A lot of apps use some form of gamification to keep the users on track and motivated. For example see this screenshot of a language learning app (Memrise).
You have some bars being filled, some stars or marks getting checked for each day etc.
Very extrinsic motivators.
Now this might be okay for an app of this type. But suppose I have an app about personal development / self-improvement. The userbase here would of course have a higher intrinsic base-motivation, so they need less external factors to keep them active. But one would still like to have some extra motivating features in their app, to help the users with their behavioral change and to prevent early drop-outs.
Now what I'm actually wondering is, how would users who are using an app for deeper, serious reasons react to such design elements? For example if I used something like the loss aversion pattern, as Facebook did here. Would something like this be too obvious for users and make them think of the app as too shallow for using such "simple" things?
I'm already trying to avoid a lot of the gamification stuff because it is purely based on extrinsic motivation, so I would like to know if there are any elements one could use that foster intrinsic motivation or at least help with it somehow. Something that still looks "serious" to the user.
Of course I know: testing, interviews with your users to find out etc., but this is a more theoretical question and I'd like to see different possibilities and opinions.