Motivation in Transforming Health

Although the assertion that most if not all people care about their health to some extent greater than not at all is plausible, motivation for the process of health maintenance can be better addressed. Specifically, the extrinsic motivators for exercise and diet should be recognized. To expound that assertion, the motivational spectrum lists three major kinds of motivation with them being amotivation, extrinsic, and intrinsic. Amotivation is dissuading in that it is something that people want to accomplish less because of some authority or influence. Extrinsic motivation can be external regulation, introjection or identification, or integration. All of these are external motivators which are not the same as intrinsic motivation, that which is worthwhile and motivating in and of itself. We could think of exercise and diet as extrinsic motivators because, though they have value, they are not lifestyle choices that the human body is designed to want instead of high sugar diets and steady sources of sweet foods.

In order to enhance our quality of life in the United States, recognizing the science of motivation is crucial and the aforementioned extrinsic motivators are that which they may be defined. Specifically, the government of this city would be appealing to “identification,” the recognition of the personal value of a process like learning how to wash a cat, but not really wanting to perform that task. This is a concept in cognitivism which game designers utilize in video games in ways such as fetch quests and escort quests. To explain, they are traveling to a location, sometimes far away from the origin point for a single item, and keeping a non-playable characters alive who cannot defend themselves at the cost of player choice and freedom to explore, respectively. Also, players may not want to perform these tasks, but the financial albeit virtual value in obtaining a valuable item or the moral good in saving a defenseless character are recognized. Similarly, identifying the personal value, but certainly not attempting to manipulate the population into liking exercise or foods that they find distasteful, letting the personal value be a personal process of recognition, can effectively transform the population of this Midwestern city of the United States.

For this goal, an internal gamification application for the government employees can be utilized. One fun idea is making it a social activity with a community web site and mobile app. Progress notifications with congratulatory remarks while also recognizing that the government team member has earned their improved health can act as motivators as well. Particularly interesting would aid the user in their recognition of competence which is an aspect of intrinsic motivation. Furthermore, we could offer a list of exercises that the government team member could choose from each week, giving a sense of autonomy, another intrinsic motivator. Finally, offering a social community platform would give a sense of relatedness to the common goal of improving a community through better health choices, giving a sense of meaning.

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Author: Jonathan Kelly

For university education, Jonathan Kelly studies liberal arts and sciences. In his free time, he studies history and ethics in science fiction.

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