What motivates you? is not an easy question to answer, unless you have reflected on it. In our user research with clients, we often give nuances of this question to find out whether the answers given to the initial question stand up when tested. We look for stories of when people felt like they were achieving, experienced success and/or enjoyment. We want to know what makes them feel valued. We also ask about the flip side, what annoys them or what makes them feel less valued.
By drilling deeper into the emotional triggers, we uncover usually a pattern of behaviours that get people started or stopping in their tracks. It is often the case that starting a task will create the inspiration to then create the momentum needed to continue, which is often called motivation. In physics, Newton stated that objects in motion tend to stay in motion. The old saying that ‘if you need something done, ask a busy person’ also holds true.
Motivation is deeply rooted in our belief systems and can be swayed based on action and experiences along the way. Even though I love my work, there are days I don’t have the immediate motivation to get started. Yet starting is what get’s me out of the funk and into my groove again. I used to work with professional athletes and they often said that if the body didn’t feel like training, just start and feel if after 6 minutes it still feels hard and the body is still not happy, then it may be better to pay attention and go easy. The majority of the time they found their flow in 6 minutes and all of a sudden their initial blocks evaporated into thin air.
From a behaviour nudging perspective in gamification, it is important to pay attention to the emotional triggers that get people started and what keeps them going. Simply asking what motivates you is asking for really un-workable answers if people can even answer the question in the first place.