Behavioral Psychology

If Your Motivation Has Started To Flag

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If you’ve been pursuing some endeavor and your motivation has started to flag behavioral psychology tells us that what’s really going on has little to do with a change in your inner sense of drive but instead with a change in your relationship to the reinforcements in the controlling environment.

When starting out, most of us feel reinforced by the novelty of what we’re doing and by the naive hope that we’ll be able to quickly achieve a successful outcome. These reinforcements drive our continued behavior in the endeavor in question for a few weeks or a few months but sooner or later they tend to disappear. The endeavor stops feeling novel and it becomes obvious that the hoped for outcome isn’t going to show up any time soon.

In the absence of reinforcements behavior tends to die out which is why it’s really not a surprise that people who rely exclusively on the reinforcements outlined above don’t make it very far. If you were feeling gung ho a few weeks or a few months ago but your motivation around an endeavor has started to flag ask yourself if 1) the novelty has started to wear off and 2) you aren’t getting results as quickly as you were hoping for.