- You must want whatever it is, for whatever reason.
- You need the knowledge and skills to achieve your goal.
- You need to believe you can achieve it (self-encouragement).
- You need the opportunity to achieve it.
Wanting to achieve the goal is the most important of these four conditions. If you don’t want it, you are not likely to put much effort into achieving it. Your reason for wanting to achieve the goal is the motivating factor. And you must want it so much that you are willing to get whatever knowledge and skills you need to be able to succeed. You also need to believe you can do it, so you look for, or create, opportunities to move closer to your goal.
Self-motivation could include making a plan and putting pressure on yourself to keep to it by sharing the plan with other people. Have a set time frame and, if appropriate, split the plan into steps with a mini celebration or reward for completing each step.
The above four conditions also apply when you attempt to motivate others but the emphasis may initially need to be very different, particularly if the person doesn’t have a goal or is ‘reluctant’ for some reason (perhaps a defiant child or someone on a court order who feels a goal is being imposed). The most important condition is that the other person must want to achieve the goal. Imposing a goal that you choose is not motivating the person. It has to be that person’s goal and respecting the person’s right to choose is one way of establishing trust.
Love and fear are the great motivators. We seek whatever is thought will bring joy or avoid pain. When someone is reluctant, persuasion may be required as the first step; with the aim of showing there is sufficient reason to choose a goal and try to achieve it. This usually means discussing the benefits to be gained and the harm that can be avoided by seeking a goal. Even after the person accepts ownership of the goal, you may still need to help by discussing how and where to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills, as well as providing encouragement about being capable of succeeding.
The person may also require encouragement to look for, and see, opportunities that become available to advance towards the goal.
Photo: Vietnamese monkey.