Intrinsic Motivation Factors [The 15 Most Important]

Intrinsic motivation can help you live better and accomplish more. You can choose to learn how to take more satisfaction in everything you do rather than depending solely on external motivators.

These 15 intrinsic motivation factors will help you to set your own course and live a fuller life.

Select Meaningful Activities

1. Identify flow experiences. You’ve probably heard about Flow. Those are the occasions when you get so caught up in what you’re doing that you lose track of time. You enter a blissful state where everything seems effortless.

2. Keep a feelings log. If you need help determining what conditions trigger flow for you, try starting a journal. You may find that gardening or number crunching gets you fully engaged. It may turn out that you’re a morning person or that you do your best work after dinner.

3. Set specific goals. Learning and progressing are also essential to keeping an activity interesting. Give yourself measurable targets and timelines to aim for.

4. Take on new challenges. Stretch your abilities by venturing into new areas. Put yourself to the test with something that’s demanding, but within reach. Rehearse a new piece of piano music or prepare to take a certification examination for a popular software program.

5. Streamline your schedule. On the other hand, you may also benefit by removing some tasks from your to do list to make more time for things that are most important to you.

Make Every Activity More Meaningful

6. Understand the motivation continuum. Many experts believe that most of our actions reflect a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. For example, you may value both your paycheck and the contribution your job makes to society.

7. Participate more intensely. Sometimes a boring task can be transformed by turning it into a game. When cleaning out the garage, try to guess how long a can of paint has been there.

8. Adopt deep learning strategies. Choose study methods that help you to retain more knowledge. Think about how the facts relate to your own life. Evaluate what you read. Write down your own summary of the material you’ve covered.

9. Enlist support. Working in groups can liven up a tedious chore. Gather your neighbors together to spruce up a local park. Share responsibility whenever possible.

10. Clarify your purpose. Ask yourself why you’re doing something. It’s easier to exercise when you remember that you want to lose weight.

11. Radiate enthusiasm. A positive attitude will make any job less stressful. Smile and look on the bright side. For example, if you’re dreading your grocery shopping, find a reason to laugh while doing it.

12. Exchange feedback. We can all help each other to feel motivated by being willing to share constructive feedback. Provide tactful and timely information on how to get better.

13. Seek variety. Alternating between tasks can help you stay fresh. Devote 15 minutes at a time to completing your expense reports and filing documents. You may find both projects more pleasant.

14. Get adequate rest. Building regular breaks into your schedule also keeps you motivated and in top condition. Make time for play and reflection. Stick to a consistent bedtime and take naps if you need to supplement your overnight sleep.

15. Serve others. All work becomes more joyful and fulfilling when you view it from the perspective of how it helps others. There are certain careers and activities that lend themselves to this. Maybe you do volunteer work at the local animal shelter. Or perhaps you are a nurse or a teacher that helps others on a daily basis. Assisting others is motivating.

What is Intrinsic Motivation?

Intrinsic motivation, which has been studied since the early 1970s, is the self-desire to seek out new things and new challenges, to analyze one’s capacity, to observe and to gain knowledge. It is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on external pressures or a desire for reward.

The phenomenon of intrinsic motivation was first acknowledged within experimental studies of animal behavior. In these studies, it was evident that the organisms would engage in playful and curiosity driven behaviors in the absence of reward.

Intrinsic motivation is a natural motivational tendency and is a critical element in cognitive, social, and physical development. Students who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to engage in the task willingly as well as work to improve their skills, which will increase their capabilities. Students are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they:

  • attribute their educational results to factors under their own control, also known as autonomy or locus of control
  • believe they have the skills to be effective agents in reaching their desired goals, also known as self-efficacy beliefs
  • are interested in mastering a topic, not just in achieving good grades

An example of intrinsic motivation is when an employee becomes an IT professional because he or she wants to learn about how computer users interact with computer networks. The employee has the intrinsic motivation to gain more knowledge.