I’ve always wondered what motivates people. One of the typical metaphors we use is “the carrot and the stick”. The carrot is your reward for achieving your goal and the stick is the punishment if you fail. We all relate to this because it brings together the two major types of motivational behavior. Understanding the relationship between motivation and commitment is essential for your self improvement.
Think about the metaphor for a moment, what is more important for you: the carrot or the stick?
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While there is obviously truth to the metaphor, the carrot and stick don’t necessarily translate into motivation for most of us. A part of that is because we are more evolved than this animalistic metaphor would suggest. Our ability to make a commitment is a key factor for motivation.
So how do you make a commitment? Let me ask you another question, what is the number one item in any personal development plan? It is, of course, that you need to write it down! Writing your objectives on paper is very important and I want to expand on this. You can test this out for yourself and let me know how it works for you.
The first thing is that you write the goal, on paper, in handwriting. Yes, I know we have computers these days, so the pen and paper may seem old fashioned. But trust me, writing with your own handwriting is very personal, and so is commitment and motivation.
The second thing you do is you write it down every day, and you read it to yourself aloud. From a neurology point of view, you’re activating different parts of your brain and this creates alignment, which enforces the commitment you’re making.
The third thing you do is you write it down and send it to people who are dear to you. No, you don’t send them an email, or ping them, tweet them, IM them or any other high-tech instantaneous thing. You send them a snail mail, with the envelope and the stamp. You’re better off writing them a letter as well, telling them what you’re doing. They will be delighted to be on your dear person list.
The fourth thing you do, after you send the letters, is that you write a letter to yourself with your objectives. Awkward as it may seem, the fact that you have all these letters going around is an incredible commitment and you’re motivation will skyrocket.
Once you get the letter you sent yourself, review where you are. My bets are on the fact that the public commitment will have increased your motivation beyond your expectations. You will be happy that people are counting on you and you will not want to disappoint them. You’ve just amplified the carrot and stick effect by a hundredfold.
Increase Your Comfort Zone for Self Improvement
Self improvement requires you going out of your comfort zone. Each time you push you comfort zone, it will expand and things that previously were difficult for you will become easier.
Until next time, be your best,