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The Ulysses Pact is a technique for holding yourself accountable to stick with a goal even when it’s hard. The key ingredient in a Ulysses Pact is that we make a choice in the present (when things are relatively easy) that binds us to perform an action in the future (when things are hard). For example, suppose you want to stick to a plan of going for a run two times per week in the morning with a friend. You could write your friend a series of checks, each for $20, and instruct them to cash one and use the money on whatever they want if you miss a workout with them.
Chunking works to increase our motivation because by splitting things into smaller pieces, it increases our sense of self-efficacy, the belief that we can successfully accomplish a goal. For example, a number like 28932798288 it might be easier to remember if you chunked it. 289-932-798-288 now it might be easier to remember.
Employees are more likely to come to management with useful suggestions and feedback if managers listen to that feedback carefully, take it seriously, and offer genuine thanks and appreciation. Pick a small amount of reading you would like to do each evening. Let’s say 1 chapter. Choose a small but enjoyable reward. I like Oreo's. Keep your copy of Moby Dick and your reward on the shelf by the coach. Each time you finish your chapter, put the book away and reward yourself with an Oreo.
Visualizing works on a simple principle of motivation that says the more specific, concrete, and available our mental representation of a goal and its benefits are, the more we’ll feel motivated to achieve it. Meaning, if you are trying to have a consistent exercising habit, try to visualize the outcome. See the benefits and how it can help you so that in turn you'll feel more motivated to achieve it.
When you feel upset that you couldn't complete something instead of talking down to yourself look at it positively. Try to get a different perspective as to why you couldn't complete it. Avoid harsh and negative self talk and try a gentle positive self talk.
Advice from comedian Jerry Seinfeld telling someone:
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.
The point of this is that every day you get to put a big red X over that day giving the feeling of accomplishment (the positive reinforcement). And the avoiding the thought of losing that streak you created is the negative reinforcement. When you finish a task cross it out with a big X. Continue this and "Don't break the chain".
A social support person could help help you stay motivated. For example, if your end goal is to lose 30 pounds, tell your social support person that their job is to help you show up at the gym 5 days a week, nothing more. The more focused you and your social support person are on the regular routines you need to do to be successful, the more likely you are to stay motivated to stick with them.
Suppose you’re working on staying motivated to keep up your journaling habit every evening. But you find yourself regularly procrastinating on doing it. Instead of fighting this, build in a little enjoyable activity right before your journaling.
Chances are, if you give yourself permission to procrastinate in small ways on a regular basis and in a structured deliberate way, you’ll be less likely to end up procrastinating in major, chaotic ways.
When you do your task of the day keep a notepad and pencil. Whenever you notice you are getting distracted quickly right it down on the notepad. Once the task is completed look at your list for anything that's important before addressing it. The list will help you address your distraction to deal with them in the future.
Avoid negative self-talk at all costs. Text your social support buddy right away and own the slip-up. Avoid over-interpreting failure. Acknowledge that at some point you will fall off the wagon and slip up. And when you do, remind yourself that it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Slip-ups happen. If you are consistently slipping up in the same way, do some reflection.
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