Our vision of work is changing profoundly. Before now, it was defined by its etymology, a tool of torture. But Now, fulfillment at work is a demand, almost a right!
Some employees start their own business to find this fulfillment, while companies seek to retain their employees by creating commitment, beyond motivation.
But first, what do these two terms mean?
Motivation is all the factors that push us to act, to achieve a goal. It has a fluctuating nature and depends on a context.
The engagement implies a contract between two people having a common cause, which creates a bond in time and a free and personal adhesion, an implication. For example, an engagement/commitment for marriage, going to the army, pushing a political ambition e.t.c.
I will approach here the concept of commitment to oneself, to answer the question: how to keep your goals when motivation drops? You can also use coaching to help you.
What remains of your New Year’s resolutions today, if you have taken them? This is the typical example which shows the impermanence of motivation, we manage to last a few days or even a few weeks but without a firm commitment, it will be difficult to go further.
1. Theories of motivation
Abraham Maslow’s theory of needs (1954)
One of the most well-known theories of motivation is that of the pyramid of needs:
The idea being that each need starting from the bottom must be satisfied, to bring out the higher need. There have been criticisms because you can sometimes lack love and seek personal fulfillment, or be hungry and need self-esteem…
What is interesting is to see the different needs, the different motivating factors.
Herzberg’s 2 factor theory (1971)
This theory is particularly popular in the world of work. There are two categories of need:
The driving factors, linked to the very content of the work, which increase satisfaction (the interest that one finds in one’s mission, in a project)
The hygiene factors, related to the environment, that avoid dissatisfaction without increasing satisfaction (working conditions, salary …)
Thus for Herzberg, the best way to motivate an employee is to make sure that he finds in his work a factor of fulfillment, to have his own motivation and to leave him autonomy.
McClelland’s Theory of Need (1961)
To deepen this notion of intrinsic motivation, let’s look at the theory of need for realization, which breaks down three types of needs, which combined together will create the will to succeed and a powerful self-motivation:
Need for achievement: desire to succeed (accomplishment);
Need for power: to have power over others;
Need for affiliation: satisfactory social relations.
An activity which is practiced for itself, for its content is said to be intrinsically motivated, while an activity which is practiced for its effects, for obtaining a positive consequence or for avoiding a negative consequence, is said to be intrinsically motivated.
Take the example of meditation: meditation has many proven positive effects, however even if one can start meditation to get more calm or other (extrinsic motivation), the very heart of meditation is to expect nothing, just to be present to oneself (intrinsic motivation).
Mac Gregor’s X / Y Theory (1960)
Always focused on the world of work, it shows two very different points of view:
Prejudice X: the employee is lazy, does not like to work and shies away from responsibilities, he can only perform well under duress
Prejudice Y: the employee is creative, self-disciplined and seeks responsibility. It is therefore necessary to reconcile personal needs with the performance of the company.
Theory of self-determination Edward L. Deci and Richard Ryan (1970)
This is one of the most successful theories, which allows us to answer questions about motivation but also about commitment.
The two authors distinguish three innate needs, which once satisfied, allow optimal functioning and generate growth:
The competence (the need to control the experience and results)
Autonomy (the need for the individual to feel at the origin of the choice of his actions and behaviors)
Familiarity / belonging (the universal desire to interact, to be connected and to be supported by others).
2. How to maintain motivation to achieve your goals?
I will summarize here two books: 100 ways to stay motivated by Steven Chandler and Think Big by Martin Medows, to give some keys to motivation over time.
The first technique is to pretend. Imagine your goal in the future: for example, to become someone who is self-confident, and to act now as if you were, already. The brain will be fooled, and you will truly become that person!
I voluntarily took the example of self-confidence because it is the keystone of self-fulfillment: if you constantly doubt yourself, you may not even set yourself goals or try to reach it! In addition, self-confidence allows us to be autonomous and independent, when we understand that the solutions are in us and that we stop reaching a savior or outside help.
A great goal is broken down into several small goals. According to Henri Ford, any task can be split enough to be accomplished! If you want to run a marathon, start already by running 10km, then 12, then 15… And above all start slowly.
Each intermediate step must be seen as a success in itself. You don’t have to reach to be at the top to enjoy, the path is part of life and it is just as important to be happy during the route! Because happiness is in you, not outside.
Get inspired! Choose personalities that you admire and seek to understand how they think, what their ideas and behaviors are so that you can apply them in your life and develop the same qualities.
Finally, two major tools to persevere and achieve your goals are meditation and sport.
Meditation, because it trains you to give birth to your real desires, become your friend, take a step back with your thoughts and will create better concentration, a state of well-being and more happiness.
Sport, because it is an excellent field for surpassing oneself and it will contribute to mental well-being. If you set your sporting challenges (run 1 then 2 then 3 km to 10 km, for example), this will boost your self-confidence and help you accomplish many other goals in your life!
It is also a perfect school to show the force of habit: when you integrate sport into your life you no longer ask yourself questions, you go there! And that’s how it works to maintain engagement, beyond your motivation. Record your sessions in your diary, prepare your bag the day before, go directly to the room if possible without going back home. Don’t give yourself a choice!
3. How to create engagement?
Also to strengthen your motivation, which will necessarily fluctuate over time, depending on your mood, obstacles, your environment … I suggest you get involved.
Make yourself a promise, sign a contract with yourself, in a notebook or diary.
For this, your goal must be attainable and depend only on you.
Then you have to break it down into intermediate steps, with dates.
For example: if you want to lose 10 pounds this year. By giving yourself 2 months of exercise, this will represent 1 kg per month or 250 grams per week.
Or else, you want to get into sport. The first step in your agenda can be to test several activities that make you want to lose weight badly, and then decide to subscribe to one of them.
For each step, remember to measure (weigh yourself in the example of weight, or check against your roadmap if you have respected the actions and congratulate yourself).
Commitment, unlike motivation, makes you feel 100% responsible. This is in line with the principle of the law of attraction: we attract to ourselves what we emanate, and it is about assuming full responsibility for our current life, successes and failures. It is by taking this responsibility that we will be able to build our future, to savor the good things that we live (which are not due to luck but to our merit) and to rectify the rest by seeking the cause.
Now imagine that you are no longer discouraged by obstacles, hardships and the external environment and that you are able to achieve your goals by creating commitment in your life! Isn’t it worth a try?
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