In this blog series, ‘Motivational theories’, we will be taking a look at a selection of perspectives and theories on motivation in an attempt to understand why we do the things we do. Where possible and/or relevant, links to exercise, health and fitness will be made. The following theories will be covered:
Before taking a closer look at the first theory (instinct theory) lets first consider the following “why” questions…
There is a simple answer to each one of these questions. That answer is MOTIVE. You see, YOU NEVER JUST DO SOMETHING FOR THE SAKE OF IT. Although it may feel as though you sometimes do things for no apparent reason there is actually a motive behind every behaviour or action you carry out.
A motive can be looked at in many ways, depending on the theory or perspective that is being taken into account. Some theories would describe a motive as a drive, a want, an interest or a desire. Other theories would describe a motive more as a habit or compulsion, and others still might call it a belief, an instinct or the result of needing to meet basic needs. Other reasons such as selflessness or selfishness, morality and the avoidance of death or harm also provide some perspective on motives.
However you describe it, these reasons or motives are what propel you towards a specific direction and prompt you to take action. In short, motives are the driving force behind everything you do. Given their importance then, it is surprising that we’re often oblivious to the things that motivate us to take action.
To try and gain some understanding as to why we are driven by factors that we aren't necessarily aware of, we will be taking a closer look at some of the more common theories and perspectives on motivation. Where possible, links to exercise-related themes have been made.
As you will see many of the motivational theories share similar concepts and themes. The main variant amongst the theories is the emphasis placed on either biological (nature) or environmental (nurture) factors as the driving motivational force. Most include elements of both nature and nurture; however one theory, 'Instinct theory', completely emphasises nature or biological factors as the force behind motivation. With this said, the first motivational theory being examined will be Instinct theory.
Continued in part 2 - Instinct theory