Driving forces influencing behavior: 6 factors to understand

I love talking about behavior and behavior change. And I love watching people and observing their behavior trying to understand their actions, lack of actions or thought processes.

More, given my line of work, I love motivating and empowering you to change your behavior.  And interestingly enough, motivation and ability are two of the most powerful forces or sources to change behavior.

Motivation and ability can

facilitate behavior change

Anyone who's met me knows I am very motivating. And given my background in education and teaching, I love sharing, teaching, and instilling new skills.

Hence, I find this idea or model in how to change very intriguing.

Motivation (sometimes I refer to it, too, as attitude), such as "is it worth it?" or "how important is it to me" helps us to determine our level of motivation.

But that of course isn't enough.

We also need to be able to do the new, desired behavior. I can tell you to eat healthily but unless you know what healthy food is, how to read and interpret nutrition fact labels and ingredient lists, shop, prep, and plan meals, and incorporate them in your lifestyle me telling you and perhaps motivating you to eat healthily isn't enough.

Plus, if you have seen the "in-office health video" from week 15 on the topic "in control of your behavior" you know that in order to change we also require a trigger.

Now, if we only have to control for these three sources (motivation, ability, trigger), why is behavior change so darn difficult?


Behavior Change is tough- an example you perhaps can relate to:

You have had a few stressful and emotional months and put on a few pounds. Your current weight makes you feel uncomfortable and haven't gone clothes shopping as you refuse to buy new clothes in that size.

Your level of energy has been rather low, you tire easily and can't really go about your daily activity, such as gardening, walking the stairs, and cleaning the house as easily as you used to. (motivation)

To make matters worse you have an upcoming reunion. You have always been known as a health and weight conscious person. (trigger) Not that you care what others think but given you don't feel comfortable, somehow you do care.

You know what supports your weight loss efforts and what you need to do to lose weight. You know what is considered healthy food and you have a membership to the local gym. (ability)

--> clearly, all 3 sources are met, yet, for the past 4 weeks you haven't been able to turn your desire to get healthier and perhaps lose a few pounds (for the upcoming reunion) into reality.


Behavior Change - Sources of Influence

The Sources of Influence are based on the book, Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, and colleagues.

So, what makes change so difficult?

Well, for one, the two most powerful forces or source (motivation and ability) are expressed across 3 domains: personal, social, and structural.

Meaning, we actually have 6 sources influencing us!

6 source of influence - how will we change?

  • Personal Motivation: Do I want to do it?
  • Personal Ability: Can I do it?
  • Social Motivation: Does my surrounding encourage the desired behavior?
  • Social Ability: Do other people offer help, support, resources?
  • Structural Motivation: Does my environment encourage the desired behavior?
  • Structural Ability: Does my environment support the desired behavior?


Some forces, of course, are more powerful than others.

But, the real challenge lies in us not being able to recognize the influence of some forces (or sources).

And herein lies the problem:

if we don't know them, they work against us and

we'll never be able to successfully change our behavior.


But, there is a solution. Of course, right?

By understanding these forces we can use them to our advantage and make them work in our favor.

Check this table: based on the questions ask above, use this to turn desire into action. For example, Personal Motivation: Do I want to do it?--> ask yourself: Do I enjoy it (the desired behavior)? Then use that to turn undesired current behavior into desired future behavior.


behavior change, sources of influence


Watch these cute videos below to get an idea which influences you face. Then think about the influences in your life. Use the questions above to guide you.

Which ones can you spot?

Which ones can you eliminate?

If you need support reach out. I'm hear to listen, motivate, empower, guide, teach, support,.... If you can't manage it alone and truly want to change then please take advantage of my skills.


Other articles that might be of interest to you:

Health behavior change and relationships – can we support our partner?

Failure versus sustainable behavior change: tips for success

Successful behavior change: 1 trick to succeed



Veröffentlicht in Behavior, awareness, society und verschlagwortet mit , , .