I always find it so surprising that as adults we tend to forget the simple wisdom we knew as children. When you were a child the idea that you would receive some reward at the end of a required task was enough to keep you on track. We abandoned that mindset as we grew up but don’t you think it could still be applied?
Can you turn your task into a game to get and stay motivated? I bet you can! (think GOLD STAR!)
Of course, as adults we don’t have teachers or parents to give us kudos or prizes so we have to do that part for ourselves. Note:. . . it is important to keep yourself from rewarding good habits with bad habits (i.e. a double chocolate milkshake after doing a Zumba class). This, of course, is pretty counter productive. So here are some real world (and healthy) ways to play the motivation game and keep yourself on track.
Determine Your Goal.
It is very difficult to remain focused when you don’t even know what you’re playing for. Don’t just keep a goal in mind – write it down. Put it somewhere you will see it every day. ( I write my goals on my bathroom mirror with an eye pencil or lipstick. Keeps it top of mind and a good reminder at the beginning and end of my day.)
Establish the Tasks.
To result in the accomplishment of your goal there will be a set number of tasks that take you from nothing accomplished to everything accomplished. Write these down too. That way you know where and when to focus your energy. (I’ve written a 30 day program that breaks down how to do this. Click here to learn more about “Work Your ‘But’ Off!”
Now you need to know the prizes. Each task along the way should be paired with a small prize. When we were kids we would get things like smiley face stickers or lollipops, but as adults we may have to be a little more creative. For each completed task perhaps you reward yourself with a walk around the block in the gorgeous summer weather. This means you have to stay indoors until the task is done and checked off the list. You may find yourself gazing out the window daydreaming about the sunshine but the sooner you finish the job the quicker you can be outside.
For the larger goal, you can establish a bigger reward. Consider the nicest thing you can do for yourself within your means. If you want to go to Vegas but you don’t have the budget you’ll end up with a negative result overall. Think about what you really want that you can do and when you can check the very last task off the list you can treat yourself. Maybe it is shopping for a new pair of shoes. Or a weekend at the beach condo. Or dinner and drinks out with friends.
So, is a game just the reward? Not necessarily. There are other ways to make your tasks into a game. Tasks don’t have to be arduous and unfun!
Challenge yourself as you’re working to make them fun and exciting. Set a timer and try to beat the clock as you accomplish a task. Or, if you know the task will take around an hour pick a CD or playlist of your favorite music and get the job done before it is finished. If you’re working with another person establish an easy going competition to see who can get their part done faster but not cut any corners.
Consider all the ways you can turn your goals into games and challenge yourself to make it happen!