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Using rewards to reach a goal is not uncommon.  It’s done all the time in business as employers reward their employees with bonuses, trips and days off for a job well done.  Retail stores motivate their customers to shop with them by offering discounts and loyalty cards you get punched each time you buy something there with the promise of something free the next time you come it.

You may be familiar with the two types of motivation called Intrinsic and Extrinsic.  Intrinsic motivation is when a person is motivated from within him or herself.  They work on a task or project or to achieve a goal simply for the love of doing it.  Extrinsic motivation is when a person works on a task or tries to reach a goal, but is rewarded when that goal or steps to that goal are reached.

Studies have shown that intrinsic is a better motivator than extrinsic but most of us are spoiled to the point of not doing something unless we’re rewarded.  Motivation is a behavior you can influence to your advantage.

But realize that even a highly motivated person can get discouraged or tired of working on a task if he’s not noticed and rewarded. People need to know they’re appreciated and that their good work does not go unnoticed.

We’re all different and all motivated by different things.  What motivates you may not motivate your spouse or your boss.  It’s a valued skill when you’re able to match the type of motivation with the person to be motivated.  Try different things and when one doesn’t work try another until the desired results are accomplished.

Employers do this all the time but many use fear motivation with the threat that you could lose your job if you don’t do the work.  This is not a permanent solution and most companies who implement this kind of motivation experience a high rate of employee turnover.

Begin with a realistic goal but a goal that is challenging and you’ll feel a sense of pride when it’s accomplished.  If you’re trying to lose weight for instance and your goal is to lose 10 pounds in 3 months, reward yourself for every milestone reached.

If you lost 3 pounds in the first month, celebrate by going to lunch with a friend or treat yourself to a pedicure.  (Both men and women enjoy this.)  Be happy with the reward and you’ll start anticipating the loss of your next 3 or 4 pounds.

If you tend to cheat and find it difficult to stick to the rules, work with a friend who will keep track of your progress and administer the reward when they’re earned.  Make the reward irresistible to you and make it worthwhile even though it doesn’t have to be expensive.  The experience you associate with the reward is what will keep you motivated.

Motivation rewards work for almost any desired goal and can work wonders with children.  Remember to have your reward aligned with your goal and you’re on the way to reaching your target with fun and anticipation.

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