In the video below, I explore the connection between certainty and motivation to change behavior.

Certainty and Motivation

When we are 100% certain that a set of actions will lead to our desired outcome, it’s easier to be motivated to start down a change path.

But when we are less certain or uncertain that our behavior will lead to our desired outcome, it’s harder to get motivated to start down that change path.

We crave certainty because we crave truth and knowledge and we what to do what’s right and best. But the reality is that even when we follow all the advice from the smartest people, it’s still impossible to predict the future 100% of the time.

One mental challenge is that sometimes without certainty, we don’t act!

Certainty and Analysis Paralysis

When we cling tightly to a need for certainty, it may create the condition of paralysis by over-analysis.

This happens often around the topic of weight loss. Without the perfect best plan that is going to guarantee with 100% certainty that we’ll get exactly what we want, we do nothing and stay stuck in inaction.

As a coach, I often suggest that we can potentially free ourselves from the cycle of analysis paralysis by re-framing our action steps (aka plans aka behavioral goals) as experiments that we can learn from. And sometimes that frees us up from a need of 100% certainty before action.

Need for Certainty: Intrinsic v Extrinsic Motivation

Our need for certainty changes depending on what type of motivation we’re trying to tap into.

When we’re tapping into our Extrinsic Motivation our need for Certainty goes up, because we value the outcome above the behavior. We don’t want to bother with behaviors or action steps if they won’t lead to our Outcome goal.

But when we’re tapping into our Intrinsic Motivation our need for Certainty goes down, because we value the behavior above the outcome. When we tap into intrinsic motivation we focus on doing things that we love, enjoy, and find interesting. In this case, doing the behavior (playing) is what we value and so we don’t need to be as certain about the outcome.

2 Wellness Coaching Tips

These are simple tweaks but 2 things I often do to help clients feel more motivated to start down a change path is 1) encourage them re-frame action steps as experiments and 2) choose plans that stoke their intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic Motivation is of a higher quality so when we make plans that are in-live with our values, interests, and likes we already have more built in motivation.

But many people do it the other way around, they make plans based on external feedback or societal pressure and then they try to figure out how to make themselves align with the plan.

Start with you as you make your plans and you might find your motivation is stronger 🙂

Yours in Health

P.S. For related Videos or Articles, visit the hub page “What is Motivation

P.P.S. If you’re curious about working with me as your coach, Learn more about my Wellness Coaching Services.