Motivation Direction

Goal Setting Motivation Theory – Focusing on What You Want

Setting goals to increase productivity has a long and well-known history. Frederick Taylor used goal setting motivation theory as part of “Scientific Management”. Other researchers such as Dr Edwin Locke and Gary P Latham have found that motivation overall increases by setting clear specific goals with immediate feedback.

Our brains clearly work using feed-forward processes. Our dopamine fueled reward pathways move us toward pleasure seeking. It reinforces us for learning, for unexpected gains and exploring where a gain might be.

Our brain also works strongly as an anti problem device. Our Amygdala uses fear to get us to pay attention to anything new, scary or out of place.

One of these processes will dominate at any one time. NLP calls a goal setting orientation toward motivation direction. It calls an anti problem orientation Away From Motivation direction.

As a preference, we tend toward using toward or away from more often. Like all Meta programs, this is contextual. We might be more goal oriented at work and more problem oriented at home or vice versa.

Toward Motivation Direction

gold-ingotsPeople who move toward what they want focus on the possibilities and visions of the future. They are achievers who are oriented to the future. They think of challenges as goals to achieve, and excited and energized by them. They are good at organizing priorities and staying focused (unless some better “opportunity” comes along).


The downside is they don’t necessarily recognize obstacles or know what they should avoid. They are generally poor at considering the consequences. This makes sense if you consider they discount or ignore possible problems.

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