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Forget all those thesis type definition of motivation sites that just end up getting you more confused. I have experienced the frustration of searching for a definition for motivation so I will save you the trouble.

Motivation is simply

The reason for an action
– That which gives purpose and direction to behaviour.

Motivation is “WHAT drives you” to behave in a certain way or to take a particular action. It is your WHY.


Your WHY is the strong reason for you to desire something. It is not what you desire, but the strong reason you desire it. Let me give an example. If you want to stop working and go into business for yourself here are some possible explanations:

Your desire – to have your own business.
Your WHY – to be independent, to have more time for your family, to have more time to pursue your dreams.

So you see that your WHY often goes beyond the physical objectives themselves. Your why often satisfies a psychological need. That is important. If your reason for doing something is just material (e.g. to own a Mercedes or have a huge house), it is unlikely to see you through the difficult times to achieving your dreams.

Your WHY has to look beyond the physical. It has to be from deep within. That way when the going gets tough, your WHY will see you through it because it is a strong, burning reason. It is a reason that will stand strong in the face of opposition.

Now you have a working definition of motivation. Let’s take the next step.


If your reason for wanting something is strong enough, even if at the time you don’t know how to achieve it, pursue it. It has often been said that when you desire something strongly enough the whole universe conspires to bring about the circumstances, people and resources you will need to achieve that purpose.

Step One – decide what you want.

Never mind how you are going to get it – decide what you want. Be as clear as possible on what you want. There will be more on this in a later section on setting goals. Write it down.

You must have a definition of motivation that is personal to you.

Step Two – Think about WHY you want it.

Remember these have to be strong reasons. Write them down.

By carrying out these two steps you will have sorted out your personal definition of motivation. Your WHY is your personal definition of motivation.

These are simple steps but I guarantee you if you do them you are well on your way to achieving your dreams. This is where a lot of people get stuck. They just don’t know what they want. But not YOU. You know whatyou want and you are ready to work to achieve it. If you know what you want, you are already a winner.