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Motivation Isn't What Keeps Me Going.

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

A few months ago, I was asked the typical “What motivates you to get up and work each day?” question during an interview. So, what does that really mean? Motivation is defined as the reasons one has for acting in a particular way. Motivation can be categorized into two main categories; extrinsic: outside influences that give you a reason for action, and intrinsic: internal influences that give you a reason for action.

Extrinsic motivation can be a variety of forces. Societal or family expectations, physical rewards, recognition, praise, and the list goes on. On the contrary, intrinsic motivation is due to internal forces. The feeling of completing a goal or self praise. The results of motivation make us feel good but, motivation isn’t what keeps us going.

Motivation is what gets us STARTED. The desire to get that job you want. To begin working out. To buy a house. To start over in a career you actually like. You get the point.

You won’t always feel motivated. Nobody feels motivated 24/7 no matter how it seems. That rainy Monday morning. Waking up after a restless night. Receiving bad news. Burnout. Even the most “motivated” people succumb to factors out of their control.

So, where motivation ends is where the real drive begins: determination. Determination is what keeps pushing through. The reason people lose motivation is because they lose sight of their purpose. After a week of being motivated, things become hard. Goals seem unreachable. Life gets in the way. Oftentimes, people simply give up before really trying.

Think of new year's resolutions. A common resolution I hear is that an individual wants to start working out. I think everyones heard of this one at least once. The surge of new people at the gym after the new year - each year it's always crowded January 1st. People high in hopes and buzzing with energy. And how does it turn out? Usually not so great. According to studies, 80% of new year's resolutions FAIL by the time February comes around and only 8% of people are able to keep their resolutions for the entire year. Why is this? It’s because of a lack of determination.

Motivation only gets you so far. Determination is what is really needed to push you forward. Keeping your eyes set on your goals. Make a commitment to yourself and keep it.

So, now that I’ve explained my thoughts ;) Here's how I answered this interview question.

“Well, to be honest I can’t say that I truly am motivated every day. There are definitely days that I wake up and want to do absolutely nothing except lay in bed. However, what keeps me going is determination. I have goals that I am dedicated to accomplishing. I made a commitment to myself to work towards my future. Motivation helps me with the small term things but in the end, my work ethic falls upon being determined to achieve what I set my mind to.”

With the New Year in sight, keep this in mind. Use the excitement of a new goal to fuel your motivation at the start but when that motivation begins to fade, keep that end-game in mind and push for it. Stay determined.

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