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Mental Health: Three Simple Ways to Increase Motivation at Home and in the Workplace


There are two main types of motivation. Extrinsic motivation is a source of motivation that comes from outside yourself. When you cover someone’s shift at work in order to get the extra paycheck, that is external motivation. Intrinsic motivation is a source of motivation that comes from within yourself. You are intrinsically motivated when you do something because you get pleasure or enjoyment from it.

Usually we are motivated by a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. For example, you might choose a career as a teacher because you enjoy working with children (intrinsic motivation). But you might be also be motivated to show up to your job on time every morning because you depend on your weekly paycheck (extrinsic motivation).

Generally intrinsic motivation results in feeling more competent and fulfilled. If you are motivated intrinsically you will not have to force yourself to accomplish tasks. Identifying sources of intrinsic motivation can help you keep up with your daily care activities and prevent you from experiencing burnout.

Do you feel better when you take your medications every morning?
Do you have more energy during the day when you follow your nighttime sleep routine?
Do you enjoy how your body feels when you are keeping up with your exercise routine?
Do feel a sense of autonomy and independence when you are actively taking care of your health?

If you are in the market for some helpful tips to boost your motivation, let’s get started with a little inspiration.

Activity for identifying strengths: Set aside 30 minutes to journal and ask yourself questions that will help you to identify strengths. You might ask yourself questions like: What am I good at? What have others complimented me on? What do others ask me for help with? Which projects and tasks energize me? What can I do for hours without getting tired? What are my hobbies and why do I enjoy them? Trying new creative activities is another great way to identify your strengths. Try following an online painting tutorial, playing an instrument, or cooking a new recipe!

Goal Setting: Think about three things you would like to achieve this month. Do you want to be more consistent with taking your medications? Would you like to be able to take a ten-minute walk? Do you want to take a shower and get dressed every morning, even if you won’t be leaving the house?

Set goals that are specific and challenging, yet attainable in a short-term time frame. You might choose to set new goals every day, or to set goals on a weekly or monthly basis. Check in regularly on your progress. If you keep a journal or use a planner, log your progress daily and adjust your goals if needed. Post your goals in a place where you will see them and be reminded of them regularly. And remember to listen to your body and take breaks if needed.

Celebrate the Small Victories: Celebrating the small victories is an important skill for maintaining positive progress. The path to a healthy mind and body is not always straight and smooth, and sometimes there will be setbacks. So, celebrating the small victories is one way to be mindful of the progress you are making and stay motivated to achieve your goals. Eating a healthy meal. Responding to your work emails. Taking a break to stretch. These are all victories that show real progress towards achieving goals.

When you are feeling low, you can look at these small documented victories to remind yourself that you are still making progress, that suffering is temporary and better days will come. Be creative with documenting your achievements and write them in a place where you can view them daily.

About the Author: Kayla Furbish graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Psychology and is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Health and Wellness team at Home Base. Her research interests include trauma and PTSD, health psychology, mind-body medicine, and the relationship between chronic illness and emotional well being.