Where’s Your Carrot?

From psychology, we learn our motivation is stimulated directly by rewards.

My sister-in-law, Audra, explained this to me over lunch the other day. (She is studying to become a neuropsychologist.) I told her I was trying to figure out why on earth I couldn’t get motivated to do the one thing I love – write.

She said, “At its core, motivation is our desire to do things. Whether that desire is physiological or emotional, there is always a reward at the end.”

There’s always a reward at the end.

It’s like the proverbial carrot on a stick. If you have something to run for, you’ll run harder for it.

I had never looked at it that way before.

Just imagine how different you would feel about your work and the things on your “wish list” if you had a work-reward system in place.

For example, there’s a dress from my favorite store that I would like for the summer. If I bought it now though, I would feel guilty. I would justify my purchase with statements like, “Well … I’ve worked hard, and I deserve it.”

But, if I set up a work-reward system for myself, I could say something like this: If I make my income goal for April, my reward will be a new dress.

Either way, you still get your reward. The difference is that you’re motivated to work for it and you won’t feel guilty about “redeeming” your reward when the time comes.

It could be something as simple as taking an afternoon off. It could be a mid-week night out with your significant other or a movie or window-shopping at the mall. I’m happy as a clam with a little $4 bag of Jelly Bellies.

Or, maybe something more extravagant for meeting substantial milestones. If you land your first client, that pricy pair of shoes is now yours. Perhaps if you meet your yearly income goal, you get that cool gizmo you’ve had your eye on. (If I make my second quarter income goal, I’m definitely getting an iPhone!)

Whatever it is, set up your plan with a reward. Work your plan. And then make sure you give yourself the reward!

Your homework for today is to come up with your wish list of rewards and match them with the appropriate milestones. (Of course, the reward should be at the level of the work … Don’t go get a new car because you finished a single autoresponder series.)

Then, let me know what you’ve come up with in a comment here. Have you ever tried this system? Are you excited about it? I’d love to hear what you have to say!

And tomorrow, I’ll give you permission to do the one thing that could keep you motivated for months at a time … that you may be guilt-tripping yourself out of now.

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Published: April 2, 2013

3 Responses to “Where’s Your Carrot? ”

  1. Very interesting point of view. Occasionally I reward myself for an accomplishment but I have never thought to utilize it as a motivator. Thanks for the advice. Now to go write that list....

    Guest (Cheryl Lyons)April 2, 2013 at 2:11 pm

  2. I do take this method to heart with pretty much everything I do. An example would be working on my studies at school and reaching an A+ on an exam and afterwards I would go buy a movie that I like. I enjoy this method and I always suggest it to my family and friends.

    Guest (Katelynn)April 2, 2013 at 3:49 pm

  3. Great idea, Rae. I am motivated to market my business a bit more aggressively in hopes of earning enough income to make attending AWAI's Bootcamp this year a reality.

    Teri Weber - Enchanted CopyApril 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm

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