Listen to these three variations on a theme:
“That piano, in the living room, has been sitting untouched for months. I’m gonna start playing again.”
“I’ll pick up piano again when my schedule is less busy and I have more time to practice”
“Starting January 1st, I promise to play the piano for one hour, three evenings a week. I will plan out which evenings I will play at the beginning of each week. If I miss my goal by Sunday evening, I have to give up coffee the following week.”
Whoa, hold on!
Can you hear the huge difference in that last statement? Yup, that’s a promise! It’s clear, concise, AND has a consequence. And, guess what, it works miraculously! Most people are very receptive to the notion that they can make any dream come true by making the right specific promises … however, when it comes to the part about giving up your morning cup of coffee for a whole week, they have their doubts.
Who would willingly want to do that?!
Even the most committed, inspired people occasionally bristle against this aspect of HG coaching when they first sign up. The idea of punishing yourself seems counterintuitive to the ultimate goal of self-love and contentment, doesn’t it?
I often hear: “Do I have to make a consequence? Can’t I get the same result if I back each promise with a specific reward?”
No, and here’s why.
There is much literature on the psychology of loss aversion that explains why people are more motivated by negative versus positive reward systems, but you don’t need to be a neuroscientist to understand it. Simply put, rewards get boring. If you win something every time you keep your promise, those little rewards lose their value, and you lose your motivation.
At the heart of the matter, the promise IS the reward.
When you promise to eat vegetables, drink water, skip soda, get out of bed without hi