Motivation as a Complex Ecosystem

Motivation as a Complex Ecosystem2

And all of these components of goal setting are what help us maintain motivation over a longer period of time. Consider the difference between saying “I’m going to run a half marathon in six months” and “I’m going to run a half marathon in six months, and I’m going to break it down into X miles a week, train with a friend, and measure my pace on Sundays.” Which one do you think helps us maintain a higher sense of motivation throughout the six month process?

When we discussed goal setting we also noted the importance of anticipating blockers and barriers in advance: knowing what sorts of things might trip us up along the way. It’s helpful to consider these “other” motives in this exercise—we know that while we’re motivated to run the half, we’re also motivated by cheese and lazy Sundays and sleeping in. When we know this in advance, we can balance these competing motives to ensure “complete a half marathon” stays at the top of the pack.

And still, we’re deeply human beings. None of this is to say that you’ll close your Reframe app today and suddenly running beats out the couch person every time; I actually have highly anticipated plans to melt into the couch and watch the new Loki episode this afternoon instead of the yoga I should “probably” do. We balance these things, but we stay cognisant and aware of how these choices are impacting our well-being and overall goals. (And actually, good television is part of my “why” for not drinking anymore—is there anything worse than having to rewatch an episode of Game of Thrones because you don’t remember any of it??)

Today, consider the complex (and sometimes competing) list of motives currently rolling around in your internal ecosystem. Which motives feel most intense and energetic right now? Which ones feel less intense or unimportant? Can you do any sort of goal setting around these motives, if the intense motives do not align with the direction you’d like to go?

Souders, B. (2021, April 16). What is Motivation? A Psychologist Explains.