How can we turn motivation from a fleeting spurt of energy to a sustainable habit?
We have all experienced the beauty of an inspired thought to carry out a big change in our lives or lifestyles. Whether that be setting new career goals, fitness routines, or the pursuit of a new hobby to surprise your loved ones!
On the other hand, these sudden bursts of interest can quickly disappear with the speed at which they arrived. The pace of life can quickly get in the way of our goals lists made spontaneously the night before, and the normality of old routines continues.
How can we change this in order to implement real changes in our studies, teaching careers and personal endeavours? Our personal motivation is key in supporting our work-life balance. TV producer and author Daniel Pink proposes a theory in his bestselling books by flipping the script and making motivation internal.
This is the typical motivation brought on by external factors. After the London Olympics, I was obsessed with running and joined an athletics club. My passion quickly faded after the extrinsic driving force of the games had finished.
Pink’s solution – motivation based on intrinsic feeling and emotion, where as striving towards a goal is rewarding in itself (‘it’s about the journey, not the destination’).
How to achieve intrinsic motivation?
- Mastery – Having the goal to improve instead of a fixed outcome can make each day feel more successful, as well as taking away the misconception of a goal being the limit.
- Autonomy – A greater degree of choice and freedom in our tasks can allow us to be more creative and enjoy learning more. Learning an instrument through songs you love is a great out-of-work example of this.
- Purpose – Remembering the reason behind our goals can be invigorating. Take a step back to remind yourself of the great things you are building and striving towards.
- Taking control – Taking control of our motivators and understanding them could turn wishful thinking into something special and sustainable. Who knows, maybe Pink’s words will have me back out on the running track for good.
It’s so easy to lose motivation with so many distractions yet the things that we are aiming to get motivation for, are often the things we need more of. Whether it be a better diet, fitness goal or leisure activity. For work-life balance, we need to sustain our own motivation by flipping away from the extrinsic to the intrinsic.
How will you apply this concept of intrinsic personal motivation to a hobby or activity that has fallen by the wayside due to workload?