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How Can You Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior?

Behavior Change Hacks How To

How can you motivate yourself to change your behavior? Five steps that can assist in making behavioral change happen.

Struggling to change the way we want to is a common human experience. Many of the practical steps required aren’t easy or fun. This makes motivation a challenge. No matter our excuses – not enough time, not enough energy, not enough money – we often say to ourselves that ‘it’s too hard’, ‘I can’t be bothered’ or ‘I’m just not that motivated.’ 

Tali Sharot, an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London, suggests that instead of using warnings, we should implement three principles that really drive the mind and the behavior: social incentives, immediate rewards, and progress monitoring.  

We believe that if we scare people into an action, we can influence their behavior. However, in reality, this has little or no impact as we usually decide to shut down from the information told to us and make excuses in our minds. We seek positive actions wherever we can. We will always accept a better view on our futures over the negative. So, let’s see how you can  Use strategic rewards to boost willpower and perform at your best! 

Why Do We Crave Rewards?

Alexander Rothman’s theory of behavior maintenance suggests that your ability to maintain a positive behavior or habit is dependent on your perception of the benefits: 

Decisions regarding behavioral initiation are predicted to depend on favorable expectations regarding future outcomes, whereas decisions regarding behavioral maintenance are predicted to depend on perceived satisfaction with received outcomes. 

However, challenging and ambitious projects don’t always provide immediate rewards. Sometimes you even get negative feedback for prolonged periods. When we receive positive feedback, we become more motivated. And when our motivation increases, we perform better. It’s a cycle that feeds on itself. 

If we perceive the rewards resulting from a given behavior as insufficient, or if we receive negative feedback, we lose motivation. This lack of motivation might manifest itself as procrastination or a lack of energy. 

Awareness: The first thing to understand about behavioral change is that it’s hard.

In a recent TedX talk by Mel Robbins, an author, life coach, TV host and CNN commentator, she introduced the concept of activation energy as being the primary ingredient for behavioral change. In chemistry, activation energy refers to the least amount of energy required for a reaction to take place. Her point was, to create any kind of behavioral change requires more energy than to stay the same. She used the example that if you want to face activation energy head-on, start your day one hour earlier than you normally do. 

One first step toward changing behavior such as diet and exercise is accepting that it takes effort and energy to create new habits to replace old ones that are routine. 

Accountability: The good news about behavioral change is that day 100 is much easier than day one. Going into any change, such as losing 14 pounds, requires not only intentional energy but realistic expectations. Losing one pound a week as a target suggests it will take around 100 days to lose 14 pounds. 

Deciding to change behavior also requires clarity on your motivation. It may be to support your health by lowering your risk for chronic disease and to increase your level of energy so you’re able to play with your children. Such motivation is much more likely to work than simply saying you want to lose a few pounds. 

Having realistic expectations and clarity on your purpose can help make change possible. This can help fuel the activating energy required in the early days to do what’s required day after day to achieve your desired outcome. 

Action: Here are five steps that can assist in making behavioral change:

Define your desired outcome – Once you pick something you want to change, write out your goal in one simple, clear statement: “My goal is to lose 14 pounds.” Stick that note on your computer, so you can see it every day.

 Set realistic expectations for how long it will take to achieve your goal – Don’t look for immediate results. Set realistic expectations to prevent unwarranted judgment and frustration, as change takes time. So does moving from pushing oneself to do something that feels hard to transforming it into an easy and enjoyable daily habit.

Define why the goal is important to you – Be clear on your motivation that you can draw upon during those moments when you don’t feel like doing anything.

Build your action plan and implement it right away quickly – Once you decide to make change, get moving at it quickly. Determine your action plan and focus on what you’ll do and how you’ll do it. Measure your progress daily. 

Anticipate hard before easy – The excitement of abehavioralchange plan can wear off fast. Staying committed to dig down and push through with new behaviors can be hard. But as Ms. Robbins taught, likely not much harder than pushing yourself to wake up an hour early. There’s often no escaping the fact that we need to create more energy and internal drive to change than to stay the same. 

Don't be afraid to ask for help!

If you lack motivation and want to change your behavior, in order to improve your life and achieve everything you want, a coach will definitely assist you in getting there.! With the help of our online programs you can make Coaching part of your everyday Lifestyle – like going to a hairdresser on a Saturday morning!!   

Learn how to make tough personal and professional decisions and make the changes in your job, life and in your behavior last, while you leave frustration over your previous failed attempts and your old status quo behind you! Click here to learn more!

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