zen habits : breathe

Top 20 Motivation Hacks – #11

Quick intro: I first intended this Top 20 list to be in a single post, but I decided that breaking them into separate posts would allow me to concentrate on each a little more. So, I present my list of the Top 20 Motivation Hacks.

A number of people have commented that I must be dedicated to achieve some of the goals I’m going for: exercise, frugality, organization, healthy eating, etc. Well, I don’t believe in someone being naturally “dedicated” … it’s all a matter of motivation. You can achieve anything if you motivate yourself enough.

Motivation Hack #11: Reward yourself. Often.

And not just for longer-term goals, either. In Hack #12, I talked about breaking larger goals into smaller, mini goals. Well, each of those mini goals should have a reward attached to it. Make a list of your goals, with mini goals, and next to each, write down an appropriate reward. By appropriate, I mean 1) it’s proportionate to the size of the goal (don’t reward going on a 1-mile run with a luxury cruise in the Bahamas); and 2) it doesn’t ruin your goal — if you are trying to lose weight, don’t reward a day of healthy eating with a dessert binge. It’s self-defeating.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have sweet rewards now and then, even if you’re trying to eat healthy. But make them smaller treats, and only on occasion. For example, I often reward myself on the weekend for a good week of eating healthy and resisting temptations. This is not a daily reward, but once a week. And on the weekends, I often go for a run (or do a race), do my Sunday bike ride, and yard work. I’m burning off that sweet weekend reward anyway.

Rewards can be anything you like. Some of mine have included sweet treats, new running shoes, a running mp3 player, books, running clothes, dinner at a nice restaurant, or other things I’ve been holding back on because I’m trying to be frugal. You might also like a massage, or shoes, or clothes, or a manicure or facial. I’m not that into those things, but you might be.

At any rate, don’t just indulge yourself — celebrate! Feel good about your accomplishment, and look back on all the hard work you put in. It’s important that you make a big deal about it, because this will make you feel good about your goal activities, and motivate you to do more. Tell family and friends about it. Be proud of yourself. Give yourself a gold star.
Top 20
#20
#19
#18
#17
#16
#15
#14
#13
#12
#11
#10
#9
#8
#7
#6
#5
#4
#3
#2
#1



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