Be it weight loss, or trying to form a new habit, or trying to abolish a bad one: you must have noticed one thing. If you know other people who are aspiring or have achieved the same goal as you are on the path of, the levels of motivation are always different.
- Some people start off with great pomp and shore but fizzle out somewhere along the line.
- Others begin moderately and then pick up the pace.
- Still others begin slow but get really enthusiastic as they start achieving success.
- There may also be some who start itself half-heartedly, and may have given up at the next turn.
And these are only some of the permutations and combinations.
So, what is it that causes people to be differently motivated?
Is there a different type of motivation to initiate something?
And another type to maintain it?
Within the field of psychology, huge amounts of research have gone into motivation. It turns out that there are myriad numbers of factors that lead the greater or lesser motivation, and initiated and maintained motivation. These factors can be:
- Interactional factors
Personal factors would consider aspects like our temperament, biological make-up, certain psychosocial variables, personality, what kind of patterns we have solidified due to our upbringing, what sort of friends we have, what sort of multimedia material we engage with and many such factors. Basically, these are all the factors that we use to inform ourselves and form patterns of reacting to the environment. Therefore, if a person suffers from a very debilitating disorder, their motivation to become an athlete would obviously waiver.
Situational factors are attributed to presence or absence of cues and factors in the environment that may help us hinder or pursue the goal. For example, availability of junk food in the environment may hinder the goal of healthy eating, while an incentive-based system at work may push employees to do their best. These are present or absent in the situation or situations in which the person is seeking to make the change.
Interactional factors are the effects of interaction of personal and situational factors. For example, someone with high-self esteem getting a lot of extrinsic motivation from the situation in the form of encouraging friends and family is much likely to achieve the goal they sought. Therefore, we do not exist in a vacuum.
That said; is motivation a product of destiny or uncontrollable factors?
As it turns out - no it isn’t. Miller and Rollnick have worked extensively with people who had addiction problems in order to boost their motivation to quit the drug.
They believe that there are 5 stages of change:
Being stuck in a stage is a product of ambivalence: the situation, though not the best, does have some benefits, which is why we choose to stay there.
The key: resolve ambivalence. Convince yourself constantly that change is better than status quo – not just at the start, but every day of the process.
Please feel free to ask questions and post comments.