How To Develop Extrinsic Motivation

Developing Extrinsic Motivation

From getting fit to getting a promotion, it’s impossible to achieve your goals without positive motivation. While some motivation is considered intrinsic, meaning that a person’s interest in pursuing his or her goals stems from inner values and is self-rewarding, for most of the activities you might be required to do on a daily basis, you might need a little help getting excited about achieving those goals. For this, it’s helpful to know how to arrange your environment to help maximize your extrinsic motivation– that is, motivation that is determined by your outside surroundings.

3 Key Components To Achieve Extrinsic Motivation

There are three key components that this article will discuss on its way to helping you achieve extrinsic motivation: appropriate goal-setting, use of rewards, and a supportive social network. Each of these factors has been shown to support the development of people’s motivation in a variety of contexts including physical fitness, education, career development, and many more.

#1 Goal Setting

The first important factor to consider in the development of motivation is appropriate goal-setting. Instead of trying to tackle your larger goal all at once, break it down into smaller components that you can achieve in a shorter amount of time. For instance, instead of trying to clean your entire house, start with just doing the bathroom or just decluttering a closet. Breaking down a big task into bite-sized components will help to boost your sense of competence– a psychological need that has been identified as critical to the development of motivation– as you complete each new step.

#2 Reward Yourself

However, setting appropriate goals will not fully maximize your extrinsic motivation on its own. To truly get the most out of your goal-setting, it is important to give yourself rewards for completion of certain tasks. It does not matter how frequently you give yourself rewards, but it is important that once you start, you do not stop rewarding yourself for your accomplishments. These rewards can be anything that you want, from getting yourself something tasty to eat, to giving yourself time between tasks to relax and maybe play a game, to large rewards like taking a vacation. Getting your brain to associate positive outcomes with the completion of the tasks you want to do will help you feel happier about the things you are achieving, even if previously you did not find them enjoyable. Plus, even if you do not start enjoying the achievement of your goals more than you had before, knowing that you will get to do or receive something you want after you complete your task can make it easier to get started.

#3 Social Support

One of the most helpful things you can do to boost your extrinsic motivation is to find a social support network or to get your friends and family to help hold you accountable for achieving your goals. Bringing in this positive system of social support will help you develop extrinsic motivation in two key ways. First, it will help boost your sense of relatedness, which is the feeling that you belong with and are cared for by the people around you. This is another psychological need that, along with the need for competence, has been shown to have positive effects on motivation when it is met. To fully tap into the benefits of a loving support network, it is important to find people that you consider to be warm who share the values that you want to get motivated towards– if you are trying to get motivated to stop drinking, for instance, it does not help to have a group of friends that you feel a strong sense of belongingness with but who regularly abuse alcohol.

The other way that enlisting the help of your social network will help you develop a positive motivational outlook is that knowing someone will be disappointed in you if you do not achieve your goals is a powerful motivator in and of itself. Humans are very social creatures, and a large part of external motivation comes from our innate desire to please each other. Letting the people in your support network know exactly what your goals are and asking them to check up on you to make sure you’ve achieved them can tap that part of human nature to your motivational benefit. This desire to achieve well for others is called performance-based motivation, and it is closely related to extrinsic motivation.

The journey towards developing positive motivation for tasks you do not find to be intrinsically motivating can be tough, but utilizing your environment to help boost your sense of extrinsic motivation is possible and can pay off in increased desire to work at accomplishing your goals. Using the methods outlined in this article should help you boost your motivation and accomplish your dreams.