Defining Motivation - The Relationship Between Motivation and Behavior
Motivation comes from internal and external sources. An internal source of motivation may be a need to accomplish a task to personal satisfaction, while an external motive might be the offer of a promotion for a job well done. Motivation is a move to action with the goal of fulfilling a goal or desire. According to Deckers (2011), “motivation is the impetus or reason for doing the behavior; it initiates the action (p, 7).
A move to action may require a person to believe they possess the knowledge and competence to achieve a task (Deckers, p.7).Conversley, if motivation is not present to begin with, no amount of knowledge or competency will make a difference. Motivation can be drawn from numerous sources. The motivation to eat is generally a biological need for food, although psychological motivation may be the desire to meet a friend for dinner and be satisfied not just by act of eating, but also by fulfilling the need for association. Unfortunately, eating when depressed usually occurs alone. Obesity is a common secondary problem associated with depression, and eating disorders can easily begin with binge eating when a person has isolated themselves from friends and family.
The need for association is a strong motivator in many different situations, and personality traits can also play a role in motivation. For example, extraverts may be happier to work out in a gym (Lewis and Sutton, p. 84). Some people trying to lose weight might prefer to exercise alone, while others are more likely to go walking, jogging, or to the gym, if they do so in the company of a workout buddy.
The article on extrinsic and intrinsic motivation further states that, intrinsic motivation is seen in fully self-determined individuals: their motivation for particular behaviors is a fully integrated part of their sense of self and they take part in exercise because they find it inherently enjoyable. Extrinsic motivation is more instrumental; the activities are engaged in because of some desired end result rather than for the satisfaction of the activity itself (Lewis and Sutton, 2001).
Atkinson, J. W., & Raphelson, A. C. (1956). Individual Differences in Motivation and Behavior in Particular
Situations. Journal of Personality, 24(4), 349. doi:10.1111/1467-6494.ep8930761
Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental
(3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
Lewis, M., & Sutton, A. (2011). Understanding Exercise Behaviour: Examining the Interaction of Exercise Motivation
and Personality in Predicting Exercise Frequency. Journal of Sport Behavior, 34(1), 82-97. Retrieved from