Motivation as defined in my book, p.1, is the “tendency to pursue, engage, and persist in activities related to your chosen interest and goals.”
The essence of motivation is composed of two equally important elements, direction and intensity of the effort a person puts forth to complete a given task. It is essential that both of these elements of motivation are fully acknowledged for their equal significance.
During a Los Angeles Lakers game, the announcer says, “I would like to see Kyle Kuzma put forth the same intensity on every defensive play.” In this example, the direction is fully pursued, hence he is playing basketball but he is not utilizing the second element 100%, intensity of effort.
A man decides to clean his garage on a Saturday afternoon, thus we have element 1 here, direction; he is pursuing, engaging, and directing his effort toward cleaning his garage. However, he makes progress for the first hour, then he gets distracted by a book that he finds and begins reading it, ultimately spending the Saturday afternoon in the back yard reading the book that he found. Obviously, he lacked intensity in terms of accomplishing his goal of cleaning his garage.
John needs to improve his math grade so he attends a study group, here we have direction indicating what is pursued, however he does not contribute much, plays on his phone, and seems disinterested; this behavior suggest how much effort John puts forth aka intensity.
Remember, the word motivation is derived from the Latin word “movere,” meaning “to move,” and describes the often powerful inner voice that activates you to direct your behavior in a specific way. However, as I point out above, it is essential to look at, and remain very aware of both aspects of motivation (direction and intensity) when you are goal planning!