The approach we take to developing consistency is heavily influenced by Daniel Pink’s work on motivation (1) (2).
Pink shows how offering a reward for doing something that should be enjoyable in itself makes it HARDER to build the habit, not easier.
Trying to entice yourself to do something by promising yourself a reward at the end will make it harder to do, not easier.
That inner sense of motivation, your intrinsic motivation, what Pink calls “Motivation 3.0,” is built on three key components.
- Purpose – Know why you are doing what you are doing. Try to make that purpose bigger than yourself. Eg. Go for the run to keep your cardiovascular system healthy for your kids.
- Autonomy – Be careful of how you talk to yourself. Don’t give away your choice. You don’t ever have to do anything. You can choose to go for the run to keep your cardiovascular system healthy for your kids. Or you could swim, or cycle.
- Mastery – You need to feel like you are making progress, moving toward mastery.
If you find something that ticks those three boxes for you, the feeling of engagement and flow that you get will make it worth doing, even if you get zero results.
That’s how powerful intrinsic motivation is.
Imagine you find something that ticks those three boxes AND gives you the results you want. How do you think that would go?
But, motivation is not a permanent, predictable condition.
It does make the process very pleasant. But, we do need willpower and habits.
That’s our next topic, Habits for Health, Strength & Performance