Micro Rewards

Making progress happens with consistent action, but motivation is usually the issue.

Having long-term motivations are great, such as visualizing yourself on stage playing or speaking to a sold-out stadium, or interviewing Oprah, or picturing your book on the NYTBS list. They­ help keep you pointed on the right course.

But sometimes high-minded motivations aren’t enough when you are in the mud, doing the work. That’s where short-term micro-rewards (microwards?) come into play. Short term motivations adjust you to the long-term vision.

Over time, you can incrementally change your behavior to complete hard tasks by motivating yourself with a healthy reward if you complete the work first.

I say ‘healthy reward’ because the last thing you want to do is make a micro reward unhealthy. (Eating cake after every time you finish a blog post is not going to do you any favors)

Think of I­t­ like, ‘I would love to do X but first I will do Y’. You’re not depriving yourself of pleasure, you’re just pushing I­t­ off and actually making the pleasure more enjoyable. ‘No one loves water like a man who is thirsty’ (Someone said that once... probably) Of course, I’m not telling you to stop drinking water until you work out. (That’s silly) The absence and gap between allowing yourself a little treat are all the more rewarding.

A great example is a vacation. Planning and daydreaming about a vacation you're about to go on is usually more enjoyable than the vacation itself!

Micro Rewards give you the discipline to focus on what you really want, versus what you’re mood, mind, and body says you want in the moment.

Want to watch an episode of The Runaways? Great idea, but finish writing your two pages of your book first.

Want to read Tech Blogs? Good! Me too. Just make sure you call a friend you’ve been meaning to talk to first.

Want to go out for a drink? Okay, but first practice your piano scales.

Small daily habits towards our long-term goals are how we achieve them.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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"For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward." — Jim Rohn