The Psychology of Motivation and Making a Change

It’s the new year! Most of us set new goals for 2014, and they oftentimes require change. It’s easy to write down things we want to do, but HOW do we actually make a change? What motivates us?

I wrote about setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal, and other 6 tips on how to motivate ourselves and others. Find it >>> HERE <<<<<

I found this very interesting article today: The Psychology of Lululemon: How fashion affects fitness. As I always say: you have to feel what you wear, otherwise it’s very likely to come off as not authentic and even fake. The author of this article is making a point with the thesis that we are more likely to get more active when we wear fitness clothes:

It all comes back to Adam and Galinsky’s idea of enclothed cognition: That the clothes you wear directly affect how you think, and what you do. Dress like a doctor, you’ll pay more attention; dress like an athlete, you’ll be more inclined towards physical fitness. 

Would you agree? Does the way you dress really help you make a change in your “beloved” daily routine and lifestyle? And how much does the price or brand of the clothes you wear determine your level of motivation?

You might have heard about the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation:

  • Extrinsic motivation usually involves doing something to avoid negative consequences or to get rewarded for it. For example, cleaning up after ourselves to avoid fights, or preparing that presentation for work to keep the job and not getting fired.
  • Intrinsic motivation occurs when we do something just because we enjoy it. So let’s say, you go out volunteering because you want to help, or you read a book because you enjoy reading.

So how does that fit into the whole psychology of “you do or become what you wear?” Do you actually go to the gym because you’re getting the reward of being looked at for your great fitness clothes or because you’re enjoying the physical activity? And how much does the brand or price of your active wear determine the level of joy you feel during your workout?

It’s not a secret that the way other people are dressed influence our way of thinking about them. For example, there have been many social psychology studies out there, showing that a well-dressed person is seen as intelligent, educated, sophisticated, and healthy, while someone who dresses poorly and “not so stylish” is more likely to be viewed as sluggish, not very educated, and of poor health.

Isn’t it funny how easy it is to influence people’s views and thoughts about us, just by changing clothes or styles?

I don’t think we should generalize this. Making and maintaining change in our lives requires a lot more than just a certain type of clothes. A good approach and great help when making a change is the “Transtheoretical Model of Behavioral Change” that was also mentioned in the article. This theory describes the 5 (6) steps of change:

  1. Precontemplation
  2. Contemplation
  3. Preparation
  4. Action
  5. Maintenance
  6. Termination

Here’s is a great visual and further explanation for each step: 6 Stages of Change

If you ask me, there isn’t a “right or wrong” about the way you feel in whatever you are wearing. I just hope you allow yourself to FEEL and DO whatever makes YOU happy. And when it comes to change, I hope you’re changing for YOU and not for others.

Stay yogilated and namaste’.


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