There are at least two basic reasons. I would call it more “practical”: we want to be motivated because this makes things easier for us. The second, I would call it more “cosmic”: we need to be motivated, not get depressed and give meaning to life.
Why is the motivation needed?
Motivation makes things easier
When you have to do something and don’t feel like it, you find yourself uncomfortable. You cannot do it, or do it little and badly. But you know that this takes you away from your goals, and it also gives you some guilt. Or you can try hard and do it. But that means dealing with boredom and fatigue. So here is the motivation, if it came to you with a stroke of a magic wand, it would get you out of this dilemma.
Because having motivation is as if broccoli tastes like chocolate, and vice versa!
That is, let me explain:
Most of the good things for your taste bad, while those that are bad for you are delicious. And so it is for motivation: if we always had them, and in large quantities, nothing would weigh on us. Not even the most ungrateful of activities. And so we desperately want it.
Motivation gives meaning to life
Behavioral psychology has developed an entire “theory of motivations”, linking them from a neuropsychological point of view to the different brain structures present in humans:
Some are related to the primal structures of the brain, and we share them with other animals. They correspond to instincts such as hunger, thirst, fear, survival instinct…. and they guide our actions exactly as they do for all other living beings.
On a different level, there are those typical of the human emotional sphere, such as the sense of belonging or the desire to be loved.
Finally, it seems that man needs it “in and of himself,” that is, he needs to feel emotions, positive or negative, for what he does. To always maintain a certain level of “excitement” concerning life, without which he would fall into apathy or even depression.
In this last sense, then, motivation takes on a “cosmic” meaning: it becomes a fundamental ingredient of our happiness, regardless of the causes that trigger it and the objectives it pursues.
It is worthwhile, then, to delve a little deeper into this strange emotion.
To motivate yourself, you have to “do what you believe in.”
What you believe in is not limited to the moment’s emotion but is a mixture of emotion and reason. And it describes you best as a human being.
Furthermore, what you believe in also incorporates the other two dimensions seen above.
Motivation put into practice: 3 fundamental strategies
Therefore, doing something you believe in is the prerequisite for finding a stable motivation and increasing your chances of maintaining it over time.
Let me explain: let’s say you are studying at university, and you have established that this, in some way and for your reasons, resonates with your core values, that is, who you are and what you really want.
This protects you from changing your choice every six months, gives you priorities, protects you from the regret of “what I could do and didn’t do”.
But it’s not that every day, to get on books, you can use it as a lever to study!
Instead, you need a little more practical strategies:
1 – Plan long term and short term
If you have to get up every morning and find the motivation or inspiration to plan the day’s activities, your life gets pretty complicated.
Instead, what you need to do is plan what you do in advance. That is, once you have established that a “project” is worth part of your life, be it an exam, a job, or a diet, you have to include it in two types of planning:
In the long term:
Break it up into many moments.
Make sure you assign a time and place to each of these moments.
In the short term:
Never start a day without having decided at least 80% of what you will do. Why 80%? To leave room for the unexpected, creativity, and opportunities.
2 – Choose the right activities, and you will work in the “flow”.
Even if you are motivated towards a goal that resonates perfectly with your values and what you believe in, remember that you are still a human being, with all its weaknesses.
So, in practice, to pursue your goals without getting discouraged, you have to do it through a series of activities that are suitable for maintaining your motivation, keeping you in the “flow”.
But what the heck is “flow “?
Imagine playing a game of chess or tennis:
If your opponent is too weaker than you, you get bored.
If it’s too loud, you get frustrated.
While the ideal, to be stimulated, to be in the “flow,” is to play against someone just a little bit stronger or just a little weaker, depending on the day you are on.
The same is true for any activity: when it is too complex or too easy, we “get out of the flow”, and we are unable to maintain the right motivation, as this is supplanted by frustration or boredom.
Sometimes, if the goal is too demanding, it can even scare us.
This also applies very well to motivation!
So, if you want to get fit, write a book, pass an exam, or become a rock star, and want to keep your motivation to the max, do it in a way that you break this goal down into a series of actions that are neither too difficult nor too difficult. Too easy.
This will help you keep your interest alive without ever getting discouraged.
3 – Translate motivation into habits
Habits are our autopilot. That is, they are actions disconnected from our willpower and our motivation.
Good or bad, it took some time to get them; and maybe even a considerable effort of will (or NOT will, in the case of bad ones), or a great motivation.
But then they disconnected from the will and the motivation, and they turned into habits. Things that we do for the simple fact of having done them many other times before.
The power of habits is immense, because in fact, what we are is the sum of it:
Our health, our success, our bank account, our university average, the languages we speak, what we can do or not do.
Think about each of these things, and you will see how rarely they depend on a single gesture or event. Instead, they are mostly the result of things we do routinely and for long periods.
Now, imagine your motivation driving you to do a series of goal-oriented actions. Instead of waking up every day hoping that the motivation will never falter, the most logical thing is to transform these actions into habits.
You may also like to read 5 steps to self-motivation