Raising the stakes

If your employer was going to take your retirement contributions away if you don’t lose 20 pounds over the next 90 days, how motivated would you be to get on the treadmill?

The problem with most diets is that there is nothing on the line.

If you fail, you can try again later.

“I’ll start again on Monday” (or the New Year, or after the holidays, or on the first of October…)

We don’t have enough willpower to just get up and change our status quo. We can’t do it on our own.

Here’s the good news though. One of your greatest assets that all human beings possess is our ability to adapt.

It’s possible to create incentives. To nudge ourselves out of our comfort zone while leveraging our environment.

For instance, you can buy a gym membership and block out Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 6:00 am to 7:00 am to go to the gym. What were to happen over the next 18 months if you were to do that?

That might not be enough if you stop going to the gym and are wasting money on a gym membership. But what if you wrote a check to your favorite non-profit and handed it to your best friend to send in if you don’t reach your target goals? (Apparently, that works quite well.)

The question isn’t How am I to do this? No, start with the question of How do I raise the stakes so that I will feel the pressure to perform at my best?