Setiap orang memiliki tujuan dalam hidupnya, mulai dari hal kecil hingga mimpi yang besar. Baik untuk belajar, bekerja, berolahraga, atau melakukan hal lainnya, seseorang perlu bumbu khusus yang disebut motivasi.
Motivasi membuat Anda bersemangat untuk berusaha dan memulai hal-hal yang dapat membantu mencapai tujuan. Namun, bagaimana bisa beberapa orang lebih termotivasi daripada yang lainnya.
Everyone has goals in life, from small things to big dreams. Whether to study, work, exercise, or do other things, a person needs a special ingredient called motivation.
Motivation makes you excited to try and start things that can help achieve goals. However, how come some people are more motivated than others.
A person's motivation and the reasons behind it can be as unique as fingerprints. However, there are chemical mechanisms in the brain that influence what motivates people and how motivated they are on a day-to-day basis.
Robert West, a psychologist and emeritus professor of behavioral and health sciences at University College London in England, says that different people find motivation in different areas.
"We have a lot of things that motivate us," he told Live Science.
These range from experiences, such as pleasure, comfort, excitement or hunger to more abstract desires such as purpose or control. Social motivators can also include love, power, ownership, and recognition.
According to West, everyone has a different opinion about priorities. These priorities can also change as a person ages.
Neurotransmitters which are messengers in the brain may be responsible for differences in motivation. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience asked participants to play math games of varying degrees of difficulty for a monetary prize.
As a result, people who were more willing to play difficult games produced higher levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain areas associated with reward and motivation, namely the striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex.
Meanwhile, someone with a lower level of motivation released dopamine in the anterior insula, an area in the brain responsible for emotion and risk perception.
"Certain chemicals in the brain such as endorphins and dopamine play a role in the desires experienced and how behavior is shaped," West said.
"For example, the release of dopamine in a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens helps teach us what we like and what we don't like, while endorphins are involved in happiness."
Since research also shows that dopamine is released in different areas of the brain, this is why everyone is motivated by different things.
Dopamine levels differ from person to person, say the researchers, which also explains why some people are more persistent in achieving their goals than others.
Can One Be More Motivated?
A person can become more motivated by understanding something called the intention-behavior gap, says Susan Michie, a professor of health psychology and director of the Center for Behavior Change at University College London.
The intention-behavior gap occurs when a person's actions are inconsistent with their prior intentions—when a person doesn't do what he or she wants to do.
For example, a person intends to exercise for 30 minutes after work. However, he denied his intention and instead relaxed on the sofa watching television.
"Even though someone may feel highly motivated to change, change doesn't happen," says Michie.
"It's about translating feelings into action—feelings alone are not enough to make things happen. One also needs to have the skills to regulate behavior and the opportunity to make it happen."
Fortunately, Michie says that there are ways to close the intention-behavior gap. Namely, making a plan and specifying what, when and with whom the action should occur. Sharing a plan with others can also encourage someone to do it.
Working in Groups
A 2011 study published in the journal Social and Personality Psychology Compass found that working in a group can motivate and improve the performance of the weaker members, who are defined as people who are less able to complete a given task.
Researchers think this could be because people tend to compare themselves with someone who is above them and believe that everyone's effort is necessary to achieve success in a group.
However, it is not clear how this affects the 'stronger' members of the group.
Replacing an activity with another can also keep a person motivated, said Michie.
"If someone is intending to stop doing something they enjoy, like drinking alcohol, they need to think about what they can do as an alternative as well as avoid places associated with the behavior they are trying to stop," she explains.
Thus, the habit of drinking alcohol will gradually disappear and be replaced by the previously selected alternative.