Choosing which motivation strategies are best for you or others around you, such as employees, involves analyzing the factors that compel an individual to begin and complete a task. Some strategies involve external or material rewards, while others rely on more intangible factors to motivate. Selecting an appropriate motivation strategy for an individual or a group also depends on pinpointing strengths and weaknesses. Some people lack motivation because they are disinterested, distracted, or uninvolved, while others have trouble with motivation due to fear, anxiety, or internal or external intimidation.
The first step in choosing the best motivation strategies is to identify the task at hand and determine why motivation is lacking or needs to be increased. One way to discover strengths and weaknesses is to make a chart or table of the advantages of being motivated to complete the task or project and the disadvantages or “road blocks” to doing it. This can help determine if the problem is disinterest or boredom or if it is fear of failure or anxiety related to what needs to be done.
Once the blocks to motivation are identified, choosing motivation strategies should focus on ways to overcome these issues. A person who is disinterested or bored might find strategies that help personalize the activity or change the manner in which it is done stimulating, which can increase motivation. Allowing fresh input and ideas stirs up excitement and commitment to a project, which can help motivate those who lack drive due to boredom.
Fear of failure or negative self-talk can have a profound impact on motivation. Visualizing success and keeping a list of positive outcomes of increased motivation and task completion can be helpful motivation strategies if fear presents a problem. Reminding people they are doing well and expressing gratitude can also help reinforce positive thoughts in a work environment. Employees often feel they are only recognized when they make mistakes, so taking every opportunity to praise good work makes for a more harmonious work environment and more motivated employees.
While motivation is often unrelated to external rewards, such as a bonus at work, some people lack motivation due to a perceived lack of reward for their efforts. In some cases, a material reward greatly increases motivation, though it doesn’t always need to be monetary. For example, some people find setting small rewards for themselves, such as two hours to relax and watch a move, can help with motivating themselves to complete a daunting task. At work, material rewards can take the form of raises, promotions, or even a day of paid time off for employees who perform well and complete a task on time.
The importance of setting realistic goals cannot be overstated. Even a person who is sufficiently motivated can begin to lack enthusiasm and drive when goals are unreachable or are not clearly defined. Some people prefer to work on a large goal over a long period of time, but many people perform better when a large project is broken down into smaller goals with shorter deadlines. Breaking down large tasks into smaller ones can allow people to feel a sense of satisfaction and completion as each stage of the project is finished, which can also help provide motivation to keep going.