Self-motivation is important for achieving success in work and personal life. A well-accepted explanation of human behavior is that people have needs and motives propelling them toward achieving certain goals. The central idea behind need theory is that unsatisfied needs motivate us until they become satisfied. After satisfaction of one need, the person usually pursues satisfaction of another, higher need.
Work and personal life offer the opportunity to satisfy many different needs and motives. Among the more important needs and motives are achievement, power, affiliation, recognition, and order. The need for risk taking and thrill seeking is also important for some people. Generational differences in needs have been observed, such as older people placing a higher value on security and younger people placing a higher value on risk taking.
According to Maslow's need hierarchy, people have an internal need pushing them on toward self-actualization. However, needs are arranged into a five-step ladder. Before higher-level needs are activated, certain lower-level needs must be satisfied. In ascending order, the groups of needs are physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization (such as self-fulfillment).
Need theory helps in self-motivation. First identify which needs you want to satisfy and then focus your efforts on an activity that will satisfy those needs.
Goals are valuable because they (1) focus effort in a consistent direction, (2) improve your chances for success, and (3) improve motivation and satisfaction. One explanation for the contribution of goals is that they create a discrepancy between what individuals have and what they aspire to achieve. Self-dissatisfaction with this discrepancy serves as an incentive to achieve. Goals also create a state of arousal that readies people for accomplishment.