Motivation will intrigue you for a reason. Did you wake up feeling a lack of enthusiasm about the day’s work, or did you start doubting whether you should go to the gym this morning? Either way, you’re lacking motivation and need a boost.
Understanding how different types of motivation pushes you toward certain goals could help you out of bed. Motivation is more complicated than you think. Let’s help you master it.
What Is Motivation?
Psychology Today describes motivation as (12):
- A desire to reach a goal
- A driver of human behavior
- What gives action meaning
Ten types exist under the two major categories.
Main Types of Motivation: Intrinsic and Extrinsic
The 2 types of motivation see you through any task or action from internal or external sources.
New York research explains intrinsic motivation as an inner force that moves toward something that satisfies your needs (13). It has no external influence. Your desire to achieve a goal is an internal reward or challenge. For example, you strive to work hard on your body conditioning because wellness means everything to you.
The same research explains extrinsic motivation as the desire to achieve a goal that offers external pressure, reward, or validation (13). So, you pursue a goal to gain compensation from an employer, or you wish to avoid punishment by losing your job if you don’t meet the employer’s goal.
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Types of Motivation With Examples
Let’s look at the ten major types of motivation before helping you find the motivation style that works for your unique situation.
5 Types of Extrinsic Motivation
The extrinsic motivation styles come from external sources (13). You’ll find the five types people use to achieve their desired outcomes.
Cambridge University describes affiliation motivation as the desire to establish, maintain, or restore acceptance among peers (18). The need to belong or find validation from others relies on external approval.
Example: You spend more time at the gym pursuing fitness because you want new friends to like or accept you.
Expectancy motivation is when you expect specific results only external people can bring (14). You expect that life’s fair and put as much effort in as possible to enhance your performance expecting good returns.
Example: You work hard to improve your performance, thinking your boss will notice on their own and reward you substantially.
Forbes shares many ideas on how you can experience incentive motivation if your boss wants you to achieve a goal they set (1). Ultimately, incentives like money, promotions, bonuses, and getaways motivate you by making you desire something someone else gives.
Example: Your boss motivates you by incentivizing you to get that promotion with a big paycheck if you bring in a new client. However, if you’re pursuing this because you enjoy the challenge, one motivation overlaps with another.
Psychology Today says fear is the most intense emotional motivator (20). Fear leads you to do anything to avoid an undesirable outcome. Avoiding tasks someone said you must ignore because they threatened to fire you is external. Still, internal fears can also motivate you.
Example: You spend your bonus on car repairs after hearing a noise, even though you wanted a new suit for work. Sometimes, fear helps you prioritize needs before desires.
Chinese researchers explain power motivation as the desire to hold influence over others (16). External influence threatens your influence over others because you need validation from them. It’s not a bad motive if used correctly.
Example: You compete for a management position, thinking your ideas will boost the company’s culture and profit. You’re seeking power but also considering everyone.
5 Types of Intrinsic Motivation
Extrinsic motivation sounds bad, but the examples show how to use each one positively. Meanwhile, let’s discover the five types of intrinsic motives.
Achievement motivation is the opposite of power motivation and is an intrinsic motive (13). The entire basis is that someone pursues a goal to satisfy their needs to grow, evolve, or develop, whether finishing a course or losing weight. The result matters.
Example: Using motivational techniques for personal growth is an intrinsic pursuit for achievement (22). No one benefits more from personal development than you. The innate driver is intrinsic because it’s personal.
Attitude motivation is a positive intrinsic force that drives you into action (13). The intrinsic part means you want to see others succeed because it makes you feel good. You have an attitude to change the world.
Example: You start motivating another person in your gym because success isn’t only about you. Instead, you wish to see everyone succeed.
Indonesia’s Dr. Rohana describes learning motivation as intrinsic (15). Someone with competent motives finds pleasure and action in anything that helps them grow, progress, learn, or enjoy the process, often not focusing on the outcome.
Example: Someone learning gentle chair yoga for beginners and seniors is on a learning journey with intrinsic drivers (23). You want to increase your fitness and endurance. However, the reward is learning and becoming more competent, not the result.
Harvard Business School says the creative motive is intrinsic because passion drives it (21). The intrinsic side is the need to express your passion in any way possible. The smaller extrinsic side is when people validate your success and support future efforts.
Example: An intrinsic example is when you design a vision board for your wellness goals. The extrinsic example is your partner complimenting the board and asking how to help.
Physiological motivation is intrinsic because it leans toward Maslow’s theory, which starts with basic human needs (10). It’s internal because you’re the one who must survive. It only becomes extrinsic when you rely on someone to feed you because you’re bedridden.
Example: A senior using a 21-day pilates wall workout to improve balance and coordination while enhancing flexibility and range of motion is intrinsic (2). Also, it’s a physiological need because women over 70 need specialized exercises to maintain healthy joints.
What Is the Best Type of Motivation?
Different types of motivation include intrinsic and extrinsic factors. German research revealed how people with lower self-reported intrinsic motivation activated neural pleasure centers while having external motivation (11). However, later research from Houston examined neural changes during mundane problem-solving tasks (4).
The brain’s pleasure centers didn’t activate, but the study didn’t use traditional intrinsic, pleasurable motivators. Instead, the external reward proved how an external motive alone might not motivate you enough. The researchers confirm blending both would work better to encourage you.
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What Are Your Motivational Styles?
Understanding the styles, major types, and theories may help you determine which suits you. No shoe fits all goals, lifestyle changes, career desires, or wellness pursuits. Instead, you must discover all the secrets behind motivational styles you can master.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
New York researchers found exciting differences that may help you weigh the pros and cons of motivation styles (13).
|Extrinsic Motivation||Intrinsic Motivation|
|Weighing the cost of action against the benefits is the primary bedrock||The primary bedrock is to restore homeostasis within your personal needs|
|External rewards or fears drive temporary motivation to turn exploration into action||Internal joy and confidence turn exploration into action, even without immediate rewards|
|Extrinsic rewards show activation in the brain’s pleasure and problem-solving centers (11)||A lack of internal joy during mundane problem-solving tasks doesn’t activate the brain’s pleasure centers (4)|
|External motivation lacks the internal workload discounting required to activate the D2 dopamine receptor to lead to a flow state if the cost is too high or the reward delays too long (5, 7). Unexciting benefits weighed against too much work and extended returns on external reward may prevent the flow state||Internal motivation stimulates dopaminergic signaling, allowing a higher likelihood of the flow state when pursuing goals (19, 7)|
What Are 4 Types of Motivation?
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is complicated, each with pros and cons. However, most people don’t realize that four significant types of motivation exist. Here are the other two motivation types, similar to intrinsic and extrinsic.
French researchers explained identified or self-determined motivation (6). Self-determined motivation is when you take action motivated by your core values, basic human needs, and attitude, similar to intrinsic motivation.
Turkish researchers define introjected motive as feeling obligated to take action while lacking an internal desire (8). Introjected motivation doesn’t include internal factors. Creating autonomy with extrinsic motivation may internalize it.
Types of Motivation Theories
Mastering blended types of motivation requires a grasp of motivation and human behavior theories. Let’s explore well-known theories to customize your motivational style in ways that feel fail-proof. Nothing is fail-proof, but mastering what you can is your best chance.
The University of Rochester explains self-determination theory as the key to achieving self-determined motivation (17). Essentially, self-determined motivation may only result once you meet three psychological needs.
- You can relate to the goal
- You feel competent enough to progress actionably
- You possess autonomy and willingness
Still, external forces can delay self-determined motivation (17). For example, a partner who is unwilling to support your pursuit of wellness at home may cancel your self-determined motivation. Meanwhile, a lack of nutritious food provided by a partner who cooks every meal also affects the physiological needs to achieve your goal.
What Are the 6 Levels of Motivation? The Maslow Theory
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains another psychological theory behind what motivates human behavior (10). Maslow believed meeting five certain needs drives human behavior and was the ultimate form of motivation. Meeting all of Maslow’s needs may motivate you.
You must meet physiological, safety, social, self-esteem, and self-actualization needs to master human motivation (10). Failing to meet these needs could cause demotivation and failure. For example, skipping physiological needs may cause illness that affects wellness, even influencing the second level of his pyramid.
Meanwhile, the British Psychological Society published findings on why Maslow’s hierarchy wasn’t complete (9). The application wasn’t working because how can self-actualized people still feel motivated? The pyramid required a sixth level to master motivation. Here are the levels:
- Level 1 – Physiological Needs: Food, sleep, sex, and shelter
- Level 2 – Safety Needs: A stable income or job or being in good health
- Level 3 – Social Needs: Friends, intimacy, and social validation or acceptance
- Level 4 – Self-Esteem Needs: Competency, status, and reputation
- Level 5 – Self-Actualization Needs: Autonomy, self-acceptance, and self-fulfillment
- Level 6 – Meta Needs: Excellence, growth, and transcendent values
Expectancy Theory vs. Equity Theory of Motivation
Some motivation theories are excellent in work environments. Two popular global choices include equity and expectancy motivation theories (14). Equity theory explains how employees feel motivated when they think resources, rewards, and workloads are fair.
Expectancy theory relies on three factors:
- You choose one behavior to increase performance
- Your high level of performance and effort bring a reward
- Your reward will be substantial
Unfortunately, both models are extrinsic. However, one may enhance job performance. Walden University compared the two theories globally to find expectancy theory is a viable option for leaders to motivate better performance (14).
Arousal Theory of Motivation
Henry Murray’s arousal theory of motivation might help you mix intrinsic and extrinsic drives (3). The theory suggests motivation comes from pursuing arousal through threats or challenges. However, balance is the key. Robert Zajonc and John Atkinson further developed the theory to suggest some people need more arousal while others fall into apathy.
2 Types of Motivation Strategies
Motive-blending strategies are suitable for using multiple motives for specific situations. You’ll find two examples here to inspire customized strategies for any goals you desire.
Types of Work Motivation Strategies
Blend any of these motives for work:
- Achievement motivation
- Attitude motivation
- Competence motivation (15)
- Creative motivation
- Expectancy motivation
- Incentive motivation
- Power motivation (20)
Types of Wellness Motivation Strategies
Blend any of these motives for wellness:
- Achievement motivation
- Affiliation motivation (18)
- Attitude motivation
- Creative motivation
- Incentive motivation (1)
- Learning motivation
- Physiological motivation (10)
What Are the Different Types of Motivation in Psychology?
Four types exist. New York researchers focused on two primary types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic (13). Most types of motivation fall into one of two types. Furthermore, you get identified and introjected motivation (6, 8).
How Many Types of Motivation Are There?
Ten types of motivation exist under intrinsic, extrinsic, or both types of motivation (13). They include achievement, affiliation, attitude, creativity, expectancy, incentive, learning, physiological, and power motivation.
What Type of Motivation Is the Most Effective?
The best motive is to blend multiple types for specific situations. Research from Houston examined neural changes during problem-solving tasks (4). The brain’s pleasure centers didn’t activate with extrinsic motivation alone. Hence, it proved how extrinsic reward alone might not motivate you enough to take action or solve problems.
What Are the Types of Intrinsic Motivation?
Intrinsic motivation has five types and includes any strong desire to take action for self-satisfaction (13). They include achievement, attitude, competence, creative, and physiological motivation.
The Bottom Line
Motivation doesn’t run linearly through your mind. Hence, you must understand what drives various forms of motivation and how each one can work in your favor. Blending multiple types or using a balanced state of arousal motivation will do wonders. Pick your motives, and start using them today to achieve anything you desire.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 14 Ways To Use Incentives To Motivate Employees At Large Businesses (2021, forbes.com)
- 21-Day Pilates Wall Workout: Will It Work For Seniors (2023, betterme.world)
- Arousal Theory of Motivation in Psychology: Definition and Examples (2023, simplypsychology.org)
- Diminished Neural Responses Predict Enhanced Intrinsic Motivation and Sensitivity to External Incentives (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How Dopamine Signalling Can Turn Motivation “On” or “Off” | Psychology Today (2021, psychologytoday.com)
- Identified Motivation as a Key Factor for School Engagement During the COVID-19 Pandemic-Related School Closure (2021, frontiersin.org)
- Individual Differences in the Proneness to Have Flow Experiences Are Linked to Dopamine D2-Receptor Availability in the Dorsal Striatum (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Introjected Regulation (2020, link.springer.com)
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: The Sixth Level (2014, bps.org.uk)
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Uses and Criticisms (2022, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Motivational Orientation Modulates the Neural Response to Reward (2010, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Motivation | Psychology Today (n.d., psychologytoday.com)
- On What Motivates Us: A Detailed Review of Intrinsic v. Extrinsic Motivation (2022, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- (PDF) A Comparison of Equity Theory and Expectancy Theory and Some Implications for Managers in a Global Work Environment. (2010, researchgate.net)
- (PDF) Learning Motivation: Motivation of Learning (2021, researchgate.net)
- Power Motivation Arousal Promotes Prosocial Behavior in the Dictator Game Depending on Social Presence (2022, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Self-Determination Theory of Motivation – Center for Community Health and Prevention (n.d., urmc.rochester,edu)
- The Affiliation Motive (2009, cambridge,org)
- The Emerging Neuroscience of Intrinsic Motivation: A New Frontier in Self-Determination Research (2017, frontiersin.org)
- The Most Powerful Motivator | Psychology Today (2009, psychologytoday.com)
- The Motivation for Creativity in Organizations (1996, hbs.edu)
- The Top 3 Effective Motivational Techniques That Promote Better Life (2022, betterme.world)
- The Ultimate Guide To Gentle Chair Yoga For Beginners And Seniors (2023, betterme.world)