November 1st, 2017

How to Motivate Yourself: Why Internal Motivation is the Most Effective

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Have you ever wanted something so bad, but could never achieve it? Many times, it boils down to motivation. So if want to learn how to motivate yourself so you can begin achieving your goals and being a better you, keep on reading.

Internal motivation, or intrinsic motivation, is the driving force behind your thoughts and choices regarding your career, hobbies, relationships, and other activities. It doesn’t concern itself with outside influences or external factors. Instead, internal motivation is centered on your personal desires and needs.

If you’re looking for an effective way to stay motivated and create lasting change, then consider changing your focus. Try looking within.

What Is Internal Motivation?

Internal motivation occurs when you act upon your impulses without the need for external rewards, such as money or recognition. These actions are, instead, inspired by happiness, exploration, or knowledge. It could be a hobby, like gardening, or it could be a fulfilling career, such as teaching.

When you pursue an activity for the sheer joy of it, you’re doing so because you’re intrinsically motivated. You engage in the activity simply because you choose to. It means something to you. And that, in itself, can be its own reward.

Internal Motivation vs External Motivation

However, when you’re driven by external motivation, you do things to gain external rewards. In this case, you’re motivated by factors outside of you. This type of motivation can come from your colleagues, friends, a life coach parents, or larger community.

Can you spot the differences between both types?

Internal: singing as a form of creative expression and passion for music.
External: singing to gain fame in the music industry.

Internal: becoming a medical doctor because of your caring nature or interest in medicine and the human body.
External: becoming a medical doctor to earn a high salary.

Internal: reading a resourceful book for enjoyment.
External: reading a resourceful book as part of a school or work assignment.

Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with being guided by external factors, it’s important to understand that external situations aren’t always permanent. They tend to be far more fickle. And sometimes, external motives can also be counterproductive. For instance, you may need to switch companies, or your salary may decrease. You might have to relocate to another city. That’s why, in spite of what’s happening around you, you need to be aware of the internal motives behind your actions.

How to motivate yourself

If you need a gentle reminder, try using the following motivation techniques to help you rediscover your internal motivation:

  • Visualize. Ignite your passion through visualization. Close your eyes and visualize yourself achieving your goals.
  • Rest. Even if you’re pursuing something that you’re passionate about, rest is vital. Take breaks and recharge when you need to.
  • Focus. There’s no competition when you’re focusing on yourself. Ignore the competition and focus your energy on becoming your very best.
  • Listen. Push your passion further by listening to uplifting audiobooks, documentaries, or lectures.
  • Control. Take your control back. Only you have the power to create your dreams and generate motivation.

Circumstances may change. Your external environment or rewards may not always remain the same. so if you really want to learn how to motivate yourself, it must center on the one constant throughout your life: you.

Our Blistering Focus mental exercise is the perfect first step to build the motivation you need to find your focus and improve your daily productivity, so you can cross off your to-do’s and plan for bigger goals!