Building Motivation Over Time

What is this Tool?

  • Motivational techniques such as linking to activities that people are already doing, recognizing them for actions already taken, and providing ongoing opportunities to take further steps and become more involved.
  • Steps for strengthening motivation over time.
  • A key element of social learning theory (http://rex.nci.nih.gov/NCI_Pub_Interface/Theory_at_glance/HOME.html)

Why Would You Use It?

  • Because you want to increase the likelihood that a person will start and continue the activities you are promoting.

When Would You Use It?

  • Before designing your program, identify the most relevant motivators. Then structure the follow ing techniques into your program. Each technique has its own right timing, as described below.
  • The main example used is the home visit service of ReCAP, initiated in 1993 as part of Ontario\''s Green Communities.

How Would You Use It?

1. Identify the factors that commonly motivate people to take the actions.

Examples

ReCAP staff received the standard Green Communities training program which identified the common motivators relevant to the actions they were promoting. For example, they learned that cost and comfort were two of the key motivators influencing people to undertake home energy audits.

Green$aver found that the two main motivators for requesting a home energy audit were comfort and cost savings.

HEADSTARTs public participation workshops began by asking participants to identify the transport issues most important to them. This information was tracked in two ways: (1) by total number of participants mentioning each issue (across all workshops), and (2) by the number of workshops at which each issue had been mentioned.

COAST found that among its target audience, "peace of mind" was the primary motivator for getting tested for Chlamydia.

Tip: Like barriers, motivators can be quite specific to a given action and to a given target audience.

Your Program

Refer to the step-by-step instructions in Getting Informed.

2. When designing your program, and in all communications, link the desired actions to these motivators.

Examples

One year, The Clean Air Commute used an ASFX E8 license plate as a backdrop for its press conference, to highlight the link to air quality.

ReCAP's home advisors listened carefully to each house holder's remarks, both during the initial interview and throughout the home visit, then talked in terms of the activities (e.g., gardening) and interests (e.g., child safety) that seemed most important in each case. As part of the standard Green Communities training program, the home advisors were provided with instructions and practice exercises in doing this.

Two different signs were used at Marley Station Mall to encourage shoppers to take the stairs. One featured a caricature of a heart at the top of a flight of stairs and the statement "Your heart needs exercise, use the stairs." The other featured a caricature of a woman at the top of a flight of stairs with a thin waistline, wearing pants that had become too large. The caption on the sign read, "Improve your waistline, use the stairs."

The first 40 minutes of the Roach Coach workshops consisted of a slide show, and the last 20 minutes consisted of demonstrations and a question and answer period. The slides were specifically chosen to relate to common motivators that had been identified.

Tip: With face-to-face approaches you can look for clues and ask questions that identify the most important motivators for each person you contact. Train your program implementers to do this.

Tip: Use the Tool Vivid, Personalized Communication

Your Program

List the motivators identified in step 1. How can you link the desired actions to each?

Motivator 1:
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How to link to it:
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Motivator 2:
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How to link to it:
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Motivator 3:
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How to link to it:
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Other Motivators:
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How to link to them:
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3. Link the desired action to related activities that people are already doing. Also link to "hot issues" in your community.

Examples

One year, The Clean Air Commute used an ASFX E8 license plate as a backdrop for its press conference, to highlight the link to air quality.

Many waste reduction programs have successfully promoted recycling by making it easy to put recyclables at the curb for collection at the same time as garbage. In addition, Quinte Regional Recycling linked composting with recycling by putting decals on people's Blue Boxes that said: "We compost too."

Le Club Millezinc created a humorous video that students presented to other students, which included examples of local pollution problems.

Resource Alert for Canada and the U.S.A.:Canadas EnerGuide Label for Household Appliances Program, and the US Energy Star Program link energy conservation directly to the purchase of new appliances.

Your Program

What action are you trying to promote?

List people`s common activities related to the desired action. Can you make a link?

Activity 1:
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Link:
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Activity 2:
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Link:
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Activity 3:
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List current "hot issues" in your community and how you might be able to make a link.

Issue 1:
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Link:
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Issue 2:
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Link:
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Issue 3:
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Link:
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4. Once you have established a common ground (i. e., the motivators, current activities and "hot community issues"), recognize related actions the person has already taken.

Examples

In The Clean Air Commute pilot, letters signed by a company executive were distributed, along with a questionnaire, to employees who had participated in the past. The letters commended the employees for what they had already done and informed them that they had a further opportunity to participate through the pilot. The questionnaire further recognized and built on the employees' past actions and ended with a request for them to agree to participate in the three-month pilot.

ReCAP's Home Advisors commended householders on existing conservation related efforts, including their initiative in booking the home visit.

Ottawas Commuter Challenge recognized the past and current efforts of active commuters, and encouraged those people to act as role models to their coworkers, neighbours, family, and friends.

Tip: Even such actions as keeping past utility records, reading most of the way through a brochure, or choosing to have a home visit can be highlighted so people see themselves as already concerned and involved.

Your Program

What related actions will people have likely taken by the time you visit them or get your message to them?

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5. Once you have established a common interest, help the person:
  • physically experience the things that illustrate the points you are making (through touch, smell, sight or hearing), and
  • analyze the information collected and draw conclusions.

Examples

Participants in The Clean Air Commute carried out clean commuting practices for a day.

Pacific Gas and Electric trained home assessors to appeal to concerns about heat loss, energy costs and comfort, as follows:

You know, if you were to add up all the cracks around these doors here, you'd have the equivalent of a hole the size of a football in your living room wall. Think for a moment about all the heat that would escape from a hole that size. That's why I recommend you install weather-stripping. And your attic totally lacks insulation. We professionals call that a naked attic. It's as if your home is facing winter not just without an overcoat, but without any clothing at all.

ReCAP's home advisors asked residents to feel the cold air leaking in through cracks that needed weather stripping.

The Clean Air Commute, The Toxic Challenge and We're Toxic Free all used a questionnaire or report card that engaged people in looking at their own situations.

Your Program

What are some of the ways you can do this?

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6. Once you have established that the person is motivated to do the action, ask for an oral or written commitment to do so.

Examples

In The Clean Air Commute pilot, a questionnaire was used to request participation in a three-month follow-up program.

ReCAP asked residents to commit orally to carrying out the list of repair/retrofit priorities each resident had helped prepare.

Roach Coach participants were asked to make a verbal commitment to complete all aspects of the eight-month project.

In Iowa City participants who were told that their names would be published reduced their natural gas and electricity usage by 10 percent to 20 percent. No significant reduction occurred when participants were assured of anonymity.

Your Program

See the Tool Obtaining a Commitment.

7. Remind people to take the actions and provide them with meaningful feedback.

Examples

Your Program

Please refer to the Prompts and Feedback.

8. Provide opportunities to take further steps.

Examples

Those employees participating in The Clean Air Commute pilot, who had undertaken an activity that they were already accustomed to doing, were asked to commit to an additional activity for the three-month period. Those who had undertaken a new activity were asked if they would be willing to extend this behavior for the same period.

The Environment Network pilot-tested the use of starter kits designed to reduce the use of household hazardous wastes (HHW) and to promote sustainable landscaping methods. Participants, who had all previously received home visits, were provided with the kits along with a second 10-minute home visit in which the contents and use of the kits were explained.

Peterborough GreenUp provided ongoing workshops on sustainable gardening. It also left residents with a list of repair/retrofit priorities.

At the end of each presentation, AIDS peer educators told students where they could obtain further counseling on sexuality, and encouraged them to discuss the presentation with their parents.

Your Program

What are some of the ways you can do this?

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9. Provide recruiting and leadership opportunities. These are public statements of commitment to your program that further strengthen motivation to take action.

Examples

Residents of Claremont who recycled were recruited to help their neighbours learn to recycle.

ReCAP asked those who had had a home visit to tell others about it.

Global Action Plan's EcoTeam members took turns facilitating the meetings, with support from a trained volunteer coach who had already been through the program. At the end of their program, they were asked to invite people to an introduction event.

Ottawas Commuter Challenge recognized the past and current efforts of active commuters, and encouraged those people to act as role models to their coworkers, neighbours, family, and friends. For example, participants were encouraged to "bike or bus with a buddy" so that people who were trying a different mode of transportation that week felt safer and more at ease.

Your Program

How can you encourage participants to promote the desired actions and your program to others? See the Tool Word-of-mouth.

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List some of the other ways you can provide leadership opportunities:
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peer support groups
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neighbourhood coaches and block leaders
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other opportunities to volunteer

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