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Thursday, 11 June 2009

80% Rule for Motivation

In order to be motivated to behave in a certain way, to DO something, the 80% rule applies.

To undertake a task more than once you require more than an 80% positive experience. If you don’t enjoy the activity a lot more than you hate it, you won’t be motivated to continue doing it no matter how many books, posters, quotes and inspirational blogs you read.

The positive component can be broken up into two parts – the immediate reward and the desire.

Try this now – list the immediate rewards you get from feeding yourself for fat loss and the desire you have to get lean. Here are mine from when I was in fat loss mode.

Reward [at least 5 things that are immediate] – the reward I get every day from sticking to my nutrition plan is
#1. the scales goes down every morning
#2. my clothes get gradually looser and bigger
#3. I have increased self esteem and confidence
#4. I can see improvements in the mirror
#5. eating the things I love

Desire [at least 5 things] – the reason I want to achieve this is because
#1. I enjoy manipulating my food choices in order to hit my calorie and macro totals for the day
#2. I want to be lean and see my muscles
#3. I am a person who needs a challenge
#4. I want to be a role model for other people
#5. I want to control food and not have it control me

The negative part is the Pain. Now list the parts you don’t like about ‘watching what you eat’. Mine again.
#1. being hungry
#2. not going out to dinner
#2. not being able to eat what I want
#2. having to eat food I don’t like
#2. feeling deprived or like I am missing out


I tried to find more than one thing that I don’t like but I couldn’t. You can see why I am motivated to eat the way I do.

Now if you are struggling to find 10 things you like about your food plan and can easily list more than 2 things you hate, then it is no wonder you find it difficult to stick to. You need to somehow eliminate the things that give you pain and if you can’t transform them into good things, then at least manage them – if I don’t like being hungry, I can eat slightly more, eat more often or take some ‘little helpers’ to manage the pain.

The other word of warning is to be careful with your reward system. If seeing the scales go down is a feature of the reward part of the equation and for some reason they don't go down, you aren’t in 80% motivation territory anymore. This is why some people all of a sudden just abandon their whole eating plan when the scales don’t move. I suggest you take it out as a reward and add it in as a bonus desire factor (#6). Replace it with something you have less emotional investment in like… no digestive issues, better sleep, or increased energy.

Your mission is to list your motivation position (Rewards + Desire – Pain) regarding nutrition and exercise. If your pain list is greater than 20% of the equation (in this example, each answer is worth 10% but you can work it out no matter how many answers you have) then you need to find ways of eliminating or managing that pain OR increase the reward and desire parts of the process to compensate.

Let me know in the comments, or on your blog how you got on. I am sure we all share some common 'pain' so elimination/reduction strategies for the negatives will be helpful to us all.

Now you will no longer wonder why you have lost your motivation ... it will be because there is too much pain (and remember it's only a small threshold) and not enough reward and desire. Feed yourself, have fun and frolic kids!!

PS: It works in reverse too - if you want to STOP an unhelpful behaviour - increase the PAIN involved and decrease the reward and desire.

Inspired by this post here

1 comment:

  1. Charts! I love charts!

    Good post :)

    ReplyDelete