Sometimes work tasks feel impossible. Maybe you don’t have the ambition to get it done, or perhaps you just don’t know where to start. When this happens, it’s easy to admit defeat and just sit on the sidelines. But with a little practice and self-motivation, you can find ways to stay efficient.
In today’s blog, we’ll explain what self-motivation is, why it’s important in the workplace and how you can practice this in-demand soft skill.
Self-motivation is simply, the desire and ability to motivate oneself. It’s what drives us to keep plugging away at tasks until they’re completed successfully, both in our personal and professional lives.
Self-motivated people are driven by their own internal desire to succeed and tend to be more successful than those who rely on external motivation. These individuals often understand what they want out of life and are willing to do whatever it takes to reach those goals. A self-motivated person is also able to accomplish tasks on their own, without being reminded or instructed to complete them.
Now that you know what self-motivation is, you might be wondering what motivates you. In order to answer this question, it’s important to first understand the two different types of motivators: internal and external.
Internal motivators, or intrinsic motivation, come from within. An individual demonstrating this type of motivation is likely to do something because the activity itself is interesting and enjoyable. When we’re intrinsically motivated by something, we’re drawn towards it naturally without any external pressures. This internal drive leads us towards activities that when completed make us feel satisfied and happy, while also helping us grow as individuals.
External motivation, on the other hand, is when the reward of doing something stems from outside the individual. Also referred to as extrinsic motivation, this form of drive is typically associated with rewards like money and punishments like loss of employment.
Individuals with extrinsic motivation may not exemplify as much passion as those with intrinsic goals. However, external motivators provide a great way to hold yourself accountable.
Self-motivation itself is largely intrinsic since it relies on your personal desires as the primary source of inspiration. Nonetheless, extrinsic motivation is still involved in the process as many highly self-motivated individuals utilize external factors to motivate themselves. For example, to motivate yourself to power through the upcoming workweek, you might promise yourself a night out at your favourite restaurant after the week is completed.
Self-motivation is important in all facets of life, but especially in the workplace. Self-motivated employees know what their goals are, constantly look for more efficient ways of accomplishing tasks and don’t need to be reminded about upcoming deadlines.
This not only causes employees to feel more satisfied in their day-to-day work, but it’s also good for business. Research shows that self-motivated employees with high engagement demonstrate higher retention, productivity, and sales, all of which are good for your company’s bottom line.
Given this soft-skills host of benefits, it has unsurprisingly become a highly sought-after skill in the workplace, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, when many of us were forced to work from home. And since remote and hybrid work arrangements remain a dominant part of the workforce, employers continue to place heavy reliance on hiring individuals who are capable of harnessing their own motivation in order to complete tasks and meet deadlines.
Earlier we discussed the two different types of motivators that exist. But what about, how we get there? According to Psychology Today people motivate themselves in one of two ways – ought-self guide or ideal-self guide.
Individuals following the ought-self guide focus on duties, responsibilities, safety and security. Primarily driven by rules and the perceptions of others, people using this guide are motivated by the fear of falling short and disappointing others. As a result, these individuals often go through life in a constant state of distress and anxiety.
This form of self-motivation is problematic as it’s established strictly out of fear. This can hinder creativity and create high levels of stress, and if employees are stressed-out, they’re not going to perform at their highest potential.
The ideal-self guide is more positive in nature. Rather than focusing on fear and negative outcomes, it lends itself more to creating new opportunities and accomplishing goals. As a result, individuals partaking in this form of self-motivation feel happier and emotionally stronger than those following the ought-self guide. However, it’s important to note that if aspirations are based on unrealistic goals, the ideal-self guide may not be efficient as these self-motivators will likely experience disappointment and in turn, become discouraged and unmotivated.
Setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself. What’s more satisfying than crossing off a completed task from your list of daily goals?
A copious amount of research has proven the importance of goal setting in self-motivation. For instance, studies have shown that when salespeople have specific targets, they’re able to close more deals, and that when individuals make daily exercise pledges, they’re more likely to increase their fitness levels.
When we set a goal, we’re giving ourselves a target to aim for. With an objective in mind, we’re able to instill a certain level of motivation in us to achieve it. Additionally, each time we accomplish a goal – big or small – our motivation skyrockets, creating a wonderous cycle of satisfaction and achievement.
But setting just any goal simply won’t suffice. Abstract aspirations like “being more active” – are less effective than concrete goals, like walking 15,000 steps a day or going for a run each Tuesday and Thursday.
Without a clear goal in place, it becomes more difficult to generate a plan. And without a clear plan, it’s likely you won’t be as efficient. To avoid this, get specific with the goals you set for yourself.
If you’re unsure of where to get started, opt for a successful goal-setting method like SMART Goals. SMART Goals, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound, can help you establish more focused goals and get better results.
Chances are you’re not going to love every task that you’re assigned at work. Rather than dread every waking minute of it, take a step back and focus on the elements that you do find enjoyable. Try to move beyond the task at hand and think about how accomplishing it may provide you with an opportunity to showcase your skills and build internal relationships.
You can also make tasks more enjoyable by listening to music, changing your work environment, and livening up your workspace.
What gets you most excited? Is it working with others? What about writing?
Use a passion diagram to create a visual representation of what you love to do, what you do at work, and how those two things intersect. If you’re not satisfied with how they interconnect, find ways to infuse your day-to-day tasks with more of what you love.
For example, if you love to design, but you’re a copywriter, reach out to your graphics team. Do they need help designing content?
There’s no denying it. It feels good to be rewarded for your hard work. But did you know that rewarding yourself can also improve motivation and overall performance?
According to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, immediately rewarding yourself for completing goals, rather than waiting until the end, could boost overall engagement and enjoyment in the work that you’re doing, increasing self-motivation. A reward could be anything from a sweet treat to listening to an episode of your favourite podcast.
When treating yourself for your hard work, there are a few things you should avoid such as rewarding yourself for the quantity of work. Remember quality trumps quantity, every time. In addition, make sure to use incentives that don’t undermine the goal you’ve just completed. For example, if you’re goal is to lose weight, rewarding yourself with a hot fudge sundae might not be the most suitable choice.
Feeling like you’re stuck in a rut can hinder your self-motivation. Try to find new ways to challenge yourself to keep things interesting. You could take on learning new software, or further developing your soft skills.
A large part of challenging yourself is moving passed that space where you feel most at home – your comfort zone. We’ve said it once, and we’ll most likely say it again, this is where the magic happens. Pushing past your comfort zone opens you up to a world of possibilities you didn’t know existed. This can help you develop new skills which in turn may help you to become more self-motivated at work.
Would you consider yourself to demonstrate more of a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? Why is this relevant? Well, our outlook can have a substantial impact on our overall motivation.
Someone with a fixed mindset believes their most basic characteristics are unchangeable. Everything from their talents to their intelligence is predetermined. An individual with a growth mindset, alternatively, believes they are capable of change and success is the result of hard work rather than the result of an innate ability. As a result, individuals with a growth mindset perceive the value of a given task and do what’s required to complete it. They tend to be more resilient, more self-motivated, and less afraid of failure than those with a fixed mindset.
Here are some tips to develop a growth mindset:
If you’re filled with negative self-talk and don’t believe that you can succeed, will you even try? Probably not... And if you never try, how can you expect yourself to ever flourish? As Michael Jordan once said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
Employing a more optimistic outlook can improve self-motivation and productivity in the workplace. Employees who demonstrate a positive mindset, are also better problem-solvers, more resilient and less stressed.
To stay positive in the workplace, follow these tips:
As a company that has been around for more than 50 years, SWS Warning Lights understands the importance of self-motivation.
This company was built on hard work, sweat and determination by those who believed in our mission and vision. We have been driven to succeed by our love of this industry, dedication to our customers, and desire to make a difference in the world with our handcrafted safety products.
This mindset extends to our team of exceptional engineers and customer service professionals who utilize self-motivation every day. We believe in encouraging our employees to take ownership of their roles in the organization and strive to achieve excellence in everything they do.
Contact us today to learn more about our story and why you should choose SWS Warning Lights for your construction and heavy-vehicle fleets. Tom Chopp is Managing Partner at SWS Warning Lights Inc. He can be reached at 905-357-0222 or email@example.com
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