The Science of Motivation: Understanding What Drives Us and How to Harness It
Motivation is a powerful force that drives us to achieve our goals and reach our full potential. But, for many of us, staying motivated can be a constant struggle, particularly when it comes to maintaining healthy habits such as eating well. If you're someone who finds it hard to make healthy food choices or is too busy to take the time to prepare nutritious meals, you're not alone.
Today, we'll take a closer look at the science of motivation and explore some practical ways to harness it to help you eat better and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
First, let's define what motivation is. At its core, motivation is the psychological action that pushes us to act in pursuit of a goal or reward. It's the force that pushes us to start a task and keeps us going, even when the given tasks become increasingly difficult.
There are two main types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from within and is driven by personal satisfaction or the feeling of personal fulfillment. You do these things to feel better about yourself, like therapy or working out to release endorphins. Extrinsic motivation, however, comes from external factors such as rewards or incentives. For example, working at a job is extrinsically motivating as you get monetary compensation. Those that have commission-based jobs understand this deeply.
When it comes to eating healthy, intrinsic motivation is the one to focus on. Yes, external rewards like weight loss or improved athletic performance can be motivating in the short-term. Still, more than these extrinsic motivators are needed to sustain high motivation levels in the long run. Instead, research suggests that the key to maintaining healthy habits like eating well is to tap into our intrinsic motivations - the things that drive us from within.
One of the most important intrinsic motivators is autonomy. Autonomy is the ability or the feeling of control and ownership over our actions. Studies have shown that people who feel a sense of control over their actions and behaviours are more likely to engage in healthy habits like eating well.
So, how can you harness autonomy to stay motivated to eat healthily? One way is to give yourself choices. Instead of feeling like you have to follow a strict diet plan, give yourself the freedom to make healthy food choices that align with your values and preferences. This is one of the reasons we've introduced our meal subscriptions. Our meal packs offer many healthy meals and the variety you crave.
Another important intrinsic motivator is relatedness. Relatedness is the sense of connection we feel to others, whether it be through shared experiences, relationships, or a sense of belonging. Research has shown that when we feel connected to others, we're more likely to engage in healthy behaviours.
One way to harness relatedness to stay motivated to eat healthily is to surround yourself with supportive people. Surround yourself with friends and family who share your values and support healthy eating habits. You can also seek out a community of like-minded individuals, whether it be through social media groups or in-person meetups.
Self-Efficacy is also a vital motivation driver, and it refers to the belief that we can accomplish what we set out to do. When we feel self-efficacy, we're more likely to take on challenges, persist in facing obstacles, and achieve our goals.
To increase self-efficacy, break down the goal of eating healthy into small, manageable steps. Instead of overhauling your entire diet at once, start with small changes, like swapping out processed snacks for healthier options or incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your meals. Setting small, achievable goals will build momentum and increase your self-efficacy.
Now that you're armed with knowing how motivation works, the different types, and where to focus, you've got some more tools in your healthy tool belt.