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Motivation Research: The Power Of Human Engagement

By September 14, 2016Blog
engagement and motivation research

In this ever evolving world we are experiencing more changes in our lifetime than ever before and a greater number of changes require greater adaptability.  Gone are the days of heavily set gender roles.  Gone are the days, for most, of staying in one job for one company for one’s entire career.

Maybe you are looking to change your career for some reason or maybe you’ve had children and after time at home are looking to embark upon a new career.  It can all be very daunting for some and consequently some people remain where they are for perhaps too long resulting in low moods and depression.  Such negative consequences inevitably affect one’s partner and/or family and the ripple effect can begin to envelop us in such a way that we can begin questioning our relationships and ourselves.

If you want to embark upon a path of great change, emotional support from your partner or someone else if you’re single, is extremely powerful.  It helps us in a multitude of ways including:

  • holding ourselves accountable to someone for constantly progressing forwards;
  • having someone as a sounding board to help us clarify our thoughts and intended actions;
  • having someone to demonstrate their belief in you when your self-belief is taking a dip.

Motivation Research On School Children

Interestingly, research on school students’ relationships revealed that students are less likely to drop out of school and more likely to feel positive about school when they have ongoing relationships with teachers.  In one study cited by Susan Headden and Sarah McKay in their 2015 report published on the Carnegie Foundation’s website, chronically-absent students were paired with a mentor for two years as part of a programme to help build these students’ attendance and engagement.  The results indicated that by the end of the two-year programme “…about 40 percent were engaged in and regularly attending school— a 135 percent improvement over baseline behavior. Incidence of tardiness also declined dramatically.”

Wow!  A big improvement.  Though this study was done on young school children, it’s probably fair to expect some of these same effects in the adult world.  When people show they care for us, at a very basic level it suggests that we must be worthy of that care and could thus influence how we then go on to care for ourselves.

Messages we absorb about ourselves are very powerful.  If our spouse emotionally supports us in reaching a stated goal by suggesting to us that they believe in us and want to help us, then we are ushered towards self-belief and motivated behaviours, goal-seeking behaviours.

If Your Spouse Isn’t Supporting You

If your spouse isn’t supporting you, ask them what would need to happen in order for them to support you.  Their response may shed some light on their reasons for being unsupportive.

  • Maybe they did not realise you were looking for support prior to you asking the question.
  • Maybe they have seen you toy around with so many ideas and are waiting to see you progress one idea before they become invested in helping you along your path.
  • Maybe they’ve gotten so caught up in their own goals and desires that they’ve overlooked the importance of supporting you.

Let your spouse know that if they can engage with you by supporting you in your quest, you’ll feel more motivated to work through the obstacles and have greater resolve to achieve the changes you’re seeking.

If You’ve Realised Your Spouse Is Floundering And Wants Your Support

If you’ve come to the realisation that your spouse is unhappy with their life and wants to make some changes, help them.

  • Help them to clarify what sort of changes they want to bring about.
  • Engage them in conversations that help them to find the answers for themselves so that they feel empowered and so that they are achieving what they want to achieve, not what you think they want to achieve or should achieve.
  • Check in with them every so often at a pace that feels right for them (ask them when they’d like a follow-up chat).
  • Use motivating sentiments such as, “I believe you can do it”, “You’ll find the answers if you keep searching”, “I want you to make choices that make you happy”, “I’m here to help you whenever you need it”, “You deserve to be incredibly happy”, “I’m really proud of all the progress you’re making” and so on. Always be genuinely uplifting because fake sentiments will only mean that your power as spouse to engage and uplift will be severely handicapped.

Spouses are our teammates for life which means it is our duty to support and protect one another wherever appropriate.  When you do, you both reap rewards and when you don’t, you both reap dissatisfaction.

If you and your partner are not married but intend to be, or never intend to marry but do want to spend your life together, the above still applies.  If you do not have anyone in your personal life who can provide such support, no friends or family, it is worth considering which professionals may be able to mentor or coach you along your journey so that they too can help you to hold yourself accountable, gain clarity and develop self-belief.  Like the children in the study mentioned above, humans who have a genuine desire to achieve a goal, tend to be greater motivated when they receive healthy messages about their worth and engaged support from well-meaning people.  There is something magical about the power of human relationships and they often assist us in seeing ourselves as others see us, even when we have lost sight of ourselves.