What’s Your Motivation?

The psychology behind why we do what we do

One thing I learned from my college experience is that when you’re not motivated to do something it won’t happen. The biggest project of the semester that’s worth half your grade can hurt you if you don’t find the desire to start planning. Grades aren’t the best motivation and that’s when I found myself calculating every assignment on Canvas to make sure I have the grade I want or a grade I’ll settle for. Before, I didn’t fully understand how motivation affects daily life. Another thing I learned is how inconsistent motivation is and the importance of maintaining it.

Without sounding too much like an essay, let me tell you what motivation is. According to Psychology Today, motivation is the desire to act in service of a goal. It is the driving forces behind human behavior. Without motivation, there’s no competing or desire to grow pass limitations. Here are some steps that you can take to make sure you get motivated when you’re having one of those days (or months).

Step 1: Become More Self-aware and Understand Your Reasoning

Pay attention to what motivates you. This may seem self-explanatory, but ask yourself, “What motivates me?” and are these factors from society’s outlook or your own. Being in college you have to make a grade there’s no other way to pass, and when that became the goal, I started to lose sight of my love for learning. I had to evaluate how I felt about school and what I was learning. If your motivation streams from doing the bare minimum and getting the same results, then it’s not likely you’ll stay motivated.

Step 2: What Are Your Goals/Values?

After finding the source(s) of your motivation, it is time to build your own personal brand. What do you want to accomplish? For example, helping people and making the world safer for the youth are some of my goals, but there are a thousand ways to accomplish this. My values are health and wellness. This is your time to be completely honest with yourself and understand who you are as a person.

Step 3: Connect and Enforce

Take a step back and analyze what you have so far. Have you learned something new about your motivations? Do you know what path you want to start on? Now, it’s time to connect your motivations to your goals. Figure out your abilities/talent and compare that to the jobs that are available. Create one long-term goal, a bunch of short-term goals, and put your work to practice. My long-term goal is to become a neuropsychologist and develop better coping strategies for people with mental disorders. A few of my short-term goals are to complete a research project with a professor, earn two degrees, and further develop my communication skills.

To stay motivated, you must understand why you want to accomplish something. If your goal(s) and desires don’t connect, then the reward won’t be meaningful. That will only lead to discouragement. Remind yourself from time to time what your “why” is and motivation is likely to stay strong.


By Triniti Maye, Saint Xavier University

Instagram: thatssotrin__

Written by Triniti Maye

Currently a struggling college student trying to be the greatest researcher ever! I'm double majoring in biology and psychology with a minor in African American studies. I've been with True Star since 8th grade and through them I've improved my writing and communication skills.

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