The science of motivation


science of motivationMotivation is the fuel that ignites you from within. It’s what drives you to achieve, to up your levels of concentration and perform at your peak. Motivation is a resource that you can call on whenever you need it to increase your focus and keep you on track for success. At Motivating Words, we think of motivation as the secret sauce that keeps you optimistic when things get tough or when life throws you a curved ball.

There are several theories about the science of motivation and in this article, we’ll touch on some, but what we’d like to explore in more detail is how you can motivate yourself more effectively.

Dopamine is a chemical produced in your brain. Dopamine is the substance that most people describe as the pleasure substance. However, dopamine has also recently been identified as being connected with motivation. A hormone that appears in raised levels in every situation from stress, pain, loss and pleasure, scientists have recently shown that your levels of dopamine have a strong impact on your willingness to work. These scientists studied people who willingly drive themselves and compared them to those who have a greater tendency to sit back. The marked difference between the two were the levels of dopamine present in a very specific part of their brain. While the jury is still out about how you can create artificial highs in the right part of the brain, there is no doubt that there are things you can do to develop your motivation.

Things like willpower and tiredness impact on how motivated you feel, so there are simple things you can do to make sure your motivation curve is heading in the right direction, like:

Establish routines

When you have a routine, there is less element of choice. While this may sound like a negative thing, having less choice can reduce fatigue and make you more likely to perform in certain areas. This tactic is particularly effective when you reduce mundane choices so you are left better equipped to perform in the more challenging things you have to do in your life. By way of example, think about certain celebrities. They remove what they perceive as mundane choices in their lives in order to save their energy for more important things. Barak Obama and Steve Jobs, for example, both spoke openly about restricting their clothing choices to a very limited wardrobe in order to preserve their resources for more important challenges that faced them throughout their day. Simple acts such as this could possibly boost your motivation.

Identify priorities

While not really part of the science of motivation, there is no doubt that getting your most important tasks done while you’re full of energy helps your performance. Many people swear by setting aside time at the start of every day to get their most complex and most challenging tasks out of the way. And the old adage that the first 90 minutes of the day are the most productive, might just be true. So if you’re lacking in motivation, you could try getting your most difficult jobs out of the way first, leaving the rest of the day for more pleasurable, less challenging tasks.


And of course being able to say “no” is a great way to boost your motivation. When you’re constantly being dragged down by tasks that you’re resentful of, your motivation soon takes a hit. No is only a 2 letter word, but it can be one of the toughest that many of us struggle to say. When you master the task of focusing only on what’s important, you’ll soon see a boost to your motivation.



So there you have it. While the science of motivation is a really interesting subject, getting back to basics is a great way to give yourself that boost you need.