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Rewarding

 

Techniques Willpower > Doing > Rewarding

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Promise yourself a reward of some kind when you do those things that you know you should do, but somehow are not getting around to doing.

Ensure the reward is proportionate to the size of the effort you have to make and that you feel you deserve it. Avoid rewards that are either so small they are not motivating or too big, such that it seems like 'easy money'. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to use the smallest reward that motivates.

Rewards you can use include:

  • Sitting down and having a good cup of coffee
  • Going to see a movie
  • Going shopping!
  • Buying something online that you have had your eye on
  • Going out with some friends
  • Playing a video game
  • Phoning an old friend for a good chat

Example

A person who hates ironing has been letting it build up. They do it after promising themselves they will watch a movie with a glass of wine afterwards.

A student who has been putting off writing an essay decides they will not go out with their friends until they have finished it.

Discussion

In many situations rewards can be hazardous as they motivate you to get the reward but not do what is right just because it is the right thing to do. In other words, they create extrinsic motivation rather than intrinsic motivation.

One way that rewards do help to create intrinsic motivation is when the reward is quite small. We still have to justify to ourselves why we took the action, and saying we did it 'for a cup of coffee' seems odd, so we subconsciously decide that it was because we like doing the action. In this way, you can break habits by using small rewards.

See also

Intrinsic Motivation, Extrinsic Motivation

 

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