Motivation to Change Behavior

Posted to Miscellaneous  |  Nathan Yau

My mom recently, um, as in yesterday, got in a car accident. She was making a left turn at a light, and someone coming from the opposite direction decided to run a red light, sending my mom’s car in a 90-degree turn. Fortunately, my mom only suffered minor burns from the airbag deployment; however, the car was totaled. The first thing that my mom did today — the day after this major accident — she went to work.

This got me to thinking, what is enough to motivate someone to change her behavior? For some, when something really drastic happens, like a car accident, they gain a new outlook on life and vow to “live life to the fullest” or “value every moment”. Then there are others, like my mom, who move along, because all they want is for their lives to be normal again.

I wish I knew where to look for related research, but a quick search on Google Scholar didn’t give me a whole lot.

Let’s see here… what motivates people to change their behaviors?

  • A significant, personal event
  • Change in surroundings
  • Coercion

Surely, there’s more. I’m going to dwell on this some more.

1 Comment

  • I contracted full-blown Type 1 diabetes out of the blue. My lifestyle changed a lot. Huge motivation to change. Like change or die…

    Get used to giving yourself shots 5 or more times per day.
    Drastic change in diet.
    Adopt rigorous record-keeping and health changes in order to stay healthy.
    Realize I have to do this every day for the rest of my life.
    Death, when on your horizon every damn day, is a real motivator.



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