The answer is yes, of course, right? People motivate other people. After all, what about coaches and inspirational speakers? They are paid to motivate other people to do great things.
But ask parent who would like to see a better report card, boss who is sure to catch several employees off task at any give time, or spouse who hates picking up someone else’s dirty laundry from bathroom floor and you will hear that motivating others is IMPOSSIBLE!
Consider two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic:
Intrinsic motivation originates from within individual. It is a very powerful source of motivation. Intrinsic motivation is behind all of our attempts to learn and master new skills from our very birth. An infant will reach out and grasp a finger. Next comes walking, talking, riding a bike, all things children are anxious to accomplish.
Extrinsic motivators are rewards and punishments that come from outside world. Play video games instead of doing homework, suffer embarrassment in class next day. Earn a trophy for first place in a competition for high performance, win admiration of others. There is one important fact about extrinsic motivators however, they are short-term fixes only. The desired behavior will probably disappear when threat is gone (or forgotten) or promise has either been delivered or denied.
Instead of relying on extrinsic motivators when attempting to get people to behave in ways that you think are reasonable, foster factors that nurture those powerful intrinsic motivators. What are intrinsic motivators?
•Success and pride of accomplishment •An understanding of importance in applying desired behavior
That’s a pretty short and easy list. So how do you go about adding sunshine, water and nutrients to these natural seeds of personal growth? Here is method:
•Set goals •Assign responsibility •Recognize progress •Develop empathy •Create a conducive environment •Contribute to positive health habits
1) Decide. 2) Create an affirmative statement. 3) Write it down. 4) Be clear about your reasons for wanting it. 5) Set a date for accomplishing goal.
Read any motivational book and, when subject of goal setting comes up, you will always see this formula. The obvious reason? It is effective! Have a family meeting and present some ideas on making progress in areas of importance. Now create a statement that expresses desired goal in an affirmative manner. (To state a goal in affirmative, you say it as if it is already accomplished.) If you want to spend less time watching television and more time on responsibilities, projects and hobbies, you can say, “Our family devotes one hour each evening for taking care of responsibilities and spending creative time on hobbies and projects”. Now commit goal to paper. Why do you have to write it down? The writing process involves more motor skills and imprints idea more clearly on brain. Next step is to assign relevancy to goal. “Better use of our time will reduce stress for entire family. We can use extra time to take care of some chores that usually end up getting rushed, such as picking out clothes to wear next day, or fixing lunches.” Then pin a date on accomplishment, “We will start on Monday and meet again Saturday to talk about different ways we used our extra time”.
There are some very important rules to follow when delegating responsibility in a way that fosters intrinsic motivation rather than relying on extrinsic rewards or punishments.
•Allow for choice •Allow for individual styles •Allow for a learning curve
In our goal of spending less time in evening in front of television and more time reducing stress and pursuing creative endeavors, we can apply these allowances. Obviously, each person would be responsible for picking out tomorrow’s clothes, but other duties can be handed around. Make a list of other jobs that could be shared by everyone and then work out a fair plan of accomplishment. Remember secret of presenting” yes” or “yes” options. “Danny, do you want your day to clean bathroom to be Wednesday or Friday?” “Would you rather make sandwiches or fold laundry?” Once a job is delegated it now belongs to responsible person. No breathing down necks, or coaching from sidelines. Make sure proper tools are available, instructions are clearly given and then walk away. If bathroom mirror is cleaned with a mop first time, oh well. The intrinsic goals of individual will allow necessary skills to develop naturally. You contribute to learning curve by affectively applying next step.