I have never been one to make New Years’ Resolutions. But if you did make a list this year, it’s pretty likely that you’re starting to slip. You can’t seem to find the time. Your goals have changed. January is over, and 2014 is getting old.
I don’t have a motivational quote or a success story. But I can give you a new incentive. You’ve probably already tried conditioning your own behavior through positive reinforcement. This rewards system includes the time you pigged out on a sundae for finishing a project and the time you went on a shopping spree after losing five pounds. Psychologists have shown that positive reinforcement can be an extremely effective stimulus. Rewards are a great way to acknowledge good behavior and promote the development of positive habits.
But if rewards haven’t worked for you in the past, why not try something new?
Try punishment. Pledge to lose something if you don’t keep your resolution. Since this is a blog mostly dedicated to fundraising for the affordable housing problem, pledge a donation to Bike and Build each time you stray from what you set out to do. It can be $1, $10 or $100 each time you miss a workout, skip class, or forget to blog. You are the only person who can determine the appropriate price to pay for “failure”. I don’t like the word failure, but I can’t think of a more suitable and concise alternative. Price to pay for “falling off the horse, but then brushing yourself off and getting right back on” is closer to what I actually mean. You get the idea.
You might know this already, but self-punishment requires a certain level of honesty and accountability. Be honest about the incentive you’ll need to actually stick to your goals, and be honest when you don’t stick to them.
You might even find that the initial pain of losing $1 (or $10 or $100) is replaced by pleasure from supporting a great cause.