Motivation Part 1

motivationMaintaining motivation for dog training or going to the gym or sticking to that diet can be difficult! Especially at this time of year when it’s cold and the mornings and evenings are getting darker and darker, it can be a real struggle to keep focus on your goals. In this week’s blog post we will explore some of the theories behind motivation and next week we will focus on strategies for keeping motivated.

There are 6 main theories behind motivation that have been developed by researchers.

Instinct theory: People behave in the way that they do because they are evolutionarily programmed to do so. For example the migratory behaviour of birds.

Incentive theory: People do the things that they do because of external rewards. This could be going to work everyday because you know you will get paid.

Drive theory: People are motivated to take action in order reduce internal tension caused by unmet needs. This might include eating a sandwich to reduce hunger.

Arousal theory: People act to either increase or decrease arousal depending on their current state. For example, when arousal gets too low, you might go for a run or watch a thrilling movie to boost arousal levels. When arousal gets too high, you might get in the bath or read a book to decrease arousal levels.

Humanistic theory: Firstly that people are motivated to act in order to fulfil basic biological needs such as the need for food and shelter. Secondly when these needs are met, the motivator becomes ‘self-actualisation’, or the need to fulfil one’s potential. This is illustrated in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where an individual is only able to reach their full potential if their basic needs are met.

Expectancy theory: When we think about the future we come up with different expectations about what we think will happen. When we believe there will be a positive outcome, we are more likely to act to make that particular outcome a reality.

None of these theories completely explain the reasons for why we behave as we do. It is, however, useful to be aware of the factors that may be influencing the decisions that we make based on our motivations. We can then make sense of why we are motivated to do certain things and not others, and also take steps to increase motivation in areas currently lacking in our lives. In turn, we can improve our efficiency and ability to focus on the tasks that are really important to reaching our goals.

Check back next week for some top tips on how to stay motivated.

molly bridgeAbout the Author: Molly Bridge helps out with some of the work in the office, particularly with marketing and advertising. She originally trained as a teacher but some of her interests are brand promotion and customer experience. She doesn’t train dogs herself but is quickly getting used to how the business works! Molly has two Standard Poodles and a Border Collie to keep herself busy with at home!

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