Top Ten Tips on...

Incentivising Yourself

4 September 2022
Effective Top Tens - Podcast
Quick, practical tips on a wide range of management and personal development themes.
How do you keep going if it's a struggle? Here are 10 ways you can incentivise yourself to maintain momentum and reward achievement

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1

Promise yourself a reward

what that is, is entirely up to you, but it should be smart: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timeframed. And the timeframe of course is completion of the task.

2

Build a reward fund

this is built on the same principle as tip number one about rewards, but this time it's about building something that you feel long-term is almost unachievable that you'd never put yourself out to achieve because it would be too expensive or take too long. But if you start now, and add to the fund every time you achieve something of value, then over time it will build into something substantial. I know this is obvious, but if you put £1 a day into a fund, then by the end of a year you will have accrued £365 – not to be sneezed at!

3

Give yourself a reward catalogue

in effect this is a list of short, medium and long term rewards – or low, medium and high cost rewards – that form a catalogue, written by you, that you can dip into whenever you want to reward yourself.

4

Promise someone

most people hate letting other people down. So one way of incentivizing yourself, especially to do something you tend to avoid or put off, is to promise doing it for someone else. If you want to go running, but struggle to get out of bed in the morning, agree to meet with someone else for the run – that’s likely to lever you out of bed…!

5

Do it together

this really follows on from the previous tip – make a commitment to share the action or activity with someone else. Not only will you not want to let them down, but it’s also more fun to share…

6

Penalise failure

really this is the reverse of all the other tips. Instead of investing in gain, invest in pain! For example, within the family, commit to….something you don’t like doing, if you fail to deliver on time. Examples could include one or more domestic chores, or walking to the local shops rather than driving; or getting up an hour earlier than you would normally – whatever you would rather not do – and so would be incentivised to deliver your task rather than risk the pain…

7

Make it part of your identity

there’s a real psychological difference between doing a task because you have to, or because that’s who you are. In the first case, you and the task are separate, so it is easier to let it go; if on the other hand, the task is part of who you are, your identity, and partly defines you, then it is much harder to let it go. It’s the difference between ‘I have to go running, and I am a runner. It’s the difference between what you have to do, and who you are…

8

Chunk it down

if the task is long term or complex, break it down into smaller steps, which are much easier to focus on and achieve. Don’t eat the elephant whole – eat it in bite-size chunks!

9

Build a collection

like the earlier tips, you reward yourself with something of value, but doing so over an extended time period allows you to perhaps build a collection, so you can see the cumulative effect of your successes – such as a wine cellar, or a collection of porcelain, or shrubs or plants in the garden.

10

Invest in the feel good factor

unlike all the other tips, this is not tangible, or requiring material investment. It is purely psychological – the benefit you get from the satisfaction of achieving something.

Effective Top Tens - Podcast
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