Pillar 3: Promote Sustainable Motivation—Understanding the Why Behind Our Behaviors

This week, the Applied Behavioral Science team continues sharing insights from EPC’s Behavioral Science Approach (BSA) and the Five Pillars of Behavior Change Science by diving into Pillar No. 3: Promote Sustainable Motivation. Although we will discuss one Pillar each week, every Pillar is inter-connected. Keep in mind that the strategies to incorporate the Pillars into EPC’s products will vary based on the product platform and delivery method. Click here for an overview of the BSA.

Promote Sustainable Motivation

Pillar No. 3 shines a spotlight on motivation – the fuel for our behaviors and the “why” behind what we do. The past few decades of motivation research shows that we are more likely to stick with behaviors that are driven by internal reasons when compared to external reasons.

Internal motivation is personal. It can stem from true enjoyment, values we hold, or goals we’ve set that really matter to us. External motivation comes from the outside – often from other people, systems, or beliefs about what we “should” do.

Imagine overhearing six people telling their health coach they want to start running – half of them have internal motivation and half have external motivation:

It’s not hard to imagine that Isabelle, Isaac, and Ian might be more likely to start running compared to Eric, Elizabeth, and Erin. More importantly, they will probably keep running well into the future. The people with external motivation might run for a week or two, but will likely lose steam quickly.

A health coach, a case manager, and even a digitally delivered product can help people identify and develop healthy habits that are internally motivated. Making healthy choices is challenging when it feels like a battle. It’s much easier – and has more staying power – when these actions feel consistent with our values, help us reach important goals, or are just plain fun.

Learn more about each of the Behavioral Science Pillars:

Pillar 1: Care for the Whole Person
Pillar 2: Consider the Context
Pillar 3: Promote Sustainable Motivation 
Pillar 4: Empower Self-Efficacy
Pillar 5: Support with Structure


Applied Behavior Change Science Team

Allison GrupskiDonovan

Envolve PeopleCare’s Applied Behavior Change Science (ABS) team is comprised of Allison Grupski, PhD, Allison Rose, MHS, and Jimmy Donovan. Combined, the ABS team brings a wealth of experience in behavior change, clinical psychology, weight management, health promotion and health disparities research, healthcare operations and communications. The ABS team is responsible for maintaining Envolve PeopleCare’s Behavioral Science Approach to ensure that our products and services are rooted in behavioral science and promote positive, sustainable health behavior change. 

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