Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Motivation | Reward yourself for everything!

I know that I owe you a part 2 to the post on the dangers of not being conscious but I have something special to share this with you. Last week I practiced a new technique to motivate me into action that worked so well that I had to tell everyone.  You may remember me mentioning that I'm motivated by pain avoidance rather than pleasure seeking.  I've been racking my brain trying to understand the reason behind this.  Then I heard a presentation by Darren Hardy on the Compound Effect.  In it, he talked about how if we do eat a piece cake, we are rewarded with the pleasure sensations of consuming the yummy chocolate.  But if we drink a cup of water, there's no (immediate) reward.  This is the reason why we keep eating not so healthy foods while shunning habits where the reward is delayed.

Then I thought back to the book The Power of Habit, where the author describes a scenario where a chimpanzee is rewarded with a treat each time it took a desired action.  As soon as the chimpanzee recognized that he'd be rewarded for taking an action, he was very complaint.  When the handlers stopped providing the treat after the action was taken the monkey had withdrawals.  They also talked about how Americans developed the habit of brushing daily AFTER mint oil was added to the ingredients.  Mint provided a clean mouth feeling as a reward from brushing.  It's the reward, my friends, that keeps us going back for more.

That's when I realized that my problem with staying motivated comes from the fact that there's no immediate reward for what I have done.  The reward comes much later after days, weeks, or even years after repeating the same behavior over and over again.
My first move was to immediately implement a system to reward myself for reaching milestones with my goals.  If I reached milestone #1, I would treat myself to a pedicure, milestone #2, a massage.  Milestone #3, lunch at my favorite sushi restaurant and so on.  Just the act of writing the rewards down next to all of my goals was invigorating.  I was so excited that I wanted to implement the same technique to motivate me to doing things that I'd been putting off.  After washing the dishes, I rewarded my self with a cup of bamboo tea.  Once I cleaned the bathroom, I lit my favorite candle.  Pretty much anything could be paired with a reward to motivate me into action.    Once I did the thing, I immediately rewarded myself.  This allowed me to associate pleasure with taking action on boring tasks.  It didn't take long for the desire for the reward began to drive my behavior into action.

When I wrote down my to-do list, I would jot down a reward next to the to-do.

I love this technique because
#1 It seems to work well as a daily motivator
#2 It's a method I can use to generate internal, self motivation
#3 It's pretty simple.

I'm not rewarding myself with crazy expensive things, just simple gestures to acknowledge the effort I put in.  Applying this method, I've been able to motivate my self to log 10,000 steps a day using my FitBit.  I've also attacked some things from my to-do list that have been haunting me for months.  Previously, I would buy myself something because I wanted it.  Now, I ask myself "how can I use this item as a reward for taking some sort of action?"

Give this technique a shot to help kickstart your goals that you want to achieve in 2015.  Break it down into tiny steps and reward yourself for every step taken.

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