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Your values drive your motivation

. If you set goals that are aligned with your values, you will have the motivation to help you achieve them. If you set goals that are not in line with your values, it will be an uphill struggle to achieve them.

When you understand your values and their impact on how you are currently motivating yourself you will have a wonderful insight into why you achieve the results that you do in life. You will also know how to motivate yourself more effectively in the future.

Motivation comes either from within you (intrinsic motivation) or from an external source (extrinsic motivation).

Extrinsic motivation is provided by some factor external to you. It can take the form of inducements (rewards) or punishments. The rewards can be tangible or intangible (such as praise).

Intrinsic motivation is evident when you engage in an activity for its own sake without any external incentive. It appears from research done by Albert Bandura that if you have more self efficacy (belief in your own abilities to control your environment) you are more highly intrinsically motivated than other people.

As intrinsic motivation is the only one you can take with you and call upon at any time, it is the most important in terms of self motivation.

Intrinsic motivation can be broken down further into towards motivation and ‘away from’ motivation. ‘Towards’ motivation is motivation towards something you want and ‘away from’ motivation is motivation away from something you don’t want.

‘Away From’ Motivation

‘Away from’ motivation is driven by pain. Pain motivated performance is not pleasant, produces inconsistent results and disappears when the pain is no longer present.

‘Away from motivation’ does, however, give you a strong initial motivation to move away from the thing you don’t want in your life. A problem with using this type of motivation is that you wait until things are bad before you take action to change them. Another problem is that you don’t have a target or goal that you are aiming for (just something you are running from) so you don’t tend to achieve results.

When you are motivated away from something that you don’t want in life, you tend to focus upon the very thing you don’t want and that is what you attract into your life. As examples:


  • If you constantly say to yourself, ‘I don’t want to be broke’, your focus is upon being broke and that is where your unconscious mind will aim.
  • If you constantly say to yourself, “I don’t want to be single”, your focus is upon being single and that is where your unconscious mind will aim.


Motivation away from what you don’t want can motivate you, but it doesn’t do so for long and you can’t be sure what results you will achieve. It can give you a fantastic initial boost of energy, but you can never guarantee where you are going to end up as you don’t have a firm direction in mind, just a place you want to get away from. If you use away from motivation in your life, you will tend to create a series of crises to keep yourself motivated.

‘Towards’ Motivation

If you use ‘towards motivation’ you will take action to move towards your goal and you will achieve them more often than not.

‘Towards’ motivation is the best way to motivate yourself. When you are motivated towards what you want, you tend to stay consistently motivated until you achieve your goal (provided you desire it enough).

When you are motivated towards what you want, you constantly set and achieve goals each time stretching yourself further. By using motivation towards what you want you give yourself a far greater chance of achieving what you want out of life.

How Do You Know If The Motivation You Use Is ‘Towards’ Or ‘Away From’ Motivation?

We now know that values drive your motivation and that motivation can be either towards what you want or away from what you don’t want. Now it is time to review your values to discover whether the underlying motivation for each of your values is:

  • towards what you want; or
  • away from what you don’t want.: