Pay Yourself Now To Stick To Your Goals Later

We’re all busy people, and there’s no doubt that it’s difficult to stick to our goals, especially when it comes to things that demand willpower to work towards, like eating healthier. The key here is that you have a limited supply of willpower, and when it’s gone it’s tough to stay motivated to do the hard things, even if they’re good for us. The solution? Pay yourself now to bolster your motivation later.

Photo by Hotel Casa Velas.

Derek Thompson, writing for The Atlantic, explains that not only do most of us give ourselves too much credit when we ring in the new year and plan out our New Year’s Resolutions (how are you doing on those, by the way?) and plan a wealth of positive life changes we’re going to make, but we also dive headfirst into systems that are designed to keep us from meeting those goals. He explains that most gyms are set up to enrol people who want to get in shape and want to exercise, but are also set up to be unappealing to those same people, encourage them to show up once every month or so, get a half-hearted workout, and then leave, never to be seen from again — aside from their monthly membership fee.

The key, Thompson explains, is to pay yourself now, with real cash, for working towards your goals. He points to Gym-Pact, an app we’ve discussed before, as a great example of how you can give your motivation an extra push with something that matters more to you than skipping a day on your gym membership: the potential to make real money right now, instead of the long-off goal of a healthier body and mind. Ideally, you can pay yourself in a number of ways, not just with cash, but money is, after all, a great motivator.

Giving yourself an incentive up front to make a difficult challenge easier isn’t a new idea, but applying it to exercise and health is a little unconventional. Have you use a similar trick to take the pressure off your willpower as a motivator and stick to your goals? Share your tips in the comments below.

This Is Why You Don’t Go To The Gym [The Atlantic]

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