Creating a Climate of Motivation
Motivation is essential for success but can, at times, be challenging to develop and keep going. Motivation is the drive required to begin and sustain behaviors necessary to achieve a goal.
Levels of Motivation
Three factors determine our levels of motivation:
- Expectancy of Success: Do people believe they are able to successfully accomplish the things we’d like them to be motivated to do?
- Value Placed on the Behavior/Activity: Do people care about the things we’d like them to be motivated to do? Do those things matter?
- Cost/Benefit Analysis: Does the benefit of engaging in the behavior outweigh the cost (for example, time, effort, money) of engaging in the behavior?
For example, you will be motivated to lose weight if:
- You believe that you can successfully lose weight.
- Losing weight is important to you.
- The benefits of losing weight are worth the cost of losing weight.
People are likely to be highly motivated if they believe they can be successful, care about the behavior, and believe the benefit of putting effort toward the behavior outweighs the cost.
Sources of Motivation
It’s important to answer the question, “Why do I care?”
When we are motivated to do something because we truly value and buy in to the importance of the activity, we are more likely to stay motivated for as long as needed to achieve what we’ve set out to do. We are less likely to stay motivated if we are motivated by a desire to get something (for example, a reward) or avoid something (for example, punishment or shame).
Leader/Parent Actions to Enhance Motivation
Leaders and parents can use five behaviors to enhance the quality and amount of motivation. For example, if you’d like your child to be motivated to do their chores:
- Provide a Rationale: Clearly communicate the importance and value of behaviors. For example, explain why the chores matter and are helpful for the family.
- Provide Choice: Lay out the desired end state and allow the individual the freedom to choose their own methods for achieving that end state. For example, provide your child a time the chores need to be completed by and let your child choose when during the day to do the chores.
- Create Optimal Challenges: Ensure that the behaviors are ones that aren’t too easy or too hard. Ideal challenge levels are ones that are attainable with maximum effort and attention. For example, ensure that the chores you ask your child to do are ones that are age-appropriate and can be done successfully if the child pays attention and puts forth effort.
- Provide Effective Feedback: Clearly communicate exactly what people did that led to their success or failure. Ensure that feedback focuses on factors people can control, such as strategy, attitude, effort, or behavior. For example, if your child vacuumed well, tell them exactly why you think they did well. If you think they vacuumed badly, tell them exactly what they did wrong.
- Let People Know They Matter: Ensure the individual is aware of their importance to you and to your group or family unit, not just for what they produce or contribute, but for who they are as individuals. For example, let your child know that you love them not because of the chores they are helping with but because of who they are.