When it comes to goals and the motivation to achieve them, wellbeing research defines 2 types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Broadly defined, this is about whether your motivation comes from internal reasons (driven by own interest and enjoyment) or external motives (money, competition, fear of punishment…).
If you want to feel the benefits associated with high self-motivation (greater confidence, enhanced performance and persistence, greater creativity, higher self-esteem…), there are a few steps you can take when defining your goals. We’ll even go in-depth on each of these areas in our upcoming workshop on Harnessing Your Goals to Fulfil Your Potential
Approach goals vs Avoidance goals
Most goals can be categorized in these two broad labels.
Approach goals are about positive outcomes which we work towards. Avoidance goals have negative outcomes which we work to avoid.
Think about the goals you have at the moment, are they approach or avoidance goals?
Mentally tough individuals believe they can control enough of the world in which they operate. When it comes to goals, it is as important for you to feel that they come from your own choice. Feeling under pressure to think, feel and act in a certain way (for example, doing something because you will receive some kind of reward) decreases your wellbeing and self-motivation.
Are your current goals really freely chosen? Are you doing them to please yourself? Or to please others?
Humans have the need to feel confident, effective and reach mastery in what they do. Using your strengths and existing skills to support your goals is key in feeling more motivated in achieving them but it is as important to understand your blind spots as well.
When looking at your current goals, do you regularly receive positive and constructive feedback on how you are doing?
We discussed already the need to have freedom to make our own choices when it comes to our goals. However, finding the right support around us to achieve our goals is critical to being committed in the long term.
When thinking about your current goals, do you have positive support from people around you?
Even with all the right conditions in place when defining our goals, we find ourselves in a place where motivation around our goals has faded (you can probably think of a few New Year’s resolutions!).
Can you think of a goal towards which your progress is not as high as you would have liked it by now?
Finding the right strategies to create action once we have clearly defined our goals becomes important. And we all have a variety of ways to approach our goals so it is really about what works for you as an individual.
Sometimes you may think like achieving personal goals is a long and bumpy road before seeing success. And you’re not alone! In a research amongst 17,000 adults in the UK on character strengths, self-control was found consistently near the bottom of the list.
The good news is that it can be worked on!
- Focus on Approach Goals
- Ensure you are in control of your goals
- Enhance your competences
- Connect with those around you
- Find the strategy to commit that works for you!
And if you want to dig deeper, you can: