They may mean their mood on any particular day. They may mean will power. They may mean their energy level, or their level of frustration. They may mean their underlying reason for learning a language. They may be referring to the tricks they have to get themselves to overcome some inner resistance (as in “I must motivate myself!”).
So what do I mean? All of the above? Some of them? None of them?
I guess that when I use the word motivation, I’m referring to that certain something that you need to keep an eye on.
Motivation for me is something that changes over time. You have a sense of your level of motivation. You know that if you let it get too low, you’re in danger of quitting.
So for me, motivation needs to be monitored. It is itself a monitor. It’s like one those life-or-death instruments on the panel of an aircraft.
Grade your motivation level—whatever it may be—out of 10 on a daily basis. Plot it on a graph. If it dips below, oh I don’t know, five or six, then you know you have a problem.
You ought to lean back, catch your breath, and figure out what’s wrong, and what you need to do.
Don’t PRESS ahead. Cut yourself some slack instead. Don’t risk stalling. Keep the long-term goal in mind.