When you were a child, you were subject to two kinds of motivation – positive motivation and negative motivation. When you did something bad, you were scolded and that was an example of negative motivation. But, when you did something good, you were rewarded, maybe with a smile or a hug, or even a gold star on the fridge. That positive motivation made you want to keep doing good things, yet sometimes negative motivation angers the recipient so much that they only keep doing the bad ones.
Schools have long known that a system of positive motivation techniques is far more effective at keeping children in line. By using a system of rewards for even the most minute positive behavior, children are more apt to pay attention, do the right thing, and help others. The same is true for adults. A salesperson who works on commission is being rewarded in much the same way – the better job they do, the more money they make.
You can also use positive motivation to alter your own behavior, and for us adults that usually means how much we eat or drink, whether we smoke or not, or if we are sticking to our exercise plan. For you, it might mean taking control of your financial situation. Whatever the problem or issue that you need to change, using positive motivation as a way to do it is always the best way.
In other words, if you need to lose weight, instead of denying yourself and punishing yourself with more exercise every time you eat too much, think about putting a reward out there a few month’s ahead, like a vacation or that pair of shoes you have always wanted. By rewarding yourself, you will be more apt to continue doing whatever it is that you need to be doing.