Working hard isn’t all that amusing. Working hard without any reward whatsoever is just plain ridiculous. I mean, sure, the satisfaction of knowing you did a good job is a reward in itself, but additional positive reinforcement is what makes us tick. The video game industry found out about that, and since that day, every game has “dem cheevo’s”: little pop-ups that inform you about the fact that you just did something wicked. Well, at least some of those do that. These days, most of them give you a pat on the shoulder for just moving two steps forward. Sigh…
Anyway, this week’s Geek Jitsu is not about how modern-day games have turned achievements into nothing but annoying bleeps. Today, we’ll talk about creating your own achievements to hunt after while getting all healthy, and why rewarding yourself is so important!
Last week, we talked about setting and knowing your goals. Once you know those, define some “milestones” for them. Say you want to lose 10 kilogram. Of course, you don’t want that magical ten to be your only goal. Break it up into smaller milestones: losing 1 kilo, losing 3, losing 5, and then that challenging haul to your goal of 10 kilo’s less on your ribs. When defining your milestones, don’t forget that challenging yourself is essential as well. If your goals are too easy to reach, they won’t be a challenge, and a reward without a proper challenge before it is really shallow.
Now that you have your milestones, turn them into achievement. Really, turn them into something physical that you can rip off or scratch through once you achieve it. You could just make a list of your milestones, and strike them off as you reach them, or you could design some Xbox or WoW’ish achievement pictures with cool names for each cheevo. It’s cool to not just having reached the “Lose 5 kilogram” goal, but to have unlocked the “I got five off it” achievement! Make it physically satisfying to unlock your goals, and put them somewhere where you can see them. Scratch that, put them somewhere where everyone can see them. Peer pressure is a great source of motivation (in moderate amounts).
Finally, make sure to reward yourself when you hit an achievement. Your reward should be proportional to the difficulty you had to reach your goal. If you lost your first kilo, allowing yourself some sweets is okay, but diving into a feeding frenzy at the Taco Bell is not. However, making that final goal of dropping 10 kay-gee, should be celebrated. Allow yourself a nice weekend trip where you don’t care too much about your diet, or buy yourself that gaming laptop you have been staring at for months now. You achieved something, and you deserve some recognition for that!
So, until next week, turn your goals into those achievements and start chasing them. Let’s see who can gather the most achievement points until then, shall we?