The Science Of Motivation
Articles Blog

The Science Of Motivation

Whether you are trying to lose 20 pounds,
get that promotion at work, or quit smoking, sticking to your goal isn’t an easy task
– after all, 45% of people drop their New Year’s resolutions after one month. So why
is it so difficult to keep motivated – and how can science help us achieve what we’re
after? In one MIT study, students were given two
types of tasks. In the first they had to hit 2 keys on a keyboard as many times as possible
in 4 minutes, and those that did it the fastest would receive money. For some the reward was
$300 while the others only $30. Interestingly, performance was 95% greater in the high $300
group, highlighting how money can be a motivator. But in the second task the same students were
asked to solve a more complex math problem, and this time, those offered the high reward
performed 32% slower than the small reward group. This is known as the ‘distraction
effect’ – when we are given a task that requires problem solving, economic or emotional
pressure can cause focus to shift to the motivator, ultimately dividing your attention and reducing
performance. When we look inside the brains of individuals,
fMRI scans reveal that people who complete a challenge for fun, and people who do it
for a reward show similar activity throughout the brain. But interestingly, if those offered
a reward the first time are asked to participate again for no reward, scans show a decrease
in activity in the anterior striatum and prefrontal areas; parts of the brain linked to self-motivation.
It seems that rewards may cancel out our natural sense of play. So how does this apply to you? Well, it turns
out that ‘play’ is the strongest motivator for sustained behavioural changes. It makes
sense that we stick with enjoyable activities, but considering 67% of gym memberships go
unused it seems most of us are picking the wrong activities to achieve our goals. You
might burn the most calories on a treadmill, but not if you stop doing it after 2 weeks.
Pick something you actually like doing! Your goal itself also matters; a study investigating
reasons for exercise found that those focused on weight loss spent 32% less time exercising
than whose who said they wanted to feel better in day to day life. And while it’s always good to have a positive
attitude, optimism may not always be the best strategy. In a study of 210 females trying
to quit smoking, participants who only imagined major success with few obstacles were less
likely reduce cigarette consumption. Positive thoughts can often trick your brain into thinking
you’ve already achieved the goal, giving you a sense of reward and reducing motivation.
But this doesn’t mean negative thoughts are good – imagining a goal coming true, and
then thinking through the obstacles that stand in your way is the best mixed approach. This
is known as ‘mental contrasting’. Finally, try and avoid the ‘what the hell’
effect. This behaviour was first addressed when researchers gave dieters varying sizes
of milkshakes – from small to large- and then offered them ice cream afterwards. It turns
out, those who had large milkshakes also ended up eating more ice cream because ‘what the
hell – I’ve already ruined my diet, I might as well go all out’. Anticipating that you
will have some bumps along the road to success, whether it be a fitness goal, quitting smoking
or work aspirations, will bring your closer to making your goals a reality. Want some tips for motivation with short term
goals? Like that assignment that is due tomorrow? Check out our latest AsapTHOUGHT video on
the best tips to overcome that lazy feeling. Link in the description. Special thanks to audible for supporting this
episode to give you a free 30 day trial at This week we wanted to recommend
the book ‘No Sweat’ by Michelle Seger, which translates years of research on exercise
and motivation into simple ideas that aim to empower you out of exercise failure! You
can get a free 30 day trial at and choose from a massive selection! We love
them as they are great when you’re on the go. And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

100 thoughts on “The Science Of Motivation

  1. Since I am not a native English speaker, some points of this video were unclear for me, so could anyone of you please explain to me what I should do to not lose a motivation in understandable way? Thanks in advance:)

  2. What if you don't like doing anything and life just keeps moving and you're over there, sitting in the dark room, not having words even inside your head say anything.

    Like you are just ever dissolving in this never ending emptiness that is slowly digesting your internal organs, eventually reaching to your soul.

  3. 12 step ๐™˜๐™๐™š๐™˜๐™ ๐™ก๐™ž๐™จt used ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™–๐™˜t ๐™ข๐™ค๐™ง๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™š๐™–๐™ก๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ abundance >> >> 2906

  4. ๐™ƒ๐™ค๐™ฌ ๐™๐™ค ๐”ธ๐•๐•š๐•˜๐•Ÿnnn ๐™’๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™๐™๐™š ๐™๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง๐™จ๐•–eee ๐™๐™ค ๐˜ผ๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™–๐™˜๐™ฉ ๐™’๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™”๐™ค๐™ช ๐™’๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™๐™จ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™๐™๐™š ๐™‡๐™–๐™ฌ ๐™ค๐™› ๐˜ผ๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™–๐™˜๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐•Ÿnnn (๐™๐™๐™š ๐™Ž๐™š๐™˜๐™ง๐™š๐™ฉ) >>ฤฑsert41 5319

  5. ๏ผ‘๏ผ• ๏ผญ๏ฝ‰๏ฝŽ๏ฝ•๏ฝ”๏ฝ…๏ฝ“ ๐™Š๐™› Meditation ๐™„๐™ฃ ๐™€๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง๐™ฎ๐™™๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™’๐™ž๐™ก๐™ก ๐˜ฝ๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™”๐™ค๐™ช ๐™€๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง๐™ฎ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™”๐™ค๐™ช ๏ผท๏ฝ๏ฝŽ๏ฝ”๏ผ >>ฤฑ87 2097

  6. i think a lot of points were great, but really dense, its a lot of knowledge. For example, now i realize why I have a hard time studying, because me thinking about just finishing this studies is distracting me………………

  7. I like nyself when I was a kid. I had so much fun and motivation learning english I excelled at it. Im going through a tough time and wish to do learn something that interests me but gets hard at times I lose the joy and interest to do it. I keep pushing myself to learn faster and faster with it stresses me out. I just dont understand how people get successful with something thats hard unless its enjoyable for them to spend so much time on it.

  8. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜ > 12 Steppp ๐Ÿ…ฒ๐Ÿ…ท๐Ÿ…ด๐Ÿ…ฒ๐Ÿ…บ๐Ÿ…ป๐Ÿ…ธ๐Ÿ†‚๐Ÿ†ƒ used ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐Ÿ…ฐ๐Ÿ†ƒ๐Ÿ†ƒ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ…ฐ๐Ÿ…ฒ๐Ÿ†ƒ moree ๐™ฌ๐™š๐™–๐™ก๐™ฉ๐™ ๐Ÿ…ฐ๐Ÿ…ฝ๐Ÿ…ณ ๐Ÿ…ฐ๐Ÿ…ฑ๐Ÿ†„๐Ÿ…ฝ๐Ÿ…ณ๐Ÿ…ฐ๐Ÿ…ฝ๐Ÿ…ฒ๐Ÿ…ด ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜ >> ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜ 6607

  9. I love how you point that play is an incredibly important aspect of staying motivated. The ultimate goal is to make activities that you consider play into your career!

  10. I was 60kg then 83kg Iโ€™m down to 73.3kg so Iโ€™m trying to get to 60kg Iโ€™m incredibly short so I look fatter then you may think

  11. I found a good way to re-motivate. May not do it for everything but see videos of people that achieved their goals. Example, I like animating and drawing so I went to watch my favorite anime, etc

  12. I just lost motivation but kept working because I just watched YouTube videos while working out. This shit worked so well because I just combine two thing into one

  13. Watching this video to be more motivated i dont even understand what heโ€™s saying๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

  14. ๐Ÿ˜‚ HOW ๐Ÿ…ณ๐Ÿ…พ๐Ÿ…ด๐Ÿ†‚๐Ÿ†‚ ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฑ Minuteee ๐Ÿ…ผ๐Ÿ…ฐ๐Ÿ…ฝ๐Ÿ…ธ๐Ÿ…ต๐Ÿ…ด๐Ÿ†‚๐Ÿ†ƒ๐Ÿ…ฐ๐Ÿ†ƒ๐Ÿ…ธ๐Ÿ…พ๐Ÿ…ฝ ๐—ช๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ธ ๐—™๐—ผ๐—ฟ You? โ‹† ๐Ÿ˜‚ >> ๐Ÿ˜‚ 4053

  15. Jesus is my strength when I am weak. He keeps me motivated. He is strong, when I am weak. You are not a failure for falling, you are a failure when you don't get back up! Pray thru it, Jesus is there! Jesus is LORD!โค

  16. There is advice for people with goals but without motivation, but what about people who have absolutely no earthy desires for anything? I can't get myself to want ANYTHING. Neither fear and self-domineering nor gentle attempts at positive reinforcement work. I'm miserable without any goals or purpose.

  17. I genuinely don't understand what happened. I used to study 6/10 hours a day, 4-6 days a week and I loved doing it. Now for the last two weeks I struggle reading a sentence…

  18. it's my first time homeschooling and i needed motivation i just don't know what kind of motivation i need

  19. 1) money
    2) reward
    3) fun
    4) play
    5) something u like doing
    6) s.m.a.r.t. goals
    7) realism
    8) mental contrasting

  20. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜ โ‹† ๏ผ‘๏ผ• ๏ผญ๏ฝ‰๏ฝŽ๏ฝ•๏ฝ”๏ฝ…๏ฝ“sss ๐™Š๐™› ๐™ˆ๐™š๐™™๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๏ฝŽ ๐™„๐™ฃ ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜ ๐™€๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง๐™ฎ๐™™๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™’๐™ž๐™ก๐™ก ๐˜ฝ๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™”๐™ค๐™ช ๐™€๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง๐™ฎ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™”๐™ค๐™ช ๏ผท๏ฝ๏ฝŽ๏ฝ”ย  ๐ŸŽ€ ๏ผ >>ฤฑ87

  21. Video Summary-
    1) Rewards are good motivators, but ineffective when taken away
    2) 'Play' and 'just for fun' are more effective for achieving long-term goals
    3) Be optimistic but also acknowledge obstacles- 'mental contrasting'
    4) Recognize that the path to success is never entirely smooth- don't think that all efforts have gone to waste after 1 cheat day

  22. Everytime I say "wow I just got this great idea for a game imma go make it" I make the game, but after 30 seconds I'm like "to hell with this I'll finish it later (never)" ;-;

  23. Yep Iโ€™ve already decided itโ€™s not gonna be the best day… Iโ€™m knackered ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

  24. New years resolution r junk all we need to do is discipline our slefs we all know being motivated is fine but once it's whereof it can be even hard to do simple work but having discipline makes everything easy which we can make into good habit๐Ÿ˜‰.

  25. My motivation always stick to me when its cold and raining, but if it is hot and sunny outside i always lose motivation… itโ€™s like Iโ€™m not inspired when its sunny…

  26. My best suggestion is to wake up early morning and drink a cup of coffee, then watch a good motivation video on YouTube like menstura's and then work out for around 45 minutes. After that you should feel super energetic and motivated throughout the day! You could also try nofap or Adderall if this doesn't work out for you. Have fun and acheive your dreams!

  27. I quit drugs and alcohol, felt fantastic. I actually liked sober life (1year sober). Like a stupid idiot, I got bored one day and thought โ€œ Iโ€™ll get myself 1 beer and thatโ€™s it.โ€ Iโ€™m back into my habit of doing drugs and alcohol every day. Once an addict always an addict. I will quit this while Iโ€™m still young and never again.

  28. Iโ€™m motivated because I donโ€™t want to get left behind by my peers or people younger then me. I want to achieve higher than others so if they do better than me I naturally start doing better to best that person.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top