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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Negative Motivators—Do they Work? by Janet Callaway | The Natural Networker

January is almost over. Are your New Year's Resolutions over too? I hope not.

If you have slipped a bit and find you are not doing what you would like with your fitness, business or personal goals, why not use a bit of reverse psychology on yourself?

Ever wondered if a negative motivator would work?

You tell me.

Let's say you want to accomplish something by a certain date. Success coaches, psychologists and “They,” the ones who know everything, will tell you to give yourself a reward when you achieve your goal.

What happens when you don't reach your goal? Do you just say “oh well” and then give yourself the reward a while later or does the reward you selected actually matter so little to you that you never seek it again?

What if you changed the rules a bit? What if, in addition to having the reward for achieving your goal, you had a consequence if you failed to do so? In order to be effective, that consequence would have to be painful for you.

One possible consequence is that you might have to be at the beck and call of someone you do not like who could ask you to perform any errand or task they wanted.  Agree to do favors/tasks for a person you do not like for a week and you could well find you will work harder to achieve your goal.

Maybe you are thinking you would rather give money than time. If you give money, it cannot be to a charity which you like and support.  Instead, it must be to support something that is the opposite of what you believe, be it religion, politics or any other topic—liberals give to conservative causes; anti-abortion gives to pro-abortion and so on.

Which would be the better motivator for you—a reward or a painful consequence?

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  1. lol...I laughed throughout this entire post because this positive/negative rewards thing is exactly how many dogs get trainer. Which proves my theory, people are dogs.

  2. Dino, in just my short time "knowing" you, it is obvious that subtlety is your strong suit. Thx for another smile. Aloha. Janet