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Woman standing by French Doors thinking about the types of motivation and how they influence our habits.

Types of Motivation and How to Stay Consistent with Your Habits

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This is the 3rd post on our HABIT FORMATION series where we’re looking at how to pay attention + set intentions around what we repeatedly do that forms us into the person that we are becoming over time. We’ll take it a step further by discussing the TYPES OF MOTIVATION that influence the habits that form us.

Whether you realize it or not, you have been formed, you’re being formed, and you will be formed…cuz that’s what happens to humans over time. 

That’s why the first step in habit formation is always ATTENTION – noticing the routines, rhythms, and rituals in which we regularly engage…and more importantly, how they are forming us.

The problem is that a lot of our formation is unintentional as we mindlessly give time + attention to the things of the world (like our phone)….which conforms us to the world, such that we don’t look much different than those around us.

Formation as humans is inevitable—we can’t avoid being formed. However, we have some influence over the direction of this formation, though we can’t entirely control it on our own. This is where understanding the different types of motivation may be helpful.

Inner Tug-of-War

I can’t help but think about Paul’s inner tug-of-war between wanting to be formed into the image of Christ and at the same time how his worldly flesh is trying to form Him. Listen to what he says in Romans 7 from the Passion translation…

Lady sitting on couch reading bible and learning about types of motivation.

“The longings to do what is right are within me, but willpower is not enough to accomplish it.  My lofty desires to do what is good are dashed when I do the things I want to avoid…truly, deep within my true identity, I love to do what pleases God. But I discern another power operating in my humanity, waging a war against my spirit and bringing me into captivity as a prisoner to sin…What an agonizing situation I am in – who has the power to rescue me?  But thanks be to God for His mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus. So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles.”

Does that remind you of Romans 12:1-2 that we talked about in my last post? Left to itself, sin will conform us to look, think, and act like the world around us, but God wants to transform us to look, think, and act like Him by His Spirit inside us. 

And that process happens as we build INTENTION WITH-God around habits that will form us in the right direction. 

Types of Motivation Examples

We all struggle with motivation, but God wired us all with different types of motivation. Let me share an example with you. 

Twelve years ago, I ran my first 5K with my boys. Despite my husband being an avid runner, I had always resisted due to our different depth of conditioning and length of legs. I used to joke that I’d only run if someone was chasing me.

A few months ago, I decided to start running after seeing a sign. Back then, I didn’t understand the types of motivation, but now it makes sense. I found a couch-to-5K schedule online, printed it, and checked off each day until the race.

I got my two boys to join, though they didn’t train much with me. Still, we all finished the race together. Eventually, my boys and daughter took up running and now run much faster and further than I do.

I made a decision to enter a 5K and have a plan to reach my goal. 

My oldest realized he was a runner and began to act like one.

Running appeared beneficial to my middle one for joining the army.

For my youngest, it provided the community and connection she desired with other girls.

We all built a habit of running, but in much different ways because we were all motivated differently – we had different types of motivation. 

The 4 Types of Motivation

What is it that gets you up and keeps you going, even when you don’t feel like it? 

Let me introduce you to the 4 TYPES OF MOTIVATION that influence habit formation that I adapted from Gretchin Rubin’s The 4 Tendencies and then how to determine which one you are and how to use it to your benefit to get (and keep) those habits going.

RESPONDER. CHALLENGER. INVESTIGATOR. DOER. 

Before I give you an overview, let me give 2 important disclaimers-

First, of the four types of motivation no one is better or worse than another; they all have strengths and weaknesses that once you understand can help you make sense of why trying to form a new habit in the past hasn’t worked for you, or hasn’t worked for very long. 

Secondly, you might notice elements of all four types of motivation within yourself, depending on the situation. This can be true, so listen for what you think is truest of you most often. Listen to what your gut says about you rather than who you want to be or what you think others expect of you.

Type 1: Responders

Valuing connection with others, RESPONDERS will do most anything to meet the needs and expectations of others because they are highly…

      • Reliable

      • Responsible

      • Relational

    Responders will show up for a client, friend, family member, or even a stranger, but don’t always do things for themselves because who has time when there are so many people to serve? (Did I mention they may have difficulty saying no?)

    Type 2: Challengers

    Authenticity is what CHALLENGERS value most, so they will not do something because it’s expected but rather if it ties deeply to who they are because they are highly…

        • Independent

        • Individualistic

        • Intuitive

      Challengers don’t like being like everyone else and struggle with repetitive or mandatory tasks, even when they are the ones deciding, cuz it feels too confining. (Did I mention they have difficulty with rules & routines?)

      Type 3: Investigators

      To demonstrate their value of reason, INVESTIGATORS will do something because it makes sense and fits with what they know to be true because they are highly…

          • Eager to learn

          • Efficient

          • Effective 

        Investigators don’t like to do arbitrary things because they don’t have time to waste on what they deem is inefficient or unnecessary, and when they do follow an expert’s advice, it’s because they trust them. (Did I mention they do their homework first?)

        Type 4: Doers

        Finally, DOERS value routines and will do what needs to be done even if no one asks and no one checks in on them because they are highly…

            • Self-motivated

            • Self-reliant

            • Self-sufficient

          Doers prefer to do things “right” and often won’t start something unless they are confident they have the time and ability to see it through. When their routines are disrupted, they tend to drop the ball, which makes them unhappy. (Did I mention they like checking boxes?)

          For each TYPE OF MOTIVATION, one question matters most:

          RESPONDERS: Is this helpful for others too?

          CHALLENGERS: Is this the person I want to be?

          INVESTIGATORS: Does this make sense to me?

          DOERS: Is this something I should do?

          How Types of Motivation Relates to Habit Formation

          How does knowing your type of motivation help with habit formation? I’m glad you asked. Understanding what drives you (and keeps you motivated) allows you to identify what might distract you and what will keep you on track. This knowledge helps you stay consistent in building the habits you desire to form you.

          So what DISTRACTS you from a consistent focus?

          Since RESPONDERS highly value relationships, they can easily get distracted by too much input. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and say no to others’ requests to make time for yourself, despite the family and work obligations you feel responsible for.

          CHALLENGERS highly value individuality, so they get distracted by anything that feels forced. Before you resist and say no immediately, take time to see if it connects with something you care deeply about and how it can help you become the person you want to be.

          INVESTIGATORS highly value research and can get distracted by an overload of information. Don’t try to exhaust all possible sources in pursuit of the perfect decision. Instead, do enough research and then make the best decision you can with what you know.

          DOERS highly value consistent routines, so they can get distracted by constant interruptions. Don’t let changes in plans or others not following through throw you off. Instead, take time to reset your routines and rework your plan to continue doing what you want to do.

          By knowing what distracts you, you can do your best to avoid it when establishing new habits…and implement what will DIRECT you towards continued growth.

          Helpful Tips for Each Type of Motivation

          Because RESPONDERS highly value relationships, they’ll find it helpful to build in outside accountability to keep them on track to stick with what they say they’re going to do for themselves and to push themselves further than they’d go on your own.

          Since CHALLENGERS highly value individuality, they’ll find it helpful to embrace it as a challenge that ties to a sense of mission or purpose around who they want to become and give themselves the freedom to do it in a way that doesn’t feel forced.

          Because INVESTIGATORS highly value research, they’ll need to give themselves time to gain clarity in evaluating the information they have and process what makes the most sense for them to do the best they can with what they know

          DOERS highly value consistent routines, so they’ll want to use scheduling to keep them focused on reaching the finish line one step at a time with built-in margins in case something unexpected comes up, allowing them to make adjustments.

          Ready to see how knowing this will help you in this process of habit formation?  Let’s say you want to create a habit around using your time well by laying out your weekly time blocks. How would knowing your TYPE OF MOTIVATION help?  

          Informative Questions for each Type of Motivation

          RESPONDERS should ask, “Who do I need to make time for (including myself) so I can serve well this week?” 

          CHALLENGERS should ask, “How do I want to show up this week in a way that ties into my bigger mission?”

          INVESTIGATORS should ask, “What makes sense to give my time to this week so that I can use it effectively?” 

          DOERS should ask, “What needs my time + attention this week so I can work towards my bigger goals?”

          Then with that answer in mind, identify how you’ll spend your time and check in regularly to make sure you’re in alignment with what you said mattered before the week started.

          Knowing what you’re drawn to and what can weaken you will help you no longer fall into the belief that creating habits doesn’t work for you…cuz we all have habits. It’s a matter of paying attention, setting an intention, and maximizing your motivation to help move you in the direction of who you want to become. 

          I’m really excited for a special surprise I have planned for you in a following blog to help you put your type of motivation into action in your life, so be sure to check back.

          Join the Types of Motivation Discussion in the Redeem Her Time Community…

          In the meantime, identify your TYPE OF MOTIVATION. This week’s community question can help you do that: “Are you a RESPONDER, CHALLENGER, INVESTIGATOR, or DOER?” 

          You may already have a good idea of which one you lean more towards, but to help make it clearer I’ve created a short quiz that I’m giving you access to inside the REDEEM Her Time Community…cuz then once you know, inside we can help support you in putting your type of motivation to work with your habit formation. We can’t wait for you to join us at redeemhertime.com/community.

          And I can’t wait to hear which type of motivation best fits you on our CEO TIME AUDIT so we can focus your time in the way that best fits your growth towards who He is calling you to be in your life + biz.  So while you’re feeling motivated, go grab a spot at redeemhertime.com/audit.

          A lady at Redeem Her Time ready to discuss types of motivation.

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