Niha Zubair, Arivale Clinical Research Scientist, PhD
It’s human nature to respond to rewards. However, the dimensions and depths of rewards can vary incredibly from person to person. What motivates you may not be the same as what motivates your spouse, your kids or your best friend—despite having similar end goals.
That’s why, when it comes to goal setting, it’s crucial you have a deep understanding of what motivates you to move forward.
There are two main characteristics of motivation messages: how the message is framed and how the behavior is rewarded or reinforced.
Message framing focuses either on what is gained or on what is lost if you do or do not do a behavior. The way a behavior is rewarded or reinforced is linked to why you would continue to repeat a given behavior.
Are your rewards extrinsic and tangible like finances, grades or badges earned? Or are your rewards or intrinsic and intangible—such as those that are inherently enjoyable or provide you with a positive experience?
If you’re not sure what motivates you, try out a few of these example mindsets for size to see which one works best for you:
1. Gain-Framed and Intrinsic
Benefits of getting 7-9 hours of sleep: have more energy, better cognitive function, and improved mood.
2. Gain-Framed and Extrinsic
Benefits of getting 7-9 hours of sleep: lose and maintain a healthy weight, no bags under your eyes, more likely to get a raise and be more productive at work.
3. Loss-Framed and Intrinsic
Risks of not getting sufficient sleep: short temper, slower cognitive function, poor judgment and executive decision making, low energy.
4. Loss-Framed and Extrinsic
Risks of not getting sufficient sleep: weight gain, money lost due to slower performance, personal appearance suffers.
Now, we would be remiss if we stopped at this point. While fear (the loss of something) and money (extrinsic rewards) can be great motivators to get things started, they are not successful long-term game changers.
In other words, the extrinsic motivators might help you get out the door for one week of jogging but it is the intrinsic motivators that will carry you through the rigors of being a lifelong exerciser.
You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. So find what resonates with you most now and let your Arivale Coach know. The two of you can create a game plan to move you towards lifelong sustainable changes by changing the lens through which you view your behaviors and habits for the long term.
How are you motivated? How do you frame and reinforce your motivations? Tell us in the comments!