The theory that best applies to my behavior change, is the self determination theory. The self determination theory looks at motivation and personality and combines aspects of behavioral self regulation as well as personality development (Ryan & Deci, 2000). It takes into account the psychological needs of the person, and also looks at a combination of these factors in order to determine the type of motivation a person has. According to Ryan and Deci, there are three needs that need to be met for a person to feel a sense of wellbeing, growth and development (Ryan & Deci, 2000).
Those needs are: a need for autonomy, a need for competence and a need for relatedness. I felt that the self determination theory best applied to my behavior change because in order for me to change my sleeping habits, I first had to identify what my motivation was and why I was making the change. I also had to make sure that the three psychological needs were met with my behavior change or the change would be unlikely to happen. The three psychological needs were met during my behavior change.
The first psychological need is autonomy; autonomy means that the person has to personally understand the importance of the behavior change as well as accept the change (Ryan, Patrick, Deci & Williams, 2008). My autonomy needs were met with my behavior change because I started to believe that waking up at the same time was beneficial to my health and I was personally valuing getting more sleep. The second psychological need is competence. Competence is the person feeling and believing in themselves that they can make the behavior change and stick to it (Ryan, Patrick, Deci & Williams, 2008).
My Competence needs were met because as I began and continued with my behavior change, it was difficult at first but with time became more normal and I felt that I was able to make the change on my own and keep to it. The last psychological need is relatedness. Relatedness is a person having a sense of feeling respected and cared for and having people understand them as they are going through the behavior change (Ryan, Patrick, Deci & Williams, 2008). My relatedness needs were met because as I was going through my behavior change, my roommates were aware of it and were supportive it and checked in with me over time to see how it was going.
An important part of the self determination theory are the different types of motivation and the behavior regulation styles that follow with that. The first type of motivation is amotivation. This is when someone lacks motivation to participate in an activity or change a behavior, usually because one of their three psychological needs are not being met (Ryan, William, Patrick & Deci, 2009). The regulatory style associated with amotivation is non-regulation. This did not apply to me during my behavior change because I was motivated to complete my behavior change.
The next type of motivation is extrinsic motivation According to Ryan, Williams Patrick & Deci, Extrinsic motivation is when a person is participating in an activity or making a change for another reason then just doing that activity or making that change (Ryan, William, Patrick & Deci, 2009). The Regulatory styles that fall under extrinsic motivation are external regulation which is doing an activity or making a change in order to gain reward and avoid punishment (Keeler, 2015). Introjected regulation is making a change because you feel a sense of obligation to do so (Keeler, 2015).
Identified regulation is making a change to achieve a personal goal (Keeler, 2015). Integrated regulation is making a change because it’s confirming a sense of self (Keeler, 2015). This applied to my behavior change because my motivation to change my sleep pattern was extrinsic motivation. More specifically, it was introjected regulation because I felt on the inside that I needed to make a change. I knew that if I was able to get more consistent sleep I would feel more well rested which would result in a feeling of an internal reward.
If I continued with my sleeping patterns as they were before I would not be getting much sleep and would be more tired and irritable throughout the day resulting in a feeling of internal punishment (Ryan & Deci, 2000). The last type of motivation is intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is making a change or doing an activity because it is fun and enjoyable and doing it without any need for a reward and it is interesting to that person (Ryan, Williams, Patrick & Deci, 2009).
This didn’t apply to my behavior change, because I was extrinsically motivated to change my sleep pattern and it wasn’t something I was doing just because I wanted to do it. When going through the process of making my behavior change, I did end up changing my behavior throughout the 7 weeks. Originally my goal was to wake up at the same time every day (7:15am) and go to bed at the same time every night (in between 11:30pm and 12:00am). My behavior change was successful in the sense that I was able to wake up consistently at the same time everyday (7:15am).
However, the time that I was going to sleep every night instead of being between 11:30pm-12:00am, was between 1:30am-2:00am consistently. Therefore, I had to modify my behavior change to try and go to sleep before 1:00am. This was mainly due to things that were outside of my control but contributed to my stressful quarter. Things such as family health problems, different transitions in life and daily stressors would come up sporadically throughout the week, affecting my sleep schedule in a negative way.
I also found that it was unrealistic to wake up at 7:15am every single day. Because of this I modified my behavior change so I would wake up at 7:15am during weekdays, and would allow my self to sleep in on the weekends. This helped me to make sure I was able to get enough sleep. Some of the biggest barriers throughout my behavior change were in the initial 2 weeks of attempting the change. Up until this year I would be used to sleeping in until about 8:30am on average and going to bed between 1:00am and 2:00am, giving me enough rest for the next day.
While I was able to wake up consistently at the same time every morning, I would be extremely tired in the morning because my body was adjusting to my new sleep pattern. Once I made it past the first two weeks I was able to get used to the amount of rest I was getting to a point where my body would naturally wake up on its own around 7:05am most mornings. Some other barriers that made the behavior change difficult at first were living off campus for the first time and having to take into account the time it would take in the morning getting to campus.
Working a part-time job while taking classes, as well as balancing relationships and finding time to get work done during the day. These barriers made me feel like I would have to stay up later to get work done which as a result would make me more tired in the morning. Throughout the 7 weeks, my motivation shifted from extrinsic to intrinsic. I was waking up at a fairly early time every morning and in the early stages of the behavior change I wasn’t enjoying it because was really tired.
As I was doing it more and more consistently I found myself enjoying it more and more to a point where I wasn’t thinking about it as often and it was just becoming a part of my routine, which would make me feel better when I would wake up in the mornings. According to Fortier, Duda, Guerin and Texiera, people become more autonomous as they continue a behavior or change over time; motivation that was once extrinsic begins to turn more intrinsic (Fortier, Duda, Guedin & Texiera, 2012). So after reading through this, it made sense to me why my motivation seemed to be changing