By Dawn Onley
Gyms are abuzz with people at the start of each New Year. Resolutions are fresh on everyone’s mind and people are driven to finally see them through.
Somehow by March, the numbers have drastically decreased, and the regulars can once again get a treadmill with little to no effort.
What happened in those two short months? Why did momentum wane?
This scenario is so common, the imminent failure so real, it has even caused some people to forgo resolutions. And who could blame them?
I mean, why bother, right?
What if I told you there is a path to staying motivated? One that you can customize to suit your situation and personality, but essentially it’s the same for everyone. It’s the same concept that some educators have used for eons to incentivize learning and to make goals more attainable.
It’s a system of reward and reinforcement.
The first part offers a reward at various stages of accomplishing the goal, to keep you motivated. The reward doesn’t have to cost anything, but it has to be something you really value. It has to be something you look forward to receiving. And you cannot cheat and receive the reward without accomplishing various stages of the goal. The second part, reinforcement, relies on a secondary person that can hold you accountable (by timeframe, by goals reached, by pounds lost or any other metric you wish to put in place). It is very important that this person be someone who will demand of you what you said you would deliver. This person should be able to remind you of your end goal when you are at your most vulnerable, and resist your excuses, complaints and pleas for more time. But you must keep your end of the bargain or it doesn’t work.
Motivation takes self-discipline to incite or impel us to act. We are all motivated at some point to accomplish goals, but the key is to keep the motivation, especially when we don’t feel like it.
This requires us to seek help. This also requires us to do the work. There is no panacea or magic elixir that will circumvent hard work, strategy and perseverance. But reward and reinforcement encourage us in the process. It works for me. Give it a try and see if it works for you.