Motivation is a sneaky beast. It can hide in plain sight, and it can express itself when we least expect it. Motivation (and its frequent companion inspiration) can often elude us for days, weeks or years, only to jump out at in an instant with such force that we drop everything in order to capture it before we lose the moment.
Often times, these random “attacks of motivation” happen with little warning, when we are least prepared to take advantage of them. For instance, how many of you have had a moment of clarity or have felt motivated to act on some idea while in the shower? How many of you have perhaps had a similar feeling when going for a run or driving to work? Motivation can come at any time and in any way. Unfortunately, the very randomness keeps us from being able to act effectively to get more done. So what do we do to take hold of our lives and guide our own sources of motivation?
To get more done in less time, we need to understand the power of two types of motivation. Once we explore each of these types of motivation, we must learn to set goals around both to create positive feedback loops. This will make it easier for us to develop stronger motivational habits and take control of what motivates us.
While there are many ways to define motivation, today I will focus on two types: avoidance and approach motivation. The way we will define both types of motivation provides an in-depth look into how we see the world, and ultimately how successful we will be in it.
1. What is avoidance motivation?
Avoidance motivation is part of what makes us human, and it is integral to our survival. This type of motivation helps us avoid negative experiences across psychological, physical, and social boundaries. It’s what told us to run away from saber-toothed tigers or to not dive into shark infested waters looking for food. Clearly, avoidance is a good way of staying safe in a world of unknowns. Unsure about what your boss thinks about your last project? It’s best not to ask to avoid disappointment or emotional trauma. Considering whether to apply for a job in another country? Best to avoid it in case you like the culture.
Unfortunately, avoidance motivation often has negative consequences. It makes us more likely to avoid tasks that we know rationally will be positive experiences for us. It makes us avoid going for that big promotion we aren’t necessarily qualified for. It makes us not get on that airplane to travel to that new new country and experience that new culture.
“Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.” — George Whitefield
2. What is approach motivation?
Approach motivation is any type of motivation that drives action and forward progress towards a certain outcome or activity. It’s what pushes the nerdy high school kid to talk to their crush in the hallway. It’s what drives the explorer to see what the view looks like from the top of the tallest mountain. It’s the itch the traveller gets when they go too long without taking a trip. It’s what inspired humans to explore outer space. Rather than avoiding certain activities, approach motivation drives individuals to explore and become more productive in their day-to-day existence.
When we consider approach motivation, the most often cited examples relate to feelings of opportunity, fulfilment and exploration. When you see an opportunity to achieve some goal that falls along Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, you are more likely to take action. When you see the opportunity to grow your pool of resources, that may motivate you to take action (strengthening your ability to provide food and shelter to yourself and your family). Similarly, you may see the opportunity to gain recognition or acclaim through appearing on television or writing a blog post. This feeds your ability to achieve self-fulfilment, belonging and perhaps even self-actualisation.
“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson
So how do we take this information and action it? How do we make it useful on a day-to-day basis?
The best way to leverage the lessons of approach and avoidance motivation is to set goals that align with each type of motivation. Take the following approach to help guide you on the path to taking control of what motivates you:
First, understand the difference between avoidance and approach goals. Most people will find that they tend to avoid activities that are unpleasant to them, all the while approaching those activities that are most enjoyable or fulfilling. Let’s think of approach goals as positive (i.e. finishing a project ahead of schedule, finding a new job) and avoidance goals as negative (i.e. avoiding drinking too much, avoiding talking in public).
Avoidance goals are goals for reducing, avoiding or eliminating undesired outcomes. While these goals are powerful, they are often harder to accomplish. You may want to cut down the number of sweets you eat each day, the number of cigarettes you smoke, the total time you spend watching Netflix. These types of goals work, sometimes, but they are much more likely to stick if you spin them to an approach goal with a positive spin.
Approach goals aim to guide someone to reach or maintain a desired outcome. People are more likely to commit to completing tasks and taking part in activities that are positioned in a positive light. Approach goals become more potent motivational goals because they focus on action and activity around what can be done to reach a goal.
If you want to get better at setting and following through on your personal and career goals, make a point of creating both approach and avoid goals and being aware of the subtle differences between both.
Do you have any approach or avoidance goals that have been particularly challenging to reach? Would love to hear about them!
5 Reasons Why Self-Motivation Can Prove to Be Your Strongest Armor to Stress
Stress is a detrimental force that impacts our health at all levels. It exposes us to physical pains, emotional troubles, and mental chaos. All these impacts of stress eat away our enthusiasm for living. We feel drained of all our energy, we don’t feel interested to do anything in life and everything appears meaningless. This vicious circle of stress keeps going on and on. It seems nearly impossible to find a way out of it. But it isn’t impossible in actuality. There is an infinite source of power within all of us by utilizing which we can end this vicious circle. But, rather than accessing that power from inside, we keep looking for it from outside sources. (more…)
11 Success-Boosting Motivational Tips You Need to Hear
If you’d like to learn how to stay motivated so you can find success in multiple areas of your life, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
How many times have you enthusiastically started a weight loss program, started a weight training or aerobics program, or started learning a foreign language, only to stop after a short while? How many times have you tried to make changes in your life, to study a certain subject or to start a certain project, but failed for lack of motivation? (more…)
6 Lessons From Some of the Greats to Keep Your Mindset Strong
Anyone who is a long time student of personal development has probably learned some pretty amazing lessons from some of the greats. In times of uncertainty, these lessons are especially important and we can turn to this wisdom to push us through. One of the biggest lessons to remember to keep your mindset strong is that we control our reality, which can feel like a cruel joke when times are really tough. When the outside world seems to be spinning out of control, we can maintain a sense of inner peace and keep our mindsets strong by remembering some of these important lessons. (more…)
Developing Your Leadership Potential – 8 Methods in Which Writing Can Help Motivate Others
If you’d like to learn how to develop your potential so you can have the confidence to go after the goals you have set, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
When all is said and done, we are all writers in one way or another. From high-school essays, college papers, to social media posts, messages and online forum monologues, everyone has had experience with writing at some point. (more…)
Drawing Boundaries is an Essential Skill for Getting What You Want
5 Keys To Success In All Relationships
Why Body and Mind Harmony Are So Necessary for a Successful Life
Take the Time to Answer These 3 Questions if You Want to Be Successful
Why Working Faster Matters Even When You Make Mistakes
55 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Life
(Images) 52 Motivational Picture Quotes For An Epic Year Of Success
30 Famous Quotes That Will Inspire Success In You
72 Positive Thinking Quotes For More Inner Strength & Growth
40 Rare Motivational and Inspirational Picture Quotes
3 Prince EA Videos To Change Humanities Path To Greatness
(Video) What Is Success? An Entrepreneurial Story To Inspire You
(Inspirational Video) What If Today You Knew You Were Going To Take Your Last Breath?
How To Make Enough Money From A Blog To Quit Your Job – Kate McKibbin
How Finding Your Passion And Becoming An Entrepreneur Can Lead To Happiness – Chiquita Searle
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
3 Things That Highly Successful People Do
- Motivation4 weeks ago
11 Success-Boosting Motivational Tips You Need to Hear
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
4 Things That Are Keeping You From Achieving Greatness Right Now
- Success Advice3 weeks ago
16 Everyday Habits to Boost Your Creativity
- Life4 weeks ago
5 Stress Management Techniques to Find Bliss in Life
- Life3 weeks ago
5 Essential Tips for Dealing With Uncertainty
- Life3 weeks ago
8 Ways A Digital Detox Will Increase Your Productivity
- Life2 weeks ago
Read This If You Are Tired Of Finding Excuses For Your Inconsistency