Excel At Life logo
×



Contents

PsychArticles button PsychNotes button PsychApps button PsychAudios button PsychTests button About button
Support Excel At Life's Mission!
Follow
Help Translate
Spread the Word
Make Contribution
Become a fan on Facebook! Follow on twitter for site updates! Follow on Google+ for site updates!
Excel At Life--Dedicated to the Pursuit of Excellence in Life, Relationships, Sports and Career





CBT

Jealousy

Depression

Relationships

Conflict

Self-efficacy

Happiness

Goal-setting

Motivation

Wellness

Sport Psych

Martial Arts



POPULAR ARTICLES

Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

POPULAR AUDIOS

Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles





Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank





RECENT ARTICLES

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?



NEW AUDIOS

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

Day of Fishing Mindfulness

Audio Version of Article: Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

All Audio Articles

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
"To create motivation for an ongoing behavior or lifestyle change, we want to create a behavior that is intrinsically motivated and that is associated with a positive outcome rather than avoiding a negative outcome."
print
The most difficult aspect of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is doing it. Just like other health practices such as exercise or nutrition, it has a wealth of research support but it requires consistent effort to be effective. The more you engage in the CBT methods, the more you will experience improvements in your life.

As a cognitive-behavioral therapist, I have found that most of my work involves motivating my clients. Although many clients start therapy with the motivation to reduce the negative symptoms and circumstances in their lives, that motivation is not enough. Think of it this way: you might know that regular exercise will improve your health, but is that knowledge alone enough to motivate you to exercise? For many people, it is not.

Therefore, in my opinion, the most critical element of CBT is motivation. The CBT tools and methods are effective if people use them. Which is why I developed the apps. Since more and more people have their phones or tablets with them all the time, I thought an app using CBT methods would create ease of access and use. In CBT we have always used a lot of paper and pencil assignments which can now be completed conveniently on your device.

However, even the app does not create motivation. So, other methods are needed. Some people are able to motivate themselves or receive help from a therapist. But this article is to introduce you to an exciting new program to help motivate you to use the tools in Excel At Life's apps. First, I want to discuss motivation so that you will have an understanding of why this program is so exciting. At the end of this article I will describe how you can earn cash while using Excel At Life's apps and learning the tools to change your life.

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Primarily, the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is whether an individual is internally or externally motivated. For example, if a child practices the piano because she will receive a reward or because she won't be reprimanded, she is externally motivated to practice. However, a child who practices the piano because he loves the sound of the music and likes challenging himself to learn more difficult pieces is internally motivated to practice.

Why is intrinsic and extrinsic motivation important? Research has found that individuals who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to engage in the behavior or practice more frequently and longer. Someone who is extrinsically motivated is more likely to stop or quit especially if the external motivator is no longer present.

Therefore, we want to create the conditions for internal motivation. Generally, internal motivation first develops from external motivation. In the piano example, for instance, the child may have started practicing piano due to an external motivator such as anticipating a reward but then came to enjoy the music itself so that practice became internally motivated.

My article "Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic" describes this aspect of motivation in more detail.

Negative vs. Positive Motivation

Many of my clients first attend therapy due to negative motivation. In other words, they are trying to avoid aversive consequences. Although negative motivation can initially be a powerful motivator due to the natural tendency to want to avoid unpleasantness, it is not a sufficient motivator especially if someone needs to do something unpleasant so as to be rewarded at some later point in time. For instance, people who do not find the process of exercise itself as enjoyable but who want the positive effects of exercise have to engage in something they find unpleasant for a later reward. It is more difficult to sustain behavior under this condition. pathways

Therefore, it may be necessary to be creative in developing a positive motivational system in which a person can receive intermediate rewards when engaging in behaviors that may not be immediately rewarding. For example, if someone is dieting to lose weight, they need to engage in the unpleasant task of food restriction to achieve their goal. So, to help achieve the weight loss goal they can develop a daily reward system such as getting a massage or spending time reading (whatever may be motivating to that individual).

Requirements for Motivation

Several conditions must be met for motivation towards a goal to occur. Without these conditions, the motivation to engage in the behavior decreases.

1) Skill Set.
If the individual does not have the necessary skills to achieve an outcome, they are less likely to be motivated towards that outcome. As I have mentioned in other articles I've written that if all that was necessary to change irrational thinking and behavior was having someone tell us to, then we all should be perfectly rational all the time because people are always telling us how to think and behave!

However, it is not that simple. And that is why CBT is so effective. CBT doesn't just tell you how not to think and behave, it provides you with the tools for change. The apps by Excel At Life helps you to create the skills needed to change your thinking and behavior.

2) Confidence of Outcome.
Even with the necessary skills, an individual needs to believe that she or he has the ability to change the outcome. Certainly, developing the skills can help increase this confidence, but frequently the belief itself needs to be addressed. That is why many of my audios have motivational components to help change this belief. As I indicated earlier, this motivational aspect is a critical part of therapy. For many of my clients, most of my work is to convince them that that they are capable of change.

3) Reward.
Finally, you are more likely to be motivated for change if you have intermediate rewards. The work in making lifestyle changes can be overwhelming so if you have frequent rewards as you are making changes you are more likely to achieve your goals.

Types of Reinforcement

How reward is provided can mean the difference between ongoing lifestyle changes and temporary change that reverts back to old behaviors. Again, weight loss is a good example of this. A person who approaches weight loss with a goal of losing a certain amount of weight in a short period of time may be able to lose the weight but is more likely to gain it back than a person who has a goal of making a lifestyle change that leads to weight loss. A lifestyle change is anything that you intend to make a consistent part of your life such as eating more fruits and vegetables or increasing exercise.

1) Continuous Reinforcement.
When a person is rewarded every time they engage in a behavior, it is called continuous reinforcement. A good example of this is training an animal. If you give a dog a treat every time it raises its paw on command, it learns to raise its paw. However, the problem with continuous reinforcement is that it is likely to stop when the reward is stopped. So, if you stop giving the dog a treat, after a period of time it may stop raising its paw.

2) Intermittent Reinforcement.
When a reward is given every few times a behavior occurs it is known as intermittent reinforcement. This type of reinforcement is very powerful in creating an ongoing behavior. Using the dog example, if the dog is given a treat only sometimes when it raises its paw on command, it is more likely to continue that behavior when the treat is no longer given. The reason this occurs is because it is unclear when the reinforcement ends. However, in this example, it is often better to start with continuous reinforcement to create the behavior and them move to intermittent reinforcement to sustain the behavior.

How Do These Concepts Work Together?

To create motivation for an ongoing behavior or lifestyle change, we want to create a behavior that is intrinsically motivated and that is associated with a positive outcome rather than avoiding a negative outcome. The best way to do this is to start with an intermittent reward that can help an individual during the time when there may not be immediate rewards from the behavior change itself. However, as the behavior changes and the individual begins to experience the natural rewards that occur, the intermittent reinforcement can be stopped.



print

Questions and Comments



Become a fan on Facebook! Follow on twitter for site updates! Follow on Google+ for site updates!