Almost all of us have an instance in our lives when we suffered from lack of motivation to complete a task. During these horrible moments of procrastination, most of us have searched for different ways to motivate ourselves on the internet, tried a few of them and found out that most information is unhelpful. Based on that here are some of the worst advice we’ve ever heard about motivation:

1. Money is the ultimate reward

Many people suggest that thinking about the opportunity cost of not complete a certain task will motivate you – but this is not always true. Money isn’t always the greatest motivator. Sure, fair and competitive compensation are incentives in recruiting workers and ensuring delivery of tasks, but it isn’t always the best motivator. In fact a study found that 72% of surveyed people said that they would put more effort into their work if their managers better recognized them, implying that recognition is a better motivator.

2. Fear factor

Fear might work as a great motivator in the operand conditioning sense when mice in a cage are given negative reinforcement (such as an electrical shock) upon pressing the wrong button, but for humans this might not always be the case. Though fear might motivate your employees in the short run, in the long run fear can be more damaging than rewarding. Fear can create a stressful environment and be counterproductive with the employees. At times fear might result in employees quitting their job. Make sure you give constructive criticism and avoid lashing out.

3. One trick fits all

One of psychology’s key branches of study is ‘individual differences’ – a topic where people’s individuality and uniqueness is stressed. This branch also stresses the fact that one piece of advice will not work the same way on everybody. For example, some people might thrive on negative reinforcement (giving them punishment for making a mistake) while others might thrive on positive reinforcement (giving them punishment would only lead them to making more mistakes in the future). You will have to personalize motivation and make it person specific for better results.

4. Setting unrealistic goals

It is important to set realistic goals to ensure motivation is unhindered. Setting unrealistic goals increase anxiety and when you do not meet the goal you might end up feeling more exhausted less motivated. People who work hard to meet the unrealistic goal will end up feeling like failures while the lazy ones might not even attempt to complete it. In psychology terms, unrealistic goals act as negative reinforcement for us, which never helps with motivation. For example, if you haven’t worked out in a long time, an unrealistic goal would be to work out one hour every day, whereas a realistic goal would be to ease in by targeting to work out 2 days a week for 30 minutes. Set realistic goals for constant positive reinforcement and motivation.

5. Fantasizing about success

This is the piece of advice that all unrealistic optimists love to hand out. But it does not work as well as they might think it does. Believing that success will happen to you and only fantasizing about it will leave you with less time to realize your success. Researchers have found that it is better to visualize the steps to make success happen and honestly assess the obstacles you may encounter. It’s good to be an optimist and dream, just make sure you map through the steps to achieve them to realize your dreams.

It is important to stay motivated and work hard to achieve your goals. Just make sure you stay away from counterproductive advice and create a clear path towards your goals.

Don’t let anyone you know fall into the trap. Share this article with the links below to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes.