s. ZZ: We know the numbers are increasing and that they are unlikely to go down again without tougher measures – but they will be eased anyway. What is happening now?
Lucas Thurmer: According to the latest polls, 60% of people vote Cosmo Monitor Measures continue to. This number is decreasing, but still significantly high. However, as humans, we tend to focus on declension, in which case trend reversal. The fact that people now continue to say that people want to relax and that Coronavirus parties are actually being celebrated everywhere actually reinforces this desire. This reporting indicates that a new carefree rule already exists.
Do you think people could hold out longer in lockdown?
It is sure to get harder and harder. But the numbers also say: There are still more than half. As a motivational scientist, I think the extent to which personal responsibility has worked so far in this pandemic is enormous, which is often very bad for me in reports. People have changed their behavior greatly this year. Now everyone is tired and exhausted, and it becomes difficult to keep motivation and energy levels high.
What do we need now to stay motivated?
Clear goal. A good plan for how to achieve this goal. A positive example from their group. These are the most important requirements for group motivation. Incidentally, it is a misunderstanding to think that a goal should be as achievable as possible for best motivation. Ambitious goals make more sense. Once this is determined, you no longer think about the pros and cons, but rather focus entirely on the path to the goal. Think sports: if you just want to get fit in some way, you most likely end up on the couch. When you are training for a marathon, you can focus on a training plan for that. Even if I don’t go the full distance after that, I miss the low target.
And in the case of the current pandemic, what would be the exact goal?
Personally, I find “No Covid” a really good target, the idea that you want the infection to be permanently down. In fact, we have been experiencing severe anxiety back and forth in Germany for several months, and in reality it is not possible to set a clear target. This also makes it impossible to agree on a plan to achieve the goal. We are permanently stuck in the “what,” which makes it very difficult to find the “how”.
A good “how-to” plan is the second prerequisite for ongoing stimulation.
Yep, you have to know exactly how to do it now with the target. So with Corona now a step-by-step plan or a traffic light concept, in any case something everyone understands, does not change again immediately and can be connected to all categories in an appropriate and easy-to-understand manner at the same time. My wife is from New Zealand, so it worked beautifully: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s goal was ‘No Covid’. And the concept of traffic lights was conveyed to very different population groups, even kindergarten children.
Why is role models so important for motivation in the current situation?
There are many studies on group behavior that show that when it comes to this point, what you have to do is less important than what other people are actually doing. The sign on the walking path that says you shouldn’t leave any litter here loses its strength if there is indeed litter at this point. Switched to Corona: If I now see more people outside in the spring, who are out and about in larger groups, it is more likely that I will also meet soon. My social norm changes, and the more similar these people are to me, the stronger it is.
We just run after others in this simple way?
I would rather say: we are allied with each other. It’s great when all goes well, but it becomes a problem when so many people withdraw – or you think many people withdraw. Here we go: We now need a common plan. And we have to be careful with short circuit as everyone is currently really too tired to stick to anything. This representation leads more quickly to the fact that it actually becomes so.