Why choice is key to motivating the whole family

on Tue 30 Jul

Have you noticed how motivated you feel to do something when you feel you don’t have a choice?  

Whether we’re trying to motivate ourselves to do something so we achieve a particular goal, or we’re trying to encourage our kids to do something, the words “I need to” or “you need to” can be our worst enemy.  Because that little phrase insinuates a loss of freedom…it insinuates you’re only doing it because you have to not because you want to. There’s a phenomenon called psychological reactance where we resist doing something because we sense choice and freedom being squashed or removed.

So, what can we do to stop this happening?

If you want to encourage yourself to do something connect with why you want to do it.  What’s in it for you, what’s the reason? And then make a choice whether you do it or not.

So, if it’s about going to the gym or going for a new job, what’s in it for you? Why are you considering this as a choice?

If you’re trying to encourage your kids to do something you can give them a choice in how they do it which will hopefully avoid any psychological reactance bubbling up.

E.g. "do you want to do your homework before or after tea?"

The outcome is the same (you’re not really giving them a choice whether they do their homework) but because they have a choice around how they do it resistance is avoided (hopefully). 

It’s not about giving lots of choices as that comes with its own heap of problems. It’s more about knowing you have a choice in what you do.

As a nice side-effect it also encourages independence and autonomy.

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