Ayelet Fishbach
Harnessing the Power of Motivation

Ayelet Fishbach, a social psychologist who focuses on the science of motivation speaks about how to set goals that are enforced by our intrinsic motivation, how to analyze our goals and evaluate how well they are working, and why it’s crucial to have people in your life who want you to succeed.

Ayelet Fishbach
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Show Notes

Mark Divine speaks with Ayelet Fishbach, a social psychologist who focuses on the science of motivation. Dr. Fishbach speaks about how to set goals that are enforced by our intrinsic motivation, how to analyze our goals and evaluate how well they are working, and why it’s crucial to have people in your life who want you to succeed.

Key Takeaways:

Motivation is a force. It starts with a goal, but motivation is the force that moves us towards our goal. Willpower is what we use to resist a negative behavior, while motivation pushes us towards the positive.

Focus on adding positive actions to your life instead of ending negative habits. When we focus on ending behaviors, rather than replacing them, we reinforce those negative behaviors by thinking about them.

Identity is important. When the goal is related to who you are, people are much more likely to persist. Example: I am a life-long learner, and I will read a new book every week.

It’s important to analyze your goals. A goal shouldn’t be too abstract or too specific. It should be a goal that is good for you. It should be challenging, but not too challenging, or you will quit.

Don’t set a goal that doesn’t fit in with your life or conflicts with another goal. If your goal is to advance in your career, but you also want to start a family, it might not be the time for one of those goals.

Try to create habits that align with more than one goal. Example: You want to eat healthier, and you also want to save money. Create a habit around food prep, so that you will have healthy foods easily accessible and avoid eating out.

Have a support system. The people you need in your life are not necessarily experts in the area of your goal, but they are people who are rooting for you. If you don’t have that in your life, find it.

Mark Divine 0:03
Hi, I’m Mark Divine. This is the Mark Divine show where we discover dive in discuss what makes the world’s most inspirational, compassionate and resilient leaders so courageous and fearless. Here we go in depth with people from all walks of life, martial arts grandmasters meditative monks, CEOs, military leaders, Stoic philosophers, proud survivors, and more. Every episode turns our guests experience into actionable insights that you can learn from, you can follow and use to lead a life filled with compassion and courage. Today, we’re going to be talking about motivation, habituation, and goal achievement, specifically how to motivate and influence oneself to achieve what you want in life. We all know the setting and achieving goals is harder than it seems. And our guest today, Dr. Elliot Fishbach, presents a theoretical framework for self motivated action. She explains how to identify the right goals, attacked the middle problem, battle your temptations, and use the help of others around you to achieve your goals. Dr. Fishbach is the Jeffrey Breckinridge Keller professor of behavioral science. That’s a mouthful at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. And she’s the author of a new book released January 4, titled Get it done. Her research is regularly featured in the media including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Chicago Tribune, NPR, and she was selected to be featured in The New York Times annual year on ideas. Dr. Fishbach has received several international awards, including the Society of experimental social psychologist, best Dissertation Award, and career trajectory Award, and the Fulbright Educational Foundation award. And in 2006, she received the provost Teaching Award from the University of Chicago. Our focus today is on the surprising lessons from the science of motivation, how to apply those lessons to motivate yourself. Here’s Dr. Fish back. So how would you characterize your specialization? Behavioral Science?

Ayelet Fishbach 1:59
Yes, I would say behavioral science depends on how specific you want to be that general categories behavioral science, within that I am a psychologist within that I’m a social psychologist. And if you want to be quite specific than I am a motivation scientist,

Mark Divine 2:16
yeah. Okay. So behavioral science is looking at people’s actions, behaviors, and then try to trace to the field of psychology, what’s behind those actions, behaviors? And then you want to look at the motivation, which is behind the psychology, which is behind the actions, behaviors, something like that, right?

Ayelet Fishbach 2:32
Yes, I’m trying to understand how to motivate people and how people motivate themselves.

Mark Divine 2:37
Wow, have you figured it out? Because I’m pretty curious.

Ayelet Fishbach 2:41
I figure out some things, there was still a lot of things to learn. But I figured out some so happy to tell you

Mark Divine 2:48
all that before we get into the kind of meat and potatoes of your behavioral work. I’d love to learn a little bit more about yourself like what were your motivations for getting into the field of psychology, where where you’re from? What was your background? What were your influences? What were your parents, like? Help us understand?

Ayelet Fishbach 3:04
Oh, gosh, that’s many questions. I know it

Mark Divine 3:07
all wrapped into kind of like a lifestyle give us give us a short life story.

Ayelet Fishbach 3:11
So I grew up in Israel, I grew up in a very small community at work is called the Accu boots as small as socialist community, where everybody was working together where the pay was equal with actually didn’t have money. Now we didn’t use money as I was going out.

Mark Divine 3:31
Was the commune. Yes, it was

Ayelet Fishbach 3:33
what you would call a commune. Yeah,

Mark Divine 3:34
I remember reading about those when I was younger, I thought was fascinating.

Ayelet Fishbach 3:37
Yeah, so this is where I grew up. And that then I Yeah, went to the army like any other Israeli my generation. Then I left my small community and went to study at Tel Aviv University. Psychology just sounded interesting. I had no idea what he meant. I had no idea that you can make a career doing research in psychology. But you get your BA and then you figure out that you can get a master degree.

Mark Divine 4:06
Right? And suddenly, you’re in a doctorate.

Ayelet Fishbach 4:09
Yeah, exactly. And then suddenly, you realize, oh, that could be a job. Interesting. So it really was kind of incident as kind of life took me wherever life no takes you.

Mark Divine 4:21
Now that you’ve had plenty of time to reflect on this, how do you think growing up in a commune shaped the way you view the world today? I mean, you said basically everyone is equal, there is no meritocracy. There is no money. How did that shape your mind and what kind of beliefs did lead to and what was the behavioral psychology of your Fishbach from the commune experience?

Ayelet Fishbach 4:41
I grew up in a place where everybody started in an equal position. And then my field of study is the study of the situation shapes you how the opportunities that you are getting your life, the doors that open up for you, the people that are around you, really How you to do things and allow you to grow and thrive. And so I was part of an experiment in leadsec give everybody the same opportunity. It’s never really the same, but at least thriving toward it trying to let everybody do what they can do everybody grow into the person that they can be definitely inspired me to try out things to see where what I can do that I do well, and it turned out that I think I’m a pretty decent researcher.

Mark Divine 5:32
That’s fascinating. I think a lot of people have misperceptions that what you would call a socialistic micro society could promote expansion of human potential, most people in the West think it’s really kind of the opposite, like control and suppression of human potential. I mean, where’s the motivation come in, if there’s no striving for, I guess, it’s all internal motivation.

Ayelet Fishbach 5:54
So you know, our perception of communism on the West is really something that kills the motivation. Because no matter how hard you work, by the end of the day, everybody is equal and you don’t control your life. That was not my experience, there was a lot of things that you could do to decide on your life to decide on what will passion is what you want to do. And also, as I grew up, by age 18, I left me it was really up to me to find a job to know to pay my college tuition, to do things in my life. So there was a lot of learning from an early age that everybody can do whatever they want, which is probably much exaggerated version of what actually happens in life, but at least that this is what I’ve been taught. Being out there in the world with, you know, one mind, two hands, two legs, and you kind of do the work and find what you do well.

Mark Divine 6:55
So, when it comes to let’s kind of dive into motivation, what is the root of motivation? Like? How would you characterize the concept of motivation? To begin with?

Ayelet Fishbach 7:05
Good question. So motivation is really a force game motivation is what gets you going. It starts usually with some destination somewhere that you want to go, Okay, you want to save money, you want to have a career, you want to be in a better health or whatever. And you need motivation in order to get yourself there, okay to define the destination is the force that gets you going. And so it’s really a very basic human function.

Mark Divine 7:36
How does motivation relate to willpower?

Ayelet Fishbach 7:39
It’s very similar. Willpower is motivation in the sense that it’s often what what we need in order to do anything, we often use the words the concept of willpower to describe overcoming some obstacles. In the context of self control, there is some temptation there is some barrier there is any sort of obstacles that in order to overcome it, you need willpower. So what you

Mark Divine 8:05
just brought up to me is like we use willpower to overcome a negative motivation, right? Whereas motivation itself is used to achieve or to fuel up a positive goal or an aspirational goal.

Ayelet Fishbach 8:16
Exactly. I was about to give the example that if you are trying to learn how to play basketball, you have the motivation to get the ball in the basket. Okay? You are not tempted to get the ball anywhere else can you want to get it in the basket, where you need willpower is when you are tired, or you just got negative feedback. And you need to get yourself to do it despite something in you that says, Maybe I should give up?

Mark Divine 8:42
Does motivation come from the head or from the heart?

Ayelet Fishbach 8:45
Unfortunately, yet, this is a myth that anything comes from the heart right? In our mind, but I think that you were feeling metaphorically, whether it’s about cognition,

Mark Divine 8:57
I was actually referring more from the perspective of heart mind, you know, the neurological processing capacity that the heart has. The heart is really the realm of courage, right? And so, for something that’s aligned with your life purpose or aligned with your heart is going to come from that, you know, the hearts neurological energy, the heart mind,

Ayelet Fishbach 9:14
I would say, I think the way we meet on this is that motivation is a function of how you think about things and how you feel things. Okay? So your feelings your emotions are very critical for what you can do.

Mark Divine 9:28
As a trained psychologist and academic psychologist, does the field allow for the concept of whole mind of mind extending beyond the brain, the brain in our head? Because then that defines a lot or helps explain a lot of what you just said that feelings are associated with motivation. Empathy can be associated with motivation, those things aren’t necessarily associated with the brain. They’re associated with the extended mind which inclusive of heart and biome and even your whole enteric nervous system.

Ayelet Fishbach 9:56
It’s a good question. We often when we think about the location have psychological functions, we think about the mind. And there is a whole field of neuroscience that tries to identify where things are in the mind, I don’t feel the study the localization of these functions, when you say that type of body will like the way our mind interacts with the rest of our bodily parts, that’s a pretty new field of research that I can’t say much about, I can barely tell you about where things are located in the brain. Because first we don’t know a lot. And second, I mainly care about how people think, feel and how they behave. But then, when you ask about new findings of the relations between our mind and other bodily part, fascinating,

Mark Divine 10:50
one of the things you mentioned earlier is how much our spaces affect our thinking, how much the people that we’re involved with, or that we allow into our lives affect our thinking, our cognition, even how we learn to move in the world. And so I’m in a lifetime martial artists, Yogi, you could call me an extreme athlete. And I know through my experience that that has really shaped how I think, not just through the neuroplasticity effect of you know, moving and how that affects the brain. But literally, the proprioception, the interoception, the four dimensional ability for me to move and maintain body awareness changes my mind, it gives me way more access to different ways of thinking. And I think this idea of extended mind is a really fascinating field for me, and I’m curious if that has touched behavioral science in your field at all? Are you looking into that? Or how does that intersect for you.

Ayelet Fishbach 11:42
So I believe what is special about your experience, Mark is your awareness to eat other than actually being a subject to the world around you that we call out, the result of the world around us, our experiences, including the people that are around us, is what makes us is what affects our motivation in order to influence our motivation. What I recommend is to influence your environment, put yourself in the situations that motivate you. Now, what many people are missing is awareness of this case, being able to point out like, this is the thing that made me who I am, or that made me motivated to do something or that resulted in like this awareness of something that I do. And this is where I’m hoping to get people.

Mark Divine 12:30
Yeah, well, that’s where mindfulness meditation that tends to provide great value. Because basically, it’s a practice of developing awareness and maintaining awareness of what’s affecting your mind and how your mind is organizing his thoughts and whatnot. I don’t want to get into your book talking about motivation more, but I’m curious as how his research into meditation affecting cognitive behavioral therapy and Behavioral Sciences, there was

Ayelet Fishbach 12:54
some research on that meditation, I often think about it as complementing the work that we do, we are trying to where work or trying to identify much simpler, easier, big scale interventions. And what I mean by that is that one way to change yourself is to really get into any kind of no meditation or therapy, or get into a journey of fully understand yourself and investing some years of your life, maybe your entire life in this journey of understanding who I am and why I do the things that I do and how do I change it. What behavioral science is often curious about is all these like small things that we can do that if you do this, it might change what you do in a, you know, the next month, and then you need to think about other interventions. And you can really get many people to change their behavior, using this much quicker strategies that don’t require you to dedicate your life to self awareness and change. And so, there must be some inherent desired synergy between here are all that solutions, all the things that I can incorporate in my life, and I can get an immediate effect. And then I need to use more things. And I constantly need to be aware of what can be changed. And then there is what you describe, which is going to take the journey into really understand myself something that is going to take many years.

Mark Divine 14:26
Yeah, I can You can see how they work hand in glove. Because, you know behaviorally, let’s say dealing with someone who’s overweight or, you know, has an eating disorder. Well, we can begin to work on those behaviors. And we can even make them a little bit more effective behaviors. It’s going to take a lot of introspection to get to the root of why that disorder exists to begin with, which is the work of meditation, contemplation, depth therapy, so I can see how they would work hand in glove in that regard. And I imagine that would accelerate the process or maybe make the behavioral work. Stick a little The better?

Ayelet Fishbach 15:00
Absolutely I like this example, you can dive into the long journey of understanding your relationship with food and why it might be a hot unhealthy relationship, right? I would suggest strategies such as that don’t set your goal is lose weight, okay? It is not a great call, it’s a call that most people fail to pursue. If you adopt more of a dual goal and the protocol of eating healthily of engaging in healthier habits, you have a better chance

Mark Divine 15:35
is interesting. Do you think that’s because it’s a positive goal versus a negative goal, or, again, looking at it, like I’m going to create something new as opposed to get rid of something bad?

Ayelet Fishbach 15:45
Yes, getting rid of the bad things these avoidance calls, they elicit a sense of urgency, right. So when you think, oh, I should not do something, you feel that you should not do it starting now. But they don’t last long. Now, many people plan to stop smoking, you understand that you need to start it immediately. But it’s a really hard goal to pursue. Because every time when you remind yourself that you should not smoke that brings to minus cigarette. That’s just that goal that keeps bringing to mind the things that you should not do. Whereas if you set your goal is pursuing some healthy habit, that’s easy, okay, if you set your goal is to try to think what people come up with a substitute for holding a cigarette. For many people, this is like drinking more water or they do something else that is like fidgety with their hands. You can set this and this is just easier to do. Because when you remind yourself of the thing, you don’t remember what you should not, do you remember what you should do? That’s easier.

Mark Divine 16:47
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me, the more you mind kind of dwells upon something it’s going to bring or attractive, it’s going to draw you closer to that because you’re reinforcing energetically that thing. Right? So if you focus on the negative, you’re gonna probably have trouble getting rid of the negative because you just keep thinking about it, like you said, you’re adding energy to it.

Ayelet Fishbach 17:05
The best example is when people try to start a new relationship, when your goal is to stop thinking about your ex. That’s a terrible goal. Because every time you How do I not think about my ex, the only way is by thinking about what I should not be thinking.

Mark Divine 17:25
That’s awesome. So your book title is get it done. And so I think one of the challenges that I’m like, right now I get, it’s like, okay, if I want something, then I know, I want to know how to get it done. But what if I don’t really know what I want to do you go into helping people understand what it is they really want, as part of getting it done. So they don’t choose the wrong goals or frame the goal the wrong way, like we’re talking

Ayelet Fishbach 17:47
about? Yeah, so the problem with motivation is it can lead you astray, right. And many people decide to pursue the things that are not good for them. It could be a bad relationship, it could be an exercise that is not good for you, which was resulting in sports injury. You know, most addictions, or at least many addictions start with teenagers are trying to get themselves to be more cool or more something by drinking or by smoking, whatever people do in order to prove to the world that they are the person that they believe is a subject for admiration. So yeah, many have the goals are bad. And the first part in motivating yourself is analyzing your goals. And so in my framework, there are four steps, there are four issues that you need to tackle. The first is identifying a goal each should be a goal that is good for you. Not too abstract, but also not too specific. Ideally, it’s a goal that is enticing, that is not a main skill, it’s the thing that you want to achieve, okay, it’s getting to the top of the mountain other than training in order to get there. It’s a goal that is challenging, that is not too easy, but also not too hard. So that you will give up and if you don’t define the right goal, okay, let me refer to my last element that if it’s too hard, then it’s a bad goal, because you will give up and develop a perception of yourself someone who cannot do it. That’s can be good.

Mark Divine 19:26
Yeah, this is a really important topic. There’s a model that I use to help our clients define a target or a goal. I call it the fits, does it fit in this acronym? So the f is, is it really fit my personality? Like, there are clients oftentimes, who just they choose goals that are unrealistic, so does it fit the other is how important is it to you? And I think you alluded to that, like it’s got to be really important, because you can’t chased more than a couple things at a time probably. And I want to come back to that. And then the third one is this is critical is the timing right? Because sometimes the goal you know, has is passed me by like in the case of my astronaut example. Or maybe I’m too early in case of an entrepreneur’s leveraging some new technology, which isn’t quite ready yet. And then the last one is unique. Is it simple enough that you can really, really wrap your head around it? And also, you know, encourage people that support you. Sometimes people veer toward complexity, and they, they make their goals too complicated. Where there’s timing and simplicity fit into the goal process. You know, from your perspective,

Ayelet Fishbach 20:28
yes, and no, I mentioned that the first element is how you choose the goal. And don’t make it too challenging because you will be discouraged or take a bad fit. The second element is monitoring progress and learning from negative feedback and knowing where you stand. So setting a goal that you cannot really tell me how are you doing on this call, that’s not going to work, you need to be able to say this is how much I’ve done got

Mark Divine 20:49
to be able to measure it, you mean or measure, we evaluate like,

Ayelet Fishbach 20:53
it doesn’t need to be a particular way of measuring it, but you need to maybe your emotions tell you whether you’re doing well or not, there needs to be some feedback, okay, it could be a number, it could be the way you feel about the thing. But UI is the third element, which is what about everything else. And I think that many times when you talk to people about their goals, what you find out that it just doesn’t fit with everything else that I set for myself, okay, so you can decide to save much more money and also buy a car, okay, or you know, lose weight and also start a baking class. If you decide to start a family where like, something we’ll have to give Kay, like, somehow you need to have healthy relationships with your goals so that they don’t contradict each other because it’s easy to get into this spiral of doing things that don’t fit with each other. Okay, that I keep on doing. What I do with the next thing that I’m going to do with and I think that this is what you refer to is this the right time in my life means are everything else that is on my plate are those things fit with the things that I want to do, and maybe they are, okay, maybe I’m in a place where my relationship fits my goal. And my other goals is totally in alignment. And many people when they, they study for a profession, they can put everything else on hold and say I will concentrate on that I don’t need to do other things at the moment. And then that works. But juggling goals is probably the Charis of our boiler lives and write something that we should really be able to do better.

Mark Divine 22:33
We often take on too much at one time. And I think probably seems to me, one of the most important aspects of motivation is deciding what not to do to free up space for what you shouldn’t be doing. Or you really want to do, I guess,

Ayelet Fishbach 22:46
my students and I, we often refer to this as the problem with professors. So you know, when you go to a buffet, you often don’t like the meal. And the reason you don’t like the meal is because you just put too many things on your plate and they don’t go well together, right? It’s really just not the right combination. But you’re in front of the fair, how can you say no to anything there. So maybe think about your goals is a smart meal, okay, you will enjoy it more if you have few of them. And if they actually fit with each other than if you just say to everything playing it on.

Mark Divine 23:20
I think it’s fascinating that that metaphor is I agree, life is a buffet like it’s just an enormous, you know, cornucopia of opportunity. But not everyone experiences that that way. And so I think that, again, back to this idea of motivation, if someone doesn’t have an abundance view, and is actually more of a scarcity view than how do we get them to move toward, you know, the Cornucopia but making good decisions within that kind of new mindset.

Ayelet Fishbach 23:47
One thing that I suggest in the book is to draw your goal system, and your goal system has your main goals in life at the top. Okay, and it’s for most people involved something about their health is something about their social connections, something about their career development, okay, so I don’t know you very well yet. Maybe for you, it would be your career or your sports activities, the connection to people in your audience. And then for each of them, define the sub wars that serve them, and then go down as much as you can, you know, eventually it might be just too complicated to comprehend, but try to go at least two levels like these are my main goals in life. These are the main ways in which I pursue them. These are the main means in which I pursued the sub was that then pursue my super ordinate goals. And once you query that, this pyramid like of shape, try to think about the connections try to think about which activities or means allow you to achieve more than one goal. Maybe you can find a job that also satisfies your desire for personal connection because you work with people that you want to be with. Maybe you walk to the office or bike as a means of exercising and you get your workout by doing something that also serves your your work. Maybe you start jogging, because it’s a cheap way of getting exercise and serve your financial and your exercising goals. These multi final means they are useful, okay, they allow you to achieve more things ski I refer to this as fitting two birds with one stone fell, like a

Mark Divine 25:39
habit stacking, can we differentiate a goal that isn’t like an Achievement Goal versus a habit, process goal and when we might use one over the other? Yes,

Ayelet Fishbach 25:50
habits, our that potential goals that we pursue without paying much attention. It’s kind of what the body created what you do when you don’t need to think you don’t need to analyze, you don’t need to pay much attention to it. Usually, we develop these habits because they serve goals at one point. Okay, so many of our habits are useful, you might have the habit of waking up every day at 7am is a useful habit during the week, maybe on the weekend, it’s less useful, but you still wake up at that time, because you have this habit, maybe you have the habit of eating while watching TV at one point that was a great combination for you at this point, it’s not really a great habit you you would like to change this cause are the things that at this point, we hope will become habit of one part. So we still need to work on this, it doesn’t happen by itself. But maybe we develop a way of doing it that fits with us that feels good, then eventually, it will become less of something that I need to get myself to do and more of a something that kinds of happen. Many times many goals will be somewhat habitual, but never white. Exercising is a great one. Most people say that they can exercise out of habit because I usually exercise maybe every morning or every evening. But it’s too easy to stop exercising, it’s too easy to let go of the habit. So this is the kind of a habit that I constantly need to work on to bring back to my life to make sure that this is a call that I’m pursuing half of a new year, maybe half of the new evolution idea with more than half hour about exercising and health behaviors. So still working on it.

Mark Divine 27:41
The other thing that I’m often kind of thought about in relation to goals and how I set them for myself is this notion of a goal that’s going to help me become a type of person versus a goal that helps me do a certain thing. So being goal versus doing goal. And I like the idea of let’s say my being goal is to be the most ideal version of myself possible physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, then the habits that I developed are what support that goal. And the day in and day out doing of those habits lead me ever closer and closer to that ideal version of myself. For some people, it’s just not concrete enough, even though it works for me, because I have a strong discipline for the habituation. I think that that’s kind of my point here is that, do we work on the habituation and the discipline first? Or do we you know, to work on the goal itself? Do they have to exist together? Or can we like just chunk it down into the habits and move toward the potentiality have a bigger target a bigger goal?

Ayelet Fishbach 28:39
Well, you bought identity to the bank. So the identity is important key many of the things that we do many of the goals that we choose, because it is part of who I am, when the goal is related to who I am, people are much more likely to persist. And so we find in our studies that people tend to think of some actions as more revealing of who they are okay, and in particular beginning and end actions tend to resonate more with my identity. So I tend to start something thinking about who I am and how much it fits with it and end something, thinking this way in the middle. It’s where we are, we sometimes hide from ourselves. So this is for identity, and then how much we can count on our habits. Everything that we do well, no, we all do certain things well, without paying much attention to it. Well, this is a habit of this might be a good habit, to the extent that we all want to improve and I believe that we all want to improve then there are certain things that are not quite a betrayal to us that we need to work on. In the situation that we are going to create for ourselves there will become more betrayal and we will be a better version of ourselves.

Mark Divine 29:55
Hmm, that makes sense. What is the role of you know others? In an effective achievement or getting things done,

Ayelet Fishbach 30:03
this is my last fourth element in my work, the support of others, we rarely do anything great by ourselves. And so if you want to achieve something big, you need to do it with others. And that could be starting a family with one person, building a company, with a few people on my team, or things that we do as a state or as a city or as a nation, we are doing big things together, okay, we need a group. And a lot of their research is looking how to help people when they work with other people do it well, okay, so that we don’t procrastinate because other people can pick up the slack, we divide the labor in a way that makes sense to you that when you walk, I rest, and then when you stop, I step in and work. So this is one way to think about the support of others how we do things with other people. Then the other way is how others influence our goals, what kind of world models actually work. One thing that I can mention that I would like to mention is that the word models that are effective are usually people that want you to do well, as opposed to overachievers. Seeing a successful athletes on TV is not going to get me to the gym. The fact that my husband cares a lot about the exercising that is motivating me to exercise.

Mark Divine 31:38
Like the difference between a role model and a good coach.

Ayelet Fishbach 31:42
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Many parents encourage their children to do well in their career to do well in their studies, even though the parent has very slight clue about what is it that the child is even doing okay, but they want this person to be successful, and knowing that there are people out there that want you to succeed, is motivating. A coach, there’s more even more than that, of course,

Mark Divine 32:09
do you have any advice for someone who maybe has either an individual or group in their life that doesn’t have their best interests? For the achievement, their goals? I get that question a lot like there’s someone in my organization is very toxic, or there’s, you know, my parents don’t support me or my husband or wife don’t support me. And so it’s a really tricky situation, especially if that person is, you know, firmly embedded in someone’s life.

Ayelet Fishbach 32:32
I get this question too. And I totally understand the people that bring this question to you. Because how can you do everything when the people around you and look at your say, oh, that’s foolish, right? Okay. How can you save when you’re in a family where no one is on board with that goal? Okay, how can you excel in your new startup, when the people around you think that you have no chance? And, and so I often give that advice of finding the person that believes in you, I, maybe you can divorce your parents, so maybe there will be people there. They don’t believe in you. But really, spirit believes in you.

Mark Divine 33:15
Right, find someone who believes in you. It would be painful to divorce your parents. I’ve heard of it happening now.

Ayelet Fishbach 33:21
Yeah, I don’t think that you can do it legally. So you’re back in that relationship, you move somewhere, okay. And you connect to people who understand your pursuit to come say, Oh, this is a vision net worth having big in a place where there is no one, it’s easy to feel that you’ve gone insane. You’re doing something that no one else can understand. And so we often start with if this idea, no one here might pursue this idea with me, I understand this idea. But then I need to find the people that are either going to do it with me or appreciate what I’m doing. Right. The idea of doing anything without social support is naive.

Mark Divine 34:05
I totally agree. I think the support is the main thing. It’s difficult to do these things alone. This podcast will be coming out, you know, right around the New Year or into the new year. So it’s a perfect time for people to read, get it done. What do you have to say to someone who’s embarking on New Year’s resolutions and knowing that most resolutions fall by the wayside within you know, three to three weeks?

Ayelet Fishbach 34:30
We collected a lot of data about Nigeria resolutions we like New Year’s resolutions because it’s January 1 And people are thinking about what did they want to achieve this year and I mentioned about half of the people are thinking about health related resolutions then we have about 20% or so that are thinking about financial type of resolutions so know that getting out of debt starting to save money, and then we have all these like in Just in graddic resolutions that people have, when we follow with the people that set these resolutions, we find that many people drop the resolution sometimes throughout the year in the western sample, where we looked at 2000 people who set resolutions in January, by the following November, only 25% of them told us that they are still pursuing their resolutions. So I don’t know if it’s good or bad news, but it’s hard. We found that predicts adherence is what we refer to as intrinsic motivation, is their feeling that you like what you do that it feels good at the moment that when you do this, you feel like you’re achieving your goals, it’s coming from within a bad resolution is a resolution that you say I will do it now. Because it will be good for me in a year or in two or later in my life. Okay, a great resolution, a resolution that you might still be pursuing in November, is the one where you say when I do it, I feel good. I feel like I’m doing the right thing. I enjoy what I do, it is who I am. And when setting resolutions, that would be my advice. Think about something that you will feel good while you’re doing it. It might be hard, or you might sweat, you might feel like you have to think really hard. But at the moment, you will feel like you’re achieving it like you’re intrinsically motivated to do it, then you’ll have a good chance to be that the quarter of the people that are still sticking their way to their resolutions that many months later.

Mark Divine 36:40
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to reinforce that intrinsic motivation. That’s the Holy Grail, isn’t it for goals?

Ayelet Fishbach 36:47
Yeah. It’s interesting to know that when you look at the people who said that the resolutions are very important for them versus people who said that it’s important, but not that much. There is no difference in how much they follow through. I did not expect it. I was surprised, okay, that those who say that something is more important are not those that are doing it more those who say that they are intrinsically motivated that they enjoy that the moment that they feel good about doing it. More likely to proceed, then those who say that now I don’t necessarily enjoy the moment, but it’s good for me. In the long run.

Mark Divine 37:23
Yeah, ideally, especially when it comes to something like exercise and eating and eating less. We know it’s good for us. And then we develop the experience of it. Feeling good also, which you know, for exercise takes a little bit of time, but eventually you know it, you feel good while you’re doing it, even though you’re a little bit of pain and sweat. And you know, it’s good for you. Yeah. So you get that double forcement

Ayelet Fishbach 37:45
Oh, of course, I mean that quite like no one is setting a new year’s resolution to eat more ice cream, right? So we start with that the sort of the, what would be good for me a year from now. Okay, where am I heading? But then if the way is unpleasant, there was really no way.

Mark Divine 38:03
Yeah, in a sense, we have to develop the delayed gratification to feel the positive effects of not eating as much ice cream, which could take, you know, a month or two to start to play out in terms of your physical body and your metrics, so to speak. People are so I kind of lost with all the messaging that they’re getting today, you know, with negativity or the consumerism, or, you know, the perfectionism that they’re seeing on social media. So they just need good guidance, and you break it down in very simple way. So I think it’s gonna help a lot of people. So good job, and thank you very much. Where can people learn? So do you have a website for the book launch? Or any pre launch type things going on?

Ayelet Fishbach 38:42
Yes, I hope that people will check out my website, which is basically my name I [email protected].

Mark Divine 38:49
A [email protected]. A ye Le t. Fishbach. FSH, ba, CH calm? So that’s where the book information is. Yes. Awesome. Well, Dr. Fishback, this has been really, really interesting and rewarding conversation. For me, I hope it’s been worthy on your end as well. I think a lot of people are very fascinated with this idea of motivation and goals and habits, and you just can’t get enough of it. Because it’s so endemic to who we are as human beings and our motivations and our behaviors and our beliefs. And, you know, habituation from very young age, it all kind of comes into play. And so to parse through that and to make better decisions about who we are, where we want to go in our life is really, really important. And it’s a lifelong process, isn’t it? We just can only get better and better at it. I don’t think there’s any there there. Right. There’s no perfect goal setter out there that I’m aware of.

Ayelet Fishbach 39:40
I completely agree. It’s a lifelong journey, and I hope to be part of people’s journey next year.

Mark Divine 39:48
Yeah. Well, you will be. Thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it.

Ayelet Fishbach 39:52
Thank you very much. It was a pleasure talking to you. Likewise.

Mark Divine 40:00
That was fascinating. Thanks so much, Dr. Fishbach. In this episode, what I found fascinating was just this discussion about willpower versus goal setting or versus motivation, how self concept plays out in being versus doing goals, habituation, you know, how do we use others or get the support of others to really maintain positive motivation and focusing on not only why the goal is good for us, but feeling good while we’re achieving aspects of a goal or habituating ourselves toward a goal? fascinating conversation. You can purchase her book by going to www dot ayeletFishbach.com. That’s EY e l e t Fishbach. FSH ba ch.com show notes and transcripts are on our site, Markdivine.com, And there’s a video of the episode on our YouTube channel, MarkDivine.com/youtube. I’m at Mark Divine on Twitter and at real Mark Divine on Instagram and Facebook. Please hit me up if you have a comment, or a question. I’ve got a new newsletter coming out divine inspiration in January. So if you’d like to be on the subscriber list, go to Mark Divine.com. To sign up and subscribe. And a special shout out to my team Jason Sanderson, Geoff Haskell, Michele Czarnik, and Amy Jurkowitz, who helped produce this amazing podcast. I absolutely love the reviews we get for our show. So please continue to share and rate the show if you haven’t done so already. Well, as you know, the world is changing exponentially. And the way you perceive it is often divided and fractious and negative. And we’re facing numerous complex global situations. This evolving pandemic climate change, the effect of exponential technology on our economy, widespread depression, suicide, anxiety, and even apathy. It’s crucial now that we learn to develop an unbeatable mind. Learn to habituate excellence, and develop the mindset that can drive us to become a more compassionate culture with more courageous actions. We need to build teams to thrive on creativity and positivity. So anyway, we’re going to tackle these issues. But it all starts with us. We cultivate these qualities in ourselves. We bring them to our families and teams, we become a beacon of light for others in the world. Thanks for joining me on the Mark Divine show. See you next time.

Bye now.


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