Looking to reach your full potential? There’s no secret that your results in life are often in direct proportion to the efforts you put forth, and it is at this precise juncture where motivation is key. Simply put, motivated people engage in the activities necessary to help them perform their best. The problem, however, is finding motivation to go beyond what the competition is doing, thereby allowing you to hit levels never before reached. Fortunately, this is where the field of psychology can help.
The power of an audience
Have you ever noticed that it’s real easy to cut corners in life when nobody is looking? When the boss isn’t around some workers will skip over parts of their job, and in the classroom it’s not uncommon to see students stop before finishing their assignments when there is no teacher watching. The reality is that when we are not held accountable, we become vulnerable to putting out mediocre efforts and quitting before completing goals and tasks.
Interestingly, some psychology research shows that the answer to the question of motivation might be something too simple to believe: Perform in front of an audience.
Studies show that when we engage in an activity and the only variable that is different is whether an audience (can be just one person) is present or not, subjects generally exert more effort and see better results when somebody is watching. This bump in motivation is likely due to a combination of A.) We can’t get away with not completing the task since someone is watching, and B.) We take pride in being able to successfully complete tasks, especially if we feel somebody else is sizing up our efforts.
Be creative with your training
If you are an athlete, especially during these unusual times relating to the pandemic, it may be challenging to quickly come up with a supporting group of people to keep you accountable. The good news, however, is that you really only need one person to help with accountability — and staying motivated to complete the task. If you are going for a run, doing sit ups/pushups, taking a hike, or jumping in for a swim, find a teammate or friend who can engage in the activity with you. If you’re like most people, you will quickly see the advantage of having someone train next to you who will keep your spirits high until you reach your end goal.
While it might be easy, sometimes too easy, to pull up early in an exercise or reading assignment when nobody is around, it’s equally as difficult to quit early when training or studying along with someone who appears to be watching your every move.