Donders Wonders Blog

Boosting performance with motivation

Being motivated can boost your performance to great extent. We will explain why this works so well and give some tips to use this to your advantage.

This post is also available in Dutch.

Most likely you want to perform well at work or in your studies. On top of that, you might have some New Year’s resolutions, like exercising regularly, drinking less alcohol or relaxing more. Also, don’t forget your agenda filled with social activities pressing you manage your time like a pro. It’s a challenging feat to be able do ‘do it all’. Motivating yourself can help.

Motivation is defined as the capability to set and strive to reach goals, which is why it makes sense that maintaining a healthy habit becomes easier when one is highly motivated to do so.

For example, people with a strong motivation who participate in a sports program are more likely to continue the program than people with a low motivation. Highly motivated people also exercise more often. In addition, research in 377 university students revealed that more motivated students achieve higher grades. It even turned out that a strong motivation improved academic performance, regardless of the student’s previous performance. So, even when something has not gone well for you, a strong motivation can ensure that you improve your performance. These findings underline how powerful motivation can be.

Already motivated for that nice job at work, project at school, or goal at sports? Great! Because odds are high you will be successful. However, if you are less motivated, you may have more trouble keeping up your performance. Fortunately, you can boost your motivation! These are the best scientifically based tips:

1. Think about the positive outcome once you reach your goal.
Consider, for example, how exercise makes you healthier, or how completing the job at work ensures that you can get the next cool job.

2. Consider what you can do yourself to achieve the goal.
When you realize that you are in control, you are more likely to tackle something motivated.

3. Do not focus on others ‘making’ you do something.
If you keep telling yourself that you “have to” do something because of other people, you will become demotivated. To maximize motivation, focus on how achieving your goal helps yourself.

4. Seek support from family, friends, fellow students, or colleagues.
Encouragement from others can also be motivating, especially if they make you feel competent, understood and self-reliant. Maybe you should not discuss your goals with that uncle who always seems to know everything better, but instead with that friend who is so understanding.

Sometimes you can be incredibly motivated but still have trouble performing and keeping up. Science suggests that in these cases it helps to map out all the obstacles and make a thorough plan, which takes these obstacles into account. That way, you are motivated and you have as much control as possible over the situation. Allow yourself time to practice with making such a plan. It is completely human to not succeed at everything immediately. Try to identify why something did not work out and think about a solution for future efforts. Bring that challenge on!

Highlighted image by Prateek Katyal via Pexels

Original language: Dutch
Author: Angelique
Buddy: Felix
Editor: Wessel
Translator: Floortje
Editor translation: Rebecca

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