All three can seem like good motivators at different times. But which one really works the best?


Fear can be a good motivator for accomplishing immediate tasks—hitting
a deadline so you don't get in trouble at work, say—but it's not a great life strategy.
"When you're motivated from a place of fear, there's always a part of you that's anxiously looking for the next danger," says Rachel S. Heslin, author of Navigating Life: 8 Different Strategies to Guide Your Way. "Regardless of how much you do, it will never be enough."

Positive Thinking

Both Heslin and Farkas agree that, when applied correctly, positivity is the best long-
term motivator. The key is having achievable goals, since positivity can be the most
fleeting and fickle ofthe three if you don't manage your expectations in a realistic way.
"When your goal seems very far away, it's easy to get discouraged," Heslin explains.


Anger can help you set concrete goals- e.g., losing weight after a breakup—says
psychologist Gabby Farkas. But only if you learn to identify why you're angry in
the first place, then set the appropriate goals to fix it: "Anger can be harder to
regulate than other negative emotions," says Farkas, explaining that it's easy to
get confused about what you're actually angry at and focus on the wrong things.

So Which Should You Use?

All three can work, so it really comes down to the situation you're in: What
needs to change, and how you intend to get there. "Consider the types of
motivation as they come to you," says Farkas. Your anger might get you into the
gym in the first place, but it may well be positivity that keeps you coming back.