How To Apply Self Motivation in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published February 4, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published February 4, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There may be days when it feels challenging to achieve certain workplace goals. Developing self-motivation can help give you the push you may need to accomplish a difficult task. Self-motivation can provide a sense of achievement and determination to complete more tasks. In this article, we will explain what self-motivation is, why it's an important quality to have and how you can apply self-motivation in the workplace.

What is self-motivation?

Self-motivation is what drives you to complete various tasks and duties efficiently. It helps build your awareness of why you are aiming to complete a certain task and encourages you to keep going until you successfully complete it. Once you finish a task or accomplish a goal, you may feel a sense of satisfaction and pride in yourself. Self-motivation is what will push you to complete tasks like this again.

That rush feeling you get when you accomplish a task is called dopamine. It moves within your neurons and helps motivate you to work toward certain goals and achievements. To function properly, dopamine needs to operate in an efficient and purposeful way. This is where your self-motivation comes in. Pushing and motivating yourself to achieve goals helps activate this dopamine and can cause you to achieve more.

Related: Interview Question: "What Motivates You?" (With Examples)

Why is self-motivation important?

Self-motivation can help you develop a drive and determination to complete various tasks and goals throughout the workday. If you display high levels of self-motivation within the workplace, it will become noticeable that you're achieving more goals and are working harder to succeed. Strong self-motivation at work helps increase your productivity and makes you feel proud of the goals you've accomplished.

Self-motivation and the drive to achieve can lead to promotions at work, strong and trusting relationships with team members and the opportunity to work on more projects you enjoy and are passionate about.

How to self motivate

Self-motivation can begin as a decision with the ability to quickly develop into a habit. Below are ways you can start practicing self-motivation until it eventually becomes a routine:

  1. Set goals for yourself.

  2. Build a plan to achieve each goal.

  3. Create a reward system for yourself.

  4. Challenge yourself to learn new things.

  5. Surround yourself with other motivated people.

  6. Encourage yourself to think positively.

  7. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  8. Push yourself outside your comfort zone.

1. Set goals for yourself

To start motivating yourself, you can list what you hope to achieve. This helps you develop self-management skills as you work toward different achievements and opportunities, then feel accomplished once you reach and finish them. You can do this by sitting down and listing the various goals you wish to accomplish. Start with your workplace goals and add any personal goals, if you desire.

These goals can be large or small. If they are larger goals, you can split them up into smaller goals or tasks to make them seem less intimidating and easily achievable. Some goals you set can be challenging, while others can be easier to accomplish. This way, achieving smaller goals can help build your sense of accomplishment and can motivate you to accomplish larger goals as well. Achieving one goal can often make you want to achieve more.

2. Build a plan to achieve each goal

After setting goals, you can develop a plan to complete each one. You can do this by creating a schedule or to-do list for yourself. You can also purchase a calendar and begin inputting each goal you want to achieve into different date slots. Either way, writing down when you plan to achieve each goal can make you more likely to complete them as it's a way to hold yourself accountable for completing tasks.

If every goal isn't achieved as planned, continue encouraging yourself to complete the next goals. You can simply move your goal or task to be completed on a different day.

3. Create a reward system for yourself

Another way to effectively activate your dopamine levels is by rewarding and encouraging yourself to achieve more goals. You can motivate yourself to continue achieving goals by building a reward system. For example, if you have three work tasks you have been pushing aside, you can reward yourself once you've finally completed them. You can say, "If I complete these three tasks by the end of the day, I will go see a movie I've been looking forward to. If I don't, I'll stay home and continue working."

If you reward yourself in small ways such as this, you'll push yourself to continue completing goals to receive more rewards.

4. Challenge yourself to learn new things

Your brain may become motivated more easily if you're constantly challenging it. A way to do this is by challenging yourself to read and learn new things as much as possible. Reading books, current events and online articles can cause you to strengthen your skillset and achieve more goals.

This can especially benefit you if you work in an industry constantly evolving. You can read daily industry news to develop knowledge put toward different work projects.

5. Surround yourself with other motivated people

Sometimes it can be easier to develop motivation and become a self-starter if you see it exhibited in others. This is why it's best to spend time with people who are highly motivated and constantly working to accomplish new goals. Their attitudes and drive can be contagious and may help encourage you to accomplish your goals as well.

Not only can other people help motivate you, but also you can do the same for others. Once you develop a sense of motivation, you can use this to help others enhance their motivation. There could be days where people feel they're lacking the drive or motivation to finish a project at work. They may need a push from a coworker or supervisor to help them feel encouraged or motivated to accomplish any tasks.

You can spread this motivation by reminding them why they are working to achieve the goal in the first place and how it will help everyone else on the team. For example, if a teammate is lacking the motivation to create a presentation for a meeting, you could smile at them and say, "I'm looking forward to your presentation. I think everyone in the office will benefit from the solutions you'll be providing us."

6. Encourage yourself to think positively

It's important to remember to stay positive and keep things from setting you back. Mistakes can be corrected and can help you learn how to improve. To increase self-motivation, it's best to look at various opportunities with a positive attitude and learn from them. If someone critiques your work, take it as constructive feedback and let it strengthen your approach. Thinking positively helps you remain motivated to enhance your performance and provide impressive results.

7. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Motivation is driven by your brain. It's usually the main source encouraging you to accomplish tasks and goals. This means you should keep both your brain and body healthy so they can continue helping you motivate yourself. You can do this by maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can keep yourself feeling healthy:

  • Exercise two to three times a week.

  • Eat healthy foods that activate dopamine, like fruits and vegetables.

  • Get at least eight hours of sleep every night to keep your brain active and functioning properly.

  • Take plenty of breaks during work to let your brain rest.

  • Maintain a healthy work-life balance.

8. Push yourself outside your comfort zone

One of the best ways to increase motivation is to push yourself to achieve new goals and opportunities. You can do this by making plans to accomplish goals that are more difficult than what you're used to. You can tackle a highly challenging project at work or try to learn a new skill to enhance your work performance.

By going outside your comfort zone and encouraging yourself to accomplish new achievements, you can witness unique experiences. These experiences can help you learn more and reach higher goals that may feel more rewarding in the end.

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