Friday, September 16, 2011

Motivation and Self-Regulation

In order motivate a person to achieve incentive, one must possess energy and strength. The energy that is needed for us to be motivated can be psychological or physical energy. Psychological energy is that of the mind, which results from an accumulation of energy within the brain’s neurons, leaving us with a feeling of pleasure. Physical energy on the other hand is a material needs, and often linked with glucose levels in our body, a key element for motivation.

An article written by Roy F. Baumeister and Kathleen D. Vohs, discusses how motivation contributes to one’s self-regulation and strength. Self-regulation is the ability to control one's emotions, behaviors and desires,in order to obtain some reward later. According to Baumeister and Vohs, there are four key elements in describing self-regulation; standards, monitoring, willpower and motivation. A portion of each of these elements is important in have self-regulation against urges and desires. If a person’s standards are high, it helps them to monitor their behavior, using their willpower, which ultimately gives them the motivation to behave in a way that will attain their reward, or incentive.

An example of this in my life would be a party that I was attending with fellow employees. My incentive would be the need to belong; I was new to work, and wanted to fit in with the rest of the staff. I knew that my manager would be at the party, and I wanted to prove to her that I was responsible, while still socializing and making friends. From the start of the night, I set certain standards for myself: I was not going to drink, and I was going to leave at an appropriate time, due to work the next morning. I monitored the time, in order to avoid staying too late. Thanks to my willpower, I was able to say no to drinks that were offered to me several times throughout the night. My motivation to achieve the goal worked out in my favor. I was home at a reasonable time, and promptly arrived at work the next day. I was complimented by my manager on my ability to behave as an adult, and my reward would be gaining new friends as well as respect at my place of work.

The video below is a fun, animated way to show us how incentives, and different levels of incentives, and motivate us in a certain way. It demonstrates how a larger reward can cause a higher level of motivation.

Baumeister, Roy and Vohs, Kathleen Social and Personality Psychology Compass 1 (2007)

Kate McGinley- Motivation PSYC3380

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