Learn how to use your motivation better

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I’ve written before that the habit starts with the trigger, then the action itself and then the reward. This is the most common info about habits out there. Let’s once again learn more about it from Dr. BJ Fogg, a professor at Stanford University and let’s take a closer look at what our behaviours depend on.

Dr. Fogg’s behaviour model says that our behaviour depends on a prompt, our ability to do it and our motivation. If our motivation is low, we will not be able to do difficult and complicated things. When our motivation is high, we can handle almost anything. So maybe we should choose activities according to our motivation. With low motivation, there is no point in taking on big things because we can’t do them anyway. Also, if you are highly motivated, there is no point wasting it and dealing with small or simple things. If you are very motivated, prepare yourself by the time the motivation fades and do activities that will help you to get out of the fallback later. For example, prepare healthy snacks for the next week so you don’t have to give in to your cravings for sweets and chips when it will be a tough week.

Learn to observe your motivation and act accordingly.

Unless the brain receives a signal that something needs to be done now, nothing will happen. So don’t forget the prompt. Motivation can be high and the action simple, but when we don’t remember to do it, we won’t.
So if you want to start something new (or you want to make somebody else to do something), make sure the activity is simple enough, doesn’t require a lot of motivation, and there is a prompt to make it work. There is no point in taking on difficult activities that require a lot of motivation if you know that you don’t have it right now. Rather start with small activities and move on step by step until more complicated activities eventually become easier.

Start with small activities that you can do even when you are not motivated.

I have made plans for myself during peak times of motivation that also help me to act at a slump and reduce the risk of giving up. For example, if my motivation should drop for some reason and I don’t bother to go out in the morning or sometimes it becomes too difficult (it’s raining heavily or I’m on a trip somewhere), then I have a plan. I do not give up moving, but I do it inside and in a smaller way: I do some stretching, sit back and think about the day ahead. There is nothing wrong with sometimes failing to implement the original plan. This is perfectly normal. But abandoning the plan must not become a habit.