, etc.

A strong personal approach goes a very long way here — trust us.

3. Drafts are important

First impressions matters. In the case of college applications, your first impression is in your motivational essay . Of course, you want to give a good first impression. Proper grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation are the key. This is why editing and revising your text is crucial.

Play around with word choice, ensure the paragraphs are clear and concise, and pay close attention to sentence structure. You can even use an Online Word Counter Tool to help you size up your draft properly.

Online programs like Grammarly are great for checking spelling and other possible issues in your writing. If the admission committee reads an essay with a clear sense of purpose, excellent grammar, and determination, they will see the applicant as a good fit because they understand the applicant’s goals and abilities. Don’t underestimate the power of proper styling and grammar.

4. Survey your essay

This may seem like an odd tip, but it can help with your essay quite a lot. If you’re unsure about the motivational essay you’ve written, or maybe you’re looking for ways to make it more memorable, try creating an online survey. You can put it out to the masses on social media, or even ask a few close friends to take a read and give you their thoughts.

Ask their opinion on your writing: what points are the strongest, what areas did you struggle, and how could you improve. This will provide you with real feedback to identify any issues you may have overlooked.

5. Get to the point

It may seem alluring to include every seemingly-relevant detail in your motivational essay. However, this can make the whole piece come across as vague and all over the place. Pick a couple of routes to follow, assess your best qualities, and decide what areas of your life and background you wish to include.

Don’t try to cram in every idea that crosses your mind; this will only clutter your essay! One good suggestion is to ask your friends and family to list your best characteristics, skills, and talents, then pick a few of most common to include in your essay.

6.Professional goals matter

While showing personality in your essay is essential, don’t forget to talk about your professional goals. Clearly state your motivation for choosing this career path and why you’re most suited for it. Explain why you are the best candidate for the program. Don’t overdo it by showing off or praising yourself too much.

Instead, talk about what personality traits will help you success, and where you plan on going with the degree you earn.

Remember, balance is the key to a good motivational essay; putting less information than needed is just as bad as putting too much. Getting too personal and informal will harm your application,but so will being too bland and official.

The secret is to maintain balance, and include only the points that matter. The most important advice is be yourself and be inspired.

For more great college tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.

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motivation essay

Ambition, Goals

Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff

Motivation is the desire to act in service of a goal. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining our objectives.

Motivation is one of the driving forces behind human behavior. It fuels competition and sparks social connection. Its absence can lead to mental illnesses such as depression . Motivation encompasses the desire to continue striving toward meaning, purpose, and a life worth living.

Sources of Motivation

How to set and accomplish goals, how to increase motivation, diet, exercise, and finance goals.

motivation essay

People often have multiple motives for engaging in any one behavior. Motivation might be extrinsic, whereby a person is inspired by outside forces—other people or rewards. Motivation can also be intrinsic, whereby the inspiration comes from within—the desire to improve at a certain activity. Intrinsic motivation tends to push people more forcefully, and the accomplishments are more fulfilling.

One framework used for understanding motivation is the hierarchy of needs proposed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow in 1943. According to Maslow, humans are inherently motivated to better themselves and move toward expressing their full potential—self-actualization—by progressively encountering and satisfying several levels of need from the most fundamental, such as for food and safety, to higher-order needs for love, belonging, and self-esteem .

Eventually, Maslow extended the theory to include a need for self-transcendence: People reach the pinnacle of growth and find the highest meaning in life by attending to things beyond the self. Although the universality of Maslow's theory has been challenged, many believe it captures fundamental truths about human motivation.

Where does motivation come from?

Motivation can stem from a variety of sources. People may be motivated by external incentives, such as the motivation to work for compensation, or internal enjoyment, such as the motivation to create artwork in one’s spare time. Other sources of motivation include curiosity, autonomy, validation of one’s identity and beliefs, creating a positive self-image , and the desire to avoid potential losses.

What is intrinsic motivation?

Intrinsic motivation is a drive that comes purely from within; it’s not due to any anticipated reward, deadline, or outside pressure. For example, people who are intrinsically motivated to run do so because they love the feeling of running itself, and it's an important part of their identity. Extrinsic motivation can increase motivation in the short term, but over time it can wear down or even backfire. By contrast, intrinsic motivation is powerful because it is integrated into identity and serves as a continuous source of motivation.

What is extrinsic motivation?

Extrinsic motivation is any reason someone does work other than the joy of doing the work itself. Anything promised for completing the task or received as a result of completing the task are extrinsic motivators. An extrinsic motivator needs three elements to be successful, according to research by psychologist Victor Vroom: expectancy (believing that increased effort will lead to increased performance), instrumentality (believing that a better performance will be noticed and rewarded), and valence (wanting the reward that is promised).

motivation essay

Achieving a goal is a process. And all of the components of that process deserve attention to ensure success, from setting the objective, to overcoming obstacles, to sustaining momentum until the project is complete.

How should I set my goals?

Failing to accomplish a goal is sometimes due to the way it was set. But a few psychological tricks can help set and reach those goals. One is to ensure that the goal is attached to a value, such as the value of supporting your local community or fighting climate change . Another is to frame your goal as an asset to be gained rather than a threat to be avoided. For example, instead of thinking, “I shouldn’t bother my boss, so we can avoid a rocky relationship,” try thinking, “I want to learn new communication skills to reset our relationship.” Yet another idea is to try setting a learning goal instead of a performance goal; instead of deciding to lose 20 pounds, decide to learn more about nutrition and cook two healthy recipes each week.

How do I build momentum?

Motivation targets the “why” of change, but momentum targets the “how.” Generating momentum is pivotal for taking the concrete steps needed to shift out of entrenched patterns and make change. Focusing on momentum can also be used in a therapeutic context. For example, a therapist might address a pattern of avoidance in a patient with depression by identifying small steps they have already taken (getting out of bed that morning, coming to therapy ) and then listing the next steps they can take next. Recognizing the motivation for change and focusing on the dynamics that support change can also help build momentum.

How do I persevere through difficult tasks?

It’s natural to feel stuck at certain points, especially when working through difficult tasks. But research suggests that several strategies can help. One is to focus on the positive consequences of the activity, such as passing a final exam. Another is to try and regulate your emotions during the task, such as by thinking about an upcoming vacation while running on the treadmill. Yet another is to monitor and track your progress, which can continue to propel you toward the next milestone. Lastly, try to enrich the task and make it more enjoyable (called “temptation bundling”), like listening to a podcast as you do the laundry.

How do I accomplish my goals?

Tracking progress is key to sustaining motivation and achieving your goals. It’s helpful to make progress visual and concrete, such as by writing it down or using an app. Tracking can also help you spot patterns that might derail your success. For example, health and wellness goals are generally long-term. Tracking your progress and behavior can help you spot when you tend to slip up, and then address the underlying causes. Additionally, it can be motivating to reflect back on the progress you’ve made, or look forward to the work to come if it’s a core part of your identity.

motivation essay

Some people may find themselves completely stymied by a project; others may simply want to pack a little more productivity into their timeline. No matter where motivation begins, there are always ways to increase it—whether that be your own motivation or someone else’s.

How can I feel more motivated?

Sometimes you might feel completely unmotivated —and that’s ok. In that situation, allow yourself to feel the discomfort, hear the negative self-talk , and then take action anyway, For example, let’s say you come home after a long day at work and just want to unwind and watch TV. Instead of turning the TV on, acknowledge that you’re tired and then challenge yourself to read five pages of the book on your nightstand first. This approach gives space for negative thoughts and feelings, while helping you change ingrained patterns.

How can I stop procrastinating?

Procrastination is often driven by underlying feelings of distress or anxiety elicited by a given task. But there are ways to navigate the discomfort and beat procrastination. You can break the project into small, more manageable pieces; accomplishing one step will fuel your motivation for the next. You can set limits for the time spent preparing to begin, or aim to complete tasks as quickly as possible. You can also set a reward that you’ll get after completing the task or a part of it.

How can companies motivate their employees?

Companies have the opportunity to motivate employees with incentives, but they also need to be mindful that incentives can backfire—as in the case of the Wells Fargo scandal. Employees are motivated by external rewards when they believe that working harder will lead to a better performance, that they’ll be rewarded for a better performance, and they appreciate the reward, such as a bonus or time off. It can be difficult to meet those criteria—“Will my hard work really be noticed?” “Does my contribution really matter since I’m on a large team?—so companies should tailor incentives to each unique team and role.

How can politicians motivate their constituents?

Successful interventions often motivate through a combination of psychology and economic policy, which vary by context but often leverage social norms. For example, more people enrolled in a sustainable energy program when the sign up sheet was in their building lobby, because they could showcase their values to their neighbors—or perhaps feel pressured to sign up to maintain a good reputation.

motivation essay

Some of the most common goals people make—and the most common goals they struggle to meet—are to eat healthier, work out more, and save more money. Many traps can prevent people from achieving those goals, but anticipating those challenges can help achieve real change.

How can I stick to my diet?

Many people struggle to stick to a diet. Research suggests that extrinsic motivators—to avoid hurtful comments or fit into an outfit—can jumpstart the process but that intrinsic motivation—interest, enjoyment, and challenge in the journey—is key to sustained, lasting weight loss. Intrinsic motivation encompasses competence, autonomy, and relatedness, so it’s helpful to 1) choose a diet that will be sustainable and effective 2) believe that the diet, start date, and end goals have been chosen autonomously and not “assigned” by others 3) find a community of supporters.

How can I stay motivated to exercise?

There are a few creative ideas to consider if motivation is a barrier to exercise. One is to widen the options you have: If you don’t have time to go to the gym, exercise by going for a walk, doing a bodyweight circuit, or watching a yoga video. Another is to make exercise more enjoyable, such as by listening to a book on tape. Yet another is to establish a social contract with a friend or family member. For example, if you allow phone time to supersede exercise, you must donate to a cause of the other person’s choosing.

How do I motivate myself to save money?

Four steps can help cultivate the habit of saving money. The first is to set a specific saving goal for an emergency fund. This focused goal will build habits that become sustainable saving. The second is to save something every day, even if it’s just a few dollars, because repetition helps to form habits. Third, making savings visible, whether by checking a savings account online or keeping cash in a glass jar. Fourth, consistently spend less than you make—in addition to cultivating a saving mindset, it’s important to change a spending mindset.

How can I follow through on my New Year's resolutions?

Most people, unfortunately, fail to follow through on their New Year’s resolutions. This might be because people tend to set overwhelming goals, engage in all-or-nothing thinking, don’t anticipate obstacles, and beat themselves up when they get off track. By addressing those traps—such as by breaking large goals into smaller pieces or thinking of results as a range of positive outcomes rather than “success or failure”—people are more likely to truly achieve their goals.

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motivation essay

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Motivation Essay Examples

‘You can motivate by fear. And you can motivate by reward. But both of these methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation.’ – Homer Rice. In self motivation essays authors usually share pure tips how to motivate yourself, but they sometimes forget...

I will excel in my studies throughout my college education to ensure the fulfillment of my dream to be a leader in the industry of eco-friendly products and goods. I chose to write what motivates you in life essay to show what can be motivation...

Usually teachers are habituated to perform his or her duties individually within the work place. But in the last decade of twenty century this old approach turn into modern approach that is more effective for the teacher professional development through creating collaboration, sharing ideas and...

Motivation is a process that makes people determined to achieve their goals. It totally depends on the firmness of our decisions. Theories about motivation explains about the efforts of the people to achieve their desired things. Many motivational speakers give their views differently about motivation...

“Seeing something once is better than hearing about it a hundred times. Doing something once is better than seeing it a hundred times. ” This adage by Lisa See is what I’ve been a strong believer of and live by. Having the privilege of travelling...

The concept of motivation always regarded in human societies particularly for scholars and educational experts.  In this paper, we review the theoretical perspectives that have been submitted over the past 4 decades and associated with language acquisition, this review also covers the important results of...

Numerous psychologists have contributed to the theories of motivation which most organizations use as a tool to aid in efficiency and effectiveness of employees. The theory of motivation can be approached from various perspective, however, they all share common factors that there is a link...

Computer Engineering, It’s something that I want to do when I graduate. Computer Engineering is a great career to get into. Computer Engineering makes good money it will also allow me to stay in this state. Even though this job is an upcoming job, I...

Before you can begin motivating your students, you must first be motivated yourself. During my time in school, I found it difficult to be motivated myself, if my teacher was not motivated themselves. Often my classmates and I would match our teacher’s energy, or lack...

The most cherished memories of my childhood are the innumerable games of Monopoly I used to play with my family. Monopoly had become a Sunday staple post a relaxed lunch. As I grew up, my understanding of this game evolved. Monopoly is not just a...

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Similar topics.

Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. It is what causes you to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge. Motivation involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behavior.

There are four main tyoes of motivation: Intrinsic, extrinsic, unconscious, and conscious.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Herzberg's two-factor theory, Alderfer's ERG theory, Self-Determination Theory, Drive theory.

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