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According to Wikipedia, Motivation is the reason for people’s actions, desires, and needs. Motivation is also one’s direction to behavior, or what causes a person to want to repeat a behavior. A motive is what prompts the person to act in a certain way, or at least develop an inclination for specific behavior. According to Maehr and Meyer, “Motivation is a word that is part of the popular culture as few other psychological concepts are”.

A motive is an impulse that causes a person to act. Motivation is an internal process that makes a person move toward a goal. Motivation, like intelligence, can’t be directly observed. Instead, motivation can only be inferred by noting a person’s behavior.

Researchers have proposed theories that try to explain human motivation. These theories include drive reduction theories and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory.

Drive reduction theories of motivation suggest that people act in order to reduce needs and maintain a constant physiological state. For example, people eat in order to reduce their need for food. The idea of homeostasis is central to drive reduction theories. Homeostasis is the maintenance of a state of physiological equilibrium.

Drive reduction theories fail to explain several aspects of motivation:

  •         People sometimes aren’t motivated by internal needs.

Example: Some people fast for long periods for political causes, despite feeling extreme hunger.

  •         Sometimes, people continue being motivated even when they have satisfied internal needs.

Example: People sometimes eat even when they don’t feel hungry.

The concept of motivation has had a comparatively short formal history in experimental psychology, figuring hardly at all in the systematic presentations of such forebears and founders as the English associationists Wundt, James, and Titchener. While space does not permit here adequate development of background or supporting documentation, it is probable that motivation became a central variable in behavior theories coincidentally with the change from viewing mind as “structure” to viewing mind as “function.”

This was the period of the emergence of the functionalism of Dewey and Angell, Freud’s psychoanalysis, and McDougall’s “hormic,” or purposive, psychology. The notion that mind or behavior has directional and energetic components could only have occurred to students who regarded organisms as going and achieving, as desiring and searching, or as solving problems and adapting.

When we talk about “goals” on the other hand, we are basically talking about an individual’s idea or interest. Everybody has a goal in their lives. It is just that they don’t talk about or work hard to achieve it. These are the only two cases. A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envisions, plans and commits to achieve. People endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines. In other words, it is simple a purpose or aim.

A theory was developed namely; Goal-setting theory which was formulated based on empirical research and has been called one of the most important theories in organizational psychology.  Edwin A.Locke and Gary P. Latham, the fathers of goal-setting theory, provided a comprehensive review of the core findings of the theory in 2002. In summary, Locke and Latham found that specific, difficult goals lead to higher performance than either easy goals or instructions to “do your best”, as long as feedback about progress is provided, the person is committed to the goal, and the person has the ability and knowledge to perform the task.

Short-term goals expect accomplishment in a short period of time, such as trying to get a bill paid in the next few days. The definition of a short-term goal need not relate to any specific length of time. In other words, one may achieve (or fail to achieve) a short-term goal in a day, week, month, year, etc. The time-frame for a short-term goal relates to its context in the overall time line that it is being applied to. For instance, one could measure a short-term goal for a month-long project in days; whereas one might measure a short-term goal for someone’s lifetime in months or in years. Planners usually define short-term goals in relation to long-term goals.

How are goals and motivation linked?

Goals are very closely linked to motivation, so both long and short term goals help keep you moving through your different types of study in preference to other activities (which might be more enjoyable and therefore equally or more motivating). Goals give you the direction and motivation gives you the energy so use the combination.

Motivation is the drive or energy that you bring to an activity. Motivators are often rewards and, as students, we now have to organize our own rewards, such as watching television when I have completed these readings or lunch with a friend when the assignment is done to help us achieve our goals.

It important to know what motivates us and how to use these motivations to our study goals.


In order to succeed in life, set your goals high and motivate yourself to reach that goal.

“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim; have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” —Orison Swett Marden

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