An essential ingredient of life is motivation. Whether you’re trying to form a new habit or just starting that hobby you’ve been meaning to start, just as soon as you feel motivated enough then you’ll start. The problem is, not all forms of motivation are created equal. “We talk about intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, and intrinsic seems to be best,” according to Phillippa Lally, a psychologist and senior research fellow at University College London.
In a nutshell, intrinsic motivations are those features of new behavior that make it appealing to you in and of itself. If you love the idea of being able to play the piano or speak French because practicing and perfecting those skills would give you pleasure, those are examples of intrinsic motivations. Extrinsic motivations, on the other hand, are those incentives or attractions that aren’t directly tied to the execution of your new behavior. If you want to learn to play the piano or speak French because you think those skills will impress people, those are examples of extrinsic motivations.
Lally says that, in most cases, it will be difficult to stick with a new behavior if your primary motivations are extrinsic. You’re better off pursuing new goals or behaviors that you enjoy or find personally meaningful or appealing, she says.
Do you find it hard to get motivated sometimes?