People get things done with motivation. Some people are more motivated than other people.

There are chemical mechanisms in the brain that could affect what motivates people and how motivated they are day to day.

What makes people motivated?

Robert West is a psychologist and professor of behavioral science and health at University College London.

He said there were a lot of things that motivated them. These can range from pleasurable experiences to more abstract desires like purpose or control. Love, power, belonging and recognition are some of the social motivators.

West said that each of us has different priorities at different stages of our lives.

Professor Robert West

Differences in motivation may be caused by chemical messengers in the brain. People were asked to play a math game with different levels of difficulty in order to get a monetary reward. The striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex are areas of the brain associated with reward and motivation. The anterior insula is a part of the brain that is responsible for emotion and perception.

3d illustration of neurons in the brain

(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to West, certain chemicals in the brain play a role in our experiences of desire and how we behave. Dopamine is released in a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which helps to teach us what to like and dislike.

Dopamine can be released to induce pleasure or in response to a reward, but it's not always true. An article in the journal Neuron found that this neurotransmitter encourages people to act before receiving a reward. Dopamine is released to get something good. Different people are motivated by different things because dopamine is released in different parts of the brain.

Some people are more persistent than others when it comes to achieving a goal due to differences in dopamine levels.

Can someone become more motivated?

Susan Michie is a professor of health psychology and director of the Centre for Behavior Change at University College London.

Change doesn't happen because a person feels highly motivated to change. It's not enough to feel good, it's important to translate that feeling into action. A person needs to have the skills to make things happen.

Professor Susan Michie

The intention-behavior gap can be closed. Making a plan is one of the things that include this. She said that sharing the plan can inspire someone to stick to it, as can doing the activity with someone or meeting someone afterwards to build social reward into the experience.

The study found that working as part of a group can motivate and improve performance in weaker members of the group. The belief that someone's effort is necessary for the group to succeed was thought to be the reason for this. It is not known how this affected the stronger members of the group.

Replacing an activity with something else can help motivate you.

She said that if a person wants to stop drinking alcohol, they need to think about what they can do instead.