July 17, 2018

Reward Behaviour, Not Milestones

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I was reading recently some article or book about getting off your ass and doing shit. And I remember thinking this: Reward each action you take. Or, better said, reward behaviour.

It basically means that whenever you choose a target or a goal, you define the actions you need to take to get you there and, instead of celebrating hitting specific milestones, you celebrate the consistency of doing those actions over and over again, until you achieve what you set your mind to achieve.

Let’s say you want to lose weight. Don’t celebrate losing 1kg, 5kgs or even 10kgs. Celebrate, instead, the fact that you got to the gym 3 times a week, as planned. Celebrate you had 1 day, 3 days, a week, a month, a year of eating well. As Cristina does, when she celebrates being consistent with logging the meals she eats in MyFitnessPal for 800 days. Not an easy feat, I tell you, as I only kept at it about 40 days, the most, without a break in habit.

When you celebrate milestones and targets you risk being demotivated when it takes longer than you planned initially. When you celebrate and reward your own behaviour you allow yourself to fail from time to time. You just need to get back in the saddle.

It worked for me for the last 6-7 years, since I first started to pay more attention to my actions and I kept my focus on a goal at a minimum. It actually made it easier for me to achieve what I wanted. But it took me several years to get there and I’m still a work in progress.

One final thought: you still need targets, because they help you establish the actions you want to take and they can also be tracked more easily. But focus on the consistency of actions initially and, once you get those working, go back to your goals.

The photo is just some really tasty ice cream I chose to reward my behaviour. You should try it, too