What keeps you motivated?

Autumn has begun. I don’t know about you, but where I live, as beautiful as it is when the leaves change colour, it is also a precursor to the immnent and seemingly endless deep-freeze of winter. Along with the cold and snow comes shorter days and longer nights, the darkness arriving before leaving work, and staying until work begins the next morning. At times like this, it is difficult to stay motivated. It becomes far too easy to sit on th couch, curled up under a blanket, a cozy fire in the fireplace, and a good book or endless hours of TV.

Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? It kind of is. But it also means projects aren’t being worked on and goals aren’t being met.  So how, over the winter months, can you stay motivated?

I am a big believer in rewards. I believe we all respond far more positively to rewards rather than the threat of punishment. Wouldn’t you rather work on something if you knew there is some kind of reward waiting for you, be it an hour of reading, or watching TV, or something else you enjoy? In psychology this is called rewarding good behaviour through positive reinforcement.

Punishing bad behaviour may be effective once or twice as a deterrent, but it can wear on us after a while. We will tire of avoiding the punishment, tire of being called bad or lazy and trying to prove the label wrong. When we work towards something positive, we are more likely to be willing to repeat that positive behaviour, in this case working on a goal or project. We are more willing to repeat this behaviour because we feel good about ourselves. And we will work harder to achieve a better reward.

My favourite reward is time to read, or a trip to the bookstore.

How do you reward yourself to stay motivated?

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