What are the best strategies for self-motivation?

Marie Hennecke, a teacher-researcher in psychology at the University of Siegen, Germany, evaluated 19 strategies for engaging — and persevering — in a task, whether it be studying, writing, or taking action. Here are the 4 most effective self-motivation strategies uncovered in her research.

The 264 participants who participated in this study were asked by hourly mobile survey whether they were able to complete certain tasks and about the strategies they used. 4 strategies proved to be most effective: 1) persuading yourself that the task will soon be finished: “I’ll be done soon”; 2) visualizing the benefit and reward linked to task completion; 3) monitoring your progress toward the goal, and 4) regulating your emotions to stay in a positive mood.

Conversely, the most inefficient strategy was to try to distract yourself from the activity by thinking of something more pleasant. Assessment: self-motivation, and by extrapolation, team motivation, is reinforced by the division of objectives into sub-objectives, creating a feeling of being near the end, which reinforces the feeling of progress. It is also essential to communicate the expected benefits, and, of course, to limit distractions. Her research thus confirms the principles of agile methodology — and adds maintaining a good attitude to the mix as an extra bonus!

To go further:Doing Despite Disliking: Self‐regulatory Strategies in Everyday Aversive Activities” by Marie Hennecke (European Journal of Personality, 10 December 2018)