Bribe Your Way to Epic Success

Black panther

“Black panther” photo by LoggedOnUser CC BY-SA 2.0

Have you done the New Year’s Resolution thing?  My inbox was blowing up all through December with goal setting worksheets, webinars, and courses.   I completed exactly none of them.   I didn’t need to because I have discovered a secret weapon:  BRIBERY.

This year, I will be employing calculated rewards to Jedi mind trick myself into consistent action.

This year I will GET. THINGS. DONE.

Top of that mission list is, of course, a wellness goal:   Panther-like grace, strength & agility.

Have you ever seen a panther limp?  A panther with sore joints? Have you ever seen a panther with too much pain & inflammation to panther?  ME NEITHER.

Many of us start the year with panther goals.  If you’re here, I know your health is important to you and you’ve got panther goals too:  Pain-free movement.  Keep up with your grandkids.  Age in place.  Sleep like a rock.  Ride your bike, swim, and walk all day without knee or hip pain.  Have just one day without a headache, back ache, or crick in your neck.  Healthy gut. Healthy hormones.  Healthy bones.

You’d LOVE to be strong, agile, supple, fierce…like a panther.

Now if not sooner.

So how to get there?  Conventional wisdom says you start by setting a goal.  Ideally, one that focuses on achieving a measurable outcome and taking action steps to get there within a specific timeframe.  Well, DUH!  Of course.  SMART goals are kind of old news.  You have to know what you want to get there.  You have to know what it looks like, what action is required, and what resources you need to make that happen.

You have to DO. THE. THING.  You have to follow through.  Nothing in the world will change if you if you don’t DO. THE. THING!

This is not rocket science.  And yet, we fail again and again at making lasting progress, in spite of our goals being crystal clear in our minds.  In spite of knowing what steps we need to take to get there.  That’s because follow through does not rely on rocket science…it relies on neuroscience.

If you want a behaviour to become a habit, you need a reward.  Not an abstract one, like “satisfaction from a job well done” but a very specific one that is tied directly and immediately to the behaviour you want to reinforce.  Remember Pavlov and his drooling pooch?  Pavlov used consistent rewards for a very specific behaviour to make that dog his b****.  (Couldn’t resist.)

Rewarding follow through is the hands-down ultimate key to success.

Which brings us back to bribery.  If you want a new habit to stick, reinforce it with a bribe.  It’s simple.

  • MELT every day for a week…Earn a celebratory fancy coffee.  Notice how much better you’re sleeping already…
  • MELT every day for a month…earn a mani-pedi.  Notice that you can bend over and touch those fancy toes, and your rings are less tight on your fingers…
  • MELT every day for six weeks…earn a night at the movies.  Standing up after sitting still for several hours no longer makes you wince.
  • MELT every day for two months…earn a fancy dinner out.  Your improved digestion can accommodate a wider range of foods more easily.
  • MELT every day for six months…treat yourself to dance classes. Your foot pain is gone and you can wear those smokin’ hot heels.
  • MELT every day for a year….earn a holiday.  You can follow that tour guide all over the place without pain or fatigue.

So this year when you’re setting your health goals, definitely do the SMART goal thing.  Make those goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

But then take it to the genius level.  Make’em SMART-R.  Add the Reward.

You’ll be panthering all over the place before you know it.

You go, you panther you!

Want help with your panther goals?  I’ve got you.  

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