Motivation Rituals – A Substitute for Natural Motivation

Do you find it challenging to get started on a habit? Motivation rituals are simple behaviours you can do before your habit that will motivate you to complete your intended habit. It must be an easy action and you must do it consistently. The simplicity of the action will ensure that you follow through with completing your habit. Performing your motivation ritual consistently will result in feeling motivated every time you engage in the ritual. For example, if you want to start jogging every day, your motivation ritual can be putting on your shoes.  

Let’s be honest here. Motivation is unpredictable and we cannot rely on it – sometimes we experience it at full force, and sometimes, it’s almost like it left with the wind. Not everyone is bound to feel motivated to wake up at 5 a.m. every morning to work out or eat healthy for three meals in a row. But, there is a habit tip that hacks the role of motivation so YOU are able to follow through with your habits even when it’s the last thing you want to do.  

Motivation rituals are easy and repeated actions you can do that almost act as a cue to start and achieve your intended habit. These rituals serve as the motivation that drive you to complete your habit. Instead of relying on “feeling motivated” to do something (and we all know how unreliable that is), the ritual is designed to take that role so you are in full control of achieving your habit.  

In order for your motivation ritual to have an effect, there are a few things it must follow: 

  1. Consistency – You must carry out the ritual consistently, regardless of the presence of natural motivation. Doing this will result in the motivation to complete your desired habit. 
  1. Simplicity – The action should be so easy that you can’t say no to it. This makes the process of starting your habit easier.  

For example, let’s say you want to start jogging every day when you wake up. Your motivation ritual could be walking to your running shoes and putting them on. This ritual not only gives you the motivation to finish your desired habit (going on a jog) but it’s also extremely easy that you can’t justify not doing it.  

Another example; let’s say you want to start eating a healthy dinner every day. Regardless of how tempting it is to pick up your phone and order a pizza, your motivation ritual could be simply taking out the produce from the fridge and prepping it so you can easily cook your delicious healthy dinner. Again, it is an easy action to do and you’ll want to follow through with completing your habit – once the produce is out of your fridge and prepped, you’ll actually want to cook that healthy dinner.  

Once your motivation ritual has been implemented, it will make your desired habit much easier to achieve and just like any other habit, your motivation ritual will become automatic over time. It will function to serve as a cue to start your intended behaviour and the motivational mentality you need.  

Hopefully by now, you’ll realize that relying solely on natural motivation to get us to where we want to be is extremely unlikely. Getting started is always the hardest part. By knowing the most effective and easiest ways to start your habits, you’ll be able to approach those daunting goals with positivity and confidence.  

To learn more about motivation rituals, visit:

Bowers, R – Creating New Habits and the Power of Motivation
Clear, J. – Motivation: The Scientific Guide on How to Get and Stay Motivated
Clear, J. – How to Get Motivated When You Dont Feel Like It

Author: Cathy Xie
Editor: Zac Lo
Researcher: Michael Bacci