Just Curious

Hey, Siestas! I have a question rolling around in my mind and I’d love to throw it to my favorite community. Here goes:

What motivates you most effectively?

That’s it. Pure and simple.

Ground rules:
*You can only name one kind of motivation. Think of the one that tends to work on you more often than the others.

*You are asked to name your real, live most effective motivator and not the one you wish you had. (You may honestly respond best to a healthy motivator and, if so, say so! But, if the truth is, you are more often effectively motivated by something negative, please also say so.)

This hint might be of help to some of you as you roll the question around in your sweet head: Think back on times of substantial and lasting change in your life. What motivated the real change? (Of course, we all know that, ultimately, the Holy Spirit brings about transformation, but what did He use???)

You bless me to no end. Watching for your responses!


1,127 Responses to “Just Curious”

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  1. 1
    Suzanne says:

    Verbal affirmation. Works like gangbusters! If you tell me I’m good at something, I’ll work ten times harder to be even better. I’m an affirmation addict!

  2. 2
    Gloria says:

    Unfortunately, guilt and people pleasing tendencies are the two biggest motivators in my life.

  3. 3
    mariel says:

    seeing results motivates me most…whether in scripture memory, seeing lives changed, weight loss, healthy eating…whatever…I am most motivated to stick it out when I SEE RESULTS! Then it feels more “worth it”.

  4. 4
    Cindy says:

    My main motivator would probably be control. I hate to give up or give in to most situations. Sometimes the controlling side of me works but often it doesn’t. Just 2 minites ago I prayed with one of my girls over the phone to give up something to the Lord. That He alone will control the outcome not either one of us. I pray daily that I let Him have the control not me! I guess I need to pray for a different motivator too!!

  5. 5
    DeLynn says:

    Motivator: Doing the right thing

  6. 6
    shannon says:

    Lots of theing being the kind of person my mother would be proud of (even though she’s been with the LORD for over 13 years) being a good parent, a good wife. If someone says something negative about me I try live so no one will believe it or if someone says something positive to me I want to live up to it. I’m a dental hygientist and I always try and remind myself-what if I were working on Jesus? and of course at the end of it all I want to hear “well done good and faithful servant.”

  7. 7
    Leah Adams says:

    Honestly? A deadline is my best motivator. Not sure what that says about me, but I work much better having a drop-dead date/deadline.

  8. 8
    Kim says:

    First thing that popped into my head was: Need…when I see that what I’m doing is really “needed,” I’m motivated to reach out, get up, go do.

    When you asked about lasting change in my life though, I hesitated, but it’s actually the same. Lasting change came because I finally saw it was “needed”. I agreed…finally…with God. He was right. Change was needed.

  9. 9
    Cindy says:

    I hate to admit it, but if I’m honest then my answer is getting noticed and/or recognition. For someone to notice an accomplishment or a change and to say “well done” or “thank you” or whatever is appropriate for the occasion.

  10. 10
    Melissa says:


  11. 11
    Sarah M says:

    Passion. When I’m passionate about whatever it is I’m doing, I do it to the very best of my ability and spend as much time as is needed to get it done.

  12. 12
    Emily says:

    The times in my life where I’ve had real change was when I was motivated by disgust. That is, I got so sick and tired of whatever it was that was bogging me down, that I finally did something about it.

  13. 13
    amybhill says:

    my little girls. pre-mommy amy is an entirely different person from post-momm amy. i was a christian before i became a mother, but God used motherhood in a MAJOR way to get my priorities in order and motivate me. i seriously cry almost every time i recall how the Lord spoke to me through Genesis 5:21-24. i believe enoch is a biblical example of how God uses parenthood to change people, and i am SO thankful He does.

    if you mean from a preaching standpoint though – i respond best to what i call “jillian michaels’ motivation” – in my face, no nonsense, get to work, this isn’t a joke, don’t waste your life – kind of preaching. nothing jazzes me more than someone who gets “real” with me.

  14. 14

    fear of letting someone down.

  15. 15
    Laurie says:

    Desire to live my very best life and reach the potential I have been given. I’ve experienced how good it feels to be effective and it scares me to think of living a mediocre life.

  16. 16
    Allison B says:

    Definitely a deadline — for some reason, I don’t manage my time well without a framework/structure.

  17. 17
    Amy Beth says:

    At the university I work at, we do this strengths test which names your top five strengths. “Significance” is at the top of mine and, even though it is listed as a strength, it can easily be a “strength” I don’t want to have! ๐Ÿ™‚ Basically, it means that I want to feel significant when I’m doing something. I’ve been told that it isn’t bad to have this strength, but I just know myself too well to know how it can be manipulated to where I “need” to feel significant to people, organizations, etc.

    I have no research to back this up, but I wonder if our greatest motivators aren’t tied to our formative years? It could go either way, good motivators or bad motivators. For me, I’m fairly certain that the reason significance is such a huge motivator for me is because I grew up truly not feeling significant to the people in my immediate family. I don’t think anyone meant for me to grow up that way; there was just too much brokenness in my home for any adult to make a child feel significant.

    • 17.1
      Beth says:

      Good insight, Amy Beth!

    • 17.2
      Michele says:

      I think you have something there. I know I try hard at things like studies & sports because I want approval or validation from others. And yes, that is where I got approval from my parents when I was a kid. No love or acceptance just for being you, only money when I got A’s.

      I remember when I got my first varsity letter in high school. I said out loud to myself, “Now I’m somebody.”

      • Heather says:

        I can so relate, Amy and Michele. Affirmation, approval, and feeling significant are my biggest motivators. Fear is a close second.

  18. 18
    Amanda says:

    If I answer based on what motivated me in an area of lasting change, it would be that I got really tired of being angry. Really tired of it. I was tired of living that way. Not to say it doesn’t creep in still, but there was genuine change and freedom over the course of some years. I felt as if I could breathe again.

    And I’d say “gettin’ mad” still is a pretty good motivator:) But mad at the right things these days, thanks to Jesus!

  19. 19
    Dori says:

    Procrastination! Shame on me, but I tend to leave things until the last minute and then I have to “get it done”. The thing is, it somehow seems to work and I don’t get stressed about things. I feel as though sometimes we spend too much time on things when less is sometimes more.

  20. 20
    Nucole says:

    People. Relationships. Accountability.
    A friend who completely pursued me and that is how I came to the Lord.
    A friend who works out/trains me has helped me tremendously in my exercise life ๐Ÿ™‚
    Siesta Scripture Memory…I do so much better knowing all of u are there with me!
    I’m a people person and I’m always more motivated to do something with a friend!

  21. 21
    Ashley Mays says:

    Progress! If I can’t see any change between Point A and Point B, then I’m not very likely to keep trying. I need to see growth. Whether it’s exercise, vacuuming the floor, or writing a book, I need to see that it’s going somewhere!

  22. 22
    Dana says:

    Positive words…sincere ones. If I am feeling like I’ve done something incredibly wonderful and others agree then I’m on cloud nine and want to give it all I’ve got. If I think someone is giving me lip service (complimenting me on a job well done just so they don’t have to do it or they are being fake) it just eats at me, and I remember the negative words F-O-R-E-V-E-R!

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Carol says:

    I love what Mariel said: seeing results is a great motivator. We live in a house that needed lots of updates (still does!)when we bought it. When I see that things are getting accomplished, it inspires me to keep on working knowing that the end result will be worth the effort.

  25. 25
    Amber says:


  26. 26
    Tammy Dodson says:

    The biggest motivator for my life is being in the presence of (usually) elderly saints in Christ who’s lives are so filled with the “fruits of the Spirit” that they actually “provoke me to jealousy”! I so desire to have the peace and wisdom that seems to permeate from their very inner being that I dig deeper in my relationship with the Lord.

  27. 27
    Shannon says:

    Two things motivate me(and in this order): Affirmation/Recognition and Results! One, the other or BOTH just makes it all worth it for me!

  28. 28
    Anne says:

    Verbal affirmation. I dislike that about myself, but verbal affirmation is what motivates me more than anything else. I’m 34 years old, happily married to an awesome dude and raising three beautiful kids and I still get fired up when my mom or dad says, “Good job!”

    • 28.1
      Beth says:

      I get that, Anne! It’s so incredibly weird when both your parents are gone and your tireless cheerleaders leave the field.

      • Martha Helen says:

        wow.. never thought of it that way before. makes me want to sob and run and tell my parents today how MUCH i adore them! i want to be their tireless cheerleader.

      • Yanna Westmoreland says:

        Beth your tireless cheerleaders have not left the field, you just don’t hear it verbally enough. Look at our faces, feel our tears, and know we cheer you to our family, friends, anyone that takes a breath. I am one of your number one cheerleaders and I stand now and say “good job” Beth!!! Two bits for bits….then the best all around cheerleader will be the day you hear “Well done good and faithful servant.” I love you Beth thank you for your faith.

    • 28.2
      Yanna Westmoreland says:

      Good Job Anne!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 28.3
      Rhonda says:

      My parents died when I was 27…….20 years ago. Now I too have a wonderful husband, 5 beautiful children and yet I do miss the faithful encouraging words I used to hear from my mom and dad.
      And this loss does motivate me to be the best mom I can be while I’m here ๐Ÿ™‚
      God is good!!

  29. 29
    Hannah says:

    Just loving Jesus and not wanting to miss what He has is my biggest motivator! The good, mundane, bad, sad or ugly- He’s been in it all as I let his life in me take me places I’ve never been or even wanted to go at first :).

  30. 30
    Robin says:

    A plan…once I have a plan in place it is easier to work towards the outcome. Just seeing the plan unfold and executed is a reward unto itself.

  31. 31
    Amy says:

    What an interesting question! I wish I could honestly say I am motivated by the Holy Spirit, but in most cases my motivation is stronly tied to pleasing others or gaining affirmation from those I look to please.

  32. 32
    Megan G says:

    for me I have come to realize that my desire to be important is what motivates me… and it gets me into a lot of trouble. I take extra projects on b/c I think if I do others will think I’m important, and the vicious cycle continues.

  33. 33
    April says:

    Positive, heartfelt, encouragement.

    Currently working on losing a large amount of weight and have had several (well meaning idiots!) people feel that criticizing me will motivate me. All that motivates me to do is grab some BlueBell! ๐Ÿ˜›

    • 33.1
      amybhill says:

      (sadly) i think sometimes people want you to fail. maybe they are jealous or maybe your success forces them to acknowledge their own failures… i don’t know. we all have issues. in any event, keep up the good work april! i am sure you are doing great! losing weight is hard work but totally worth the results. i speak from experience <3

    • 33.2
      Karen says:

      April, me too! I am in the same boat right now. If you want to buddy up or just want someone to talk to send me a note. If not, that’s fine too.

  34. 34
    Catherine says:


  35. 35
    jan says:

    Praise from others. YUK! I wish this were not true.

  36. 36
    BJ says:


    Currently, the fear of not doing well is motivating me to study for finals.

    The fear of becoming overweight has motivated me to exercise, be healthy.

    The fear of losing valuable friendships has motivated me to be more forgiving and graceful.

    For better or for worse, fear motivates me in a way most things don’t.

  37. 37
    Twila says:

    Improvement I guess would be my motivator. I stay pretty discliplined in most areas of my life with the Holy Spirit constantly working on me to be a better person.

    The Holy Spirit gave me a wake up call almost 10 years ago and the motivator was doing bible study. Absolutely saved my life! Thank you Beth.

  38. 38
    Julie Marler says:

    I would say lots and lots of lavish love! My love language is definitely words of affirmation! However, it seems as the wife, mom, and grandmother – I really don’t receive that much. It’s almost like it’s expected for the matriarch to do all the cooking, shopping, planning, etc. I love it – but they would be astonished at how much more they would get if someone came and gave me a big ole hug and told me how much they loved me and appreciated it all. Just sayin’

  39. 39
    Marina says:

    That’s an easy one – although it doesn’t usually FEEL like an easy one: pain. I’ve heard it said again and again that it’s God’s way of getting my attention. It works. Like a charm. Thankfully, my threshold for pain is ever lowering. He’s good like that. Thanks!

  40. 40
    Marty says:


  41. 41
    Jordan says:

    Writing… or blogging. Once I start writing, answers come to me, things start making sense and I am able to piece it all together.

  42. 42
    dj says:

    Biggest motivator…feeling loved. I think stemming from a childhood where love was not always felt…whether it is the Love of God, my husband, my son it motivates me to care and love on others as well.
    Great question Beth!

  43. 43
    Buffy says:

    A deadline! I will do it, and do it WELL(!) – but I will not do it till a deadine is staring me in the face….. Ugh.

  44. 44
    Melissa says:

    Prophetic word and a challenging friend.

  45. 45
    Tricia says:

    My motivator’s are fear, people pleasing and control…yuck! Oh and toss into that salad pride..super yuck!

  46. 46
    Michele says:

    I’m just not motivated to answer this question.


    In terms of an influence that causes change, I’d say mine is pain. Even dysfunction or isolation can make you feel secure if that’s all you’ve ever known. So when I am in enough pain and cannot take it anymore, that motivates me outside my comfort zone to change.

  47. 47
    boomama says:

    Feeling like whatever I’m doing matters.

    I’m so uneven / inconsistent with the day-to-day stuff that I tend to characterize as “mundane” – but if I know what I’m doing will help somebody / encourage somebody / make somebody proud (just being honest) / serve a greater good, I’m the most obnoxiously gung-ho person you’ve ever seen.

    Also: I am a person who needs a deadline. Nothing like a due date to motivate the fire out of me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. 48
    Jill Wondel says:

    It seems like I only really change once I’ve been able to make up my mind and heart that change needs to happen – and it can’t just be a willful choice to change – that doesn’t last, but I guess somehow my heart changing to believe that whatever it is will be best. Still haven’t figured out how to cause that to happen. =)

  49. 49
    Julia McKenzie says:

    My greatest motivator has been love. I remember when I had an addiction to cigarettes. Nothing helped (I was not a Christian yet). I found out I was pregnant with my first child and I have never smoked again and she is now 25 years old. I also went through some very serious marital problems and if it wasn’t for love, especially Christ’s love, I would not be married today.

  50. 50
    Amy says:

    This might sound a little odd, but… simply knowing that something is POSSIBLE. Usually through an example of some sort. This has worked negatively and positively for me in the past. Negatively, as when I learned that there were kids who woke up cranky, and thereafter became a cranky morning person, and positively, as when I learned someone had gotten victory in a battle against ___, and was encouraged to find it for myself.

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