How to Get Motivated and Reach Your Goals

In the 1950-60’s the American Psychologist, Frederick Herzberg, set out to determine what motivated employees to work. This is what he discovered.

~700 words, 4 mins

In the 1950-60’s the American Psychologist, Frederick Herzberg set out to determine what motivated employees to work.

He discovered one set of factors that affected job satisfaction and a completely different set of factors that caused job dissatisfaction. In other words, fixing factors that affect job dissatisfaction does not mean that employees will then be satisfied with their work.

So what are these factors?

“Motivation Factors” Leading to Job Satisfaction

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Challenging work
  • Responsibility
  • Getting promoted

“Hygiene Factors” leading to Job Dissatisfaction

  • Company policies
  • Supervision
  • Work conditions
  • Salary and benefits
  • Job security

So if you ask someone what they hate about their job, they’ll probably grumble about issues such as low pay and bad management. But even if you’ve got the best boss and a killer income, it won’t motivate you to work harder. According to Herzberg, this can only be achieved by having work that challenges and interests you.

Let’s look at each motivation factor in turn.


If you’ve ever set yourself a goal you’ll know how good it feels when you’ve accomplished it. But sometimes having a big goal can seem overwhelming and when it’s too big or seems too far away then you’ll probably never get the motivation to start. That’s why it’s important to start small. To master anything takes time but once you’ve taken that first step you’re on your way. Let’s say your goal is to be more organized. Your first step could be something as simple as making your bed every morning. Mark McMcormack in his best selling book “What They don’t teach you at Harvard Business school wrote” When you walk into an office that looks disorgainsed you start to feel disorgainsed” This holds true for any area of your life be it your home, car, office, garage and even your personal appearance.


Getting recognition for the work we do helps us to feel competent. We will accept a compliment and praise from someone else but it’s much harder to give ourselves credit. If you’ve done something you’re proud of give yourself a reward.

Take exercising for example. I have always tried to keep myself fit but some days I’m just not feeling it. The way I’ve found to get round this is by downloading an episode of my favourite Netflix show to watch while I’m running those pounds off. I’d feel guilty about binge watching these shows at home but if I’m running (okay, jogging 😏 ) at the same time I have no guilt and I actually look forward to going to the gym.

Challenging work

We all have room to improve and to do this you need to get out of your comfort zone. Why not set aside a specific time to work on improving yourself. This could be by learning a new skill, starting an exercise regime, volunteering in your community. The possibilities are endless.


Start taking ownership of what you do and be willing to accept criticism. You can often learn a lot if you’re willing to just listen and not take things personally. You don’t have to accept everything someone tells you but learn from your mistakes. It’s okay to fail if you’re willing to try again.

Getting promoted

If you’re stuck in a rut doing the same thing year after year it might be time to take to some action. Work out where you want to be in the next five years and set small goals that you know you can achieve to get there. Small steps can make big changes. In his book “The Magic of thinking Big” the author suggests using a set of questions to work out what your goals should be. Think about what standard of living you want, what level of income you expect, where you want to go on vacation, what kind of friends to you want. It’s much easier to come up with a plan if you know where you want to end up.

If you need to get motivated try making some small changes to kickstart good habit. Reward yourself for your achievements and start doing more of the things that make you feel good.

"How to Get Motivated and Reach Your Goals" was last updated:
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Written by Sarah Bushnell Sarah is a software tester and writer from Warrington, Cheshire in the U.K. She graduated in Law and General Studies from the University of Bolton and has worked for Tudutu Ltd for over 10 years. She enjoys reading and has a passion for learning about personal productivity in the home and every-day life.