Motivation – the million dollar word. How do we find it? Where does it live? How can we tap into it?
Motivation is defined as; ‘a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way’
Whether it is:
Why do some people have the ability to get so much done, whilst others need to be coerced or pushed to achieve anything? Why do some people have the ability to ‘get the job done’ and remain so committed and focused, whilst others sit watching, waiting for a ‘wave of motivation’ to hit them?
Motivation can be INTERNAL or EXTERNAL.
Internal motivation – comes from within us, it means that we take part in activities because we WANT to and they bring us joy, satisfaction or happiness. Internal motivation means that we take part in things because they interest us, bring happiness and we just want to do them.
It is linked with – passion, curiosity, growth, development, fun. enjoyment, happiness
External motivation – comes from outside of us, it means that we are completing tasks for some kind of reward or to avoid punishment. External motivation means that we are completing something to avoid a consequence or to gain a reward
It is linked with – benefits, winning, money, gifts, rewards,
In life, both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation have roles and purpose. However, there will be times in life when we need to be disciplined and focussed because it is the requirement, not because we will gain a reward from it. Whilst we are all inclined one way or the other, it is important that children and young people are able to tap into their intrinsic motivation to support them to be able to ‘keep going’ at times when the reward is a sense of accomplishment not reward.
1 – Avoid excessive rewarding – if children learn that they will always receive a reward for taking part in everyday tasks, they will expect to be rewarded for everything. It is more effective that spontaneous rewards are provided as a thanks or recognition, than as a way to motivate. It should be noted that bribery may get things done, but will not develop internal motivation, bit rather a thought process, if I do X I will get Y.
2 – Role model – Role modelling to children and young people learning or reading for curiosity, supporting the community to help others, doing good deeds to support people and doing things for fun allows them to create a sense of normality around these behaviours. Our socialisation has a great impact on our behaviours.
3 – Recognise their commitment – If you notice your child or young person being self-motivated and committed, recognising it with praise or an occasional small reward, so that they learn to recognise that this brings with it a sense of satisfaction and positive feelings can increase internal motivation.
4 – Goal setting – Helping young people to set SMART goals so that they can learn to set themselves targets and work towards them for the benefit of achieving their own goals and developing a sense of achievement. Helping them to recognise how these goals fit into the bigger picture can help them tap into their intrinsic motivation.
5 – Avoid rewarding tasks that children already love – If your child is already interested in something, avoid rewarding this, as it can remove their self-expressed love or interest and change the motivation from ‘fun’ to ‘work’.
6 – Keep it in context – Excessive rewards or treats for completing the bare minimum does not motivate us to ‘want to do better’ but instead sets an expectation that to do the bare minimum is ok. In the workplace, the bare minimum will not be rewarded and as such we can set an expectation which will cause young people difficulty later.
7 – Words not things – Offering praise and recognition when children and young people are engaged in activities, learning or tasks, or have worked to make improvements, can increase internal motivation.
8 – Encourage children to celebrate their achievements – if children achieve something encourage them to recognise this and to be proud of it, children who learn to celebrate their own achievements and develop a sense of pride for their efforts can increase internal motivation.
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