Tag Archives: motivation

Does rewarding good grades with money work?

“Mastery” — Tiger Woods by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

When money is used to reward children for activities that should have inherent value, they tend to lose interest in the activity as well as long-term motivation. Also, monetary reward can reduce creativity and encourage unethical behavior such as cheating.

There is an exception. When a task is repetitive, boring and doesn’t require creativity, such as pulling weeds or vacuuming, then paying money can increase productivity (although paying for chores is another topic.)

Giving a child money for good grades reduces the child’s sense of achievement and ownership. Money becomes the motivation — not learning, meeting the challenges of school, or improving oneself.

Three Elements to Motivation

In his book “Drive,” Daniel Pink shows that there are three primary elements to motivation in all but the most repetitious monotonous work: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

1. Autonomy: Allowing people maximal autonomy in figuring out how, when and with whom to accomplish their work increases inventiveness and performance.

2. Mastery: Mastery is approached through engagement, effort and practice.

3. Purpose: Inspiration is personally acquired; it can’t be supplied by other people, though it can be diminished. When people find a purpose greater than their own self-interest, their drive intensifies.

When your child gets good grades, the learning and the grades themselves are generally reward enough. Much of the purpose of schoolwork is to teach a child how to plan, analyze, and think creatively. Schoolwork also teaches two of the most important keys to a fulfilling and happy life:

– the ability to delay gratification and

– the ability to tolerate frustration.

Schoolwork should convey knowledge and encourage children to set goals and achieve them. The inherent appeal of learning and achieving goals are undermined when the purpose of schoolwork becomes making money. In contrast, achieving good grades without being paid for them allows children to have ownership over their accomplishments and to feel pride in their own autonomy.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

*Recommended : Daniel H. Pink’s “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.”

Read “Inspire vs. Pushing: ‘Why don’t you just believe in yourself!'”

Developing New Habits:
“I never exercise the way I should. I went to the gym twice and then gave up.”

"Long Drive" by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

It is not easy to change old habits, but it can be done. Research shows that people who are successful in developing new habits, such as exercising, tend to apply the following guidelines to motivate themselves:

1. Focus on pleasure. Frame your new habit in terms of what will give you pleasure. Remind yourself that you’re choosing a healthy lifestyle, which is more pleasurable than one of inactivity.

Choose a sport or exercise that interests you or that will bring you joy. Don’t go to the gym if you’d rather go on a walk outside. Figure out a way to enjoy the activity, such as doing it to music or with a friend.

2. Make a step-by step plan. Having a series of intermediate goals rather than one over-arching goal diminishes your fear of failure and the magnitude of the goal.

3. Implement change in increments. We can change our habits dramatically if we change them incrementally.

Consistency is key. So start with realistic expectations of yourself. For example, start with a minimum of five or ten minutes of exercise a day, though you might aspire to an hour a day. You’re more likely to develop a new habit if your goals are achievable. Starting is the hard part. Once you start walking or swimming and enjoying it, it’s easier to stay out longer.

4. Reflect on regrets and benefits. Think of how much you’ll regret it if you don’t exercise. Research shows that a few moments of reflecting on potential regret will motivate a person to get started.

5. Tell your family and friends. Telling others of your goals helps motivate you to achieve them and might also encourage them to participate. When you state your goals publicly, you increase your motivation to live up to them, and you also garner the support of others.

6. Reward yourself. Be grateful for every step you take and give yourself a reward for every intermediate goal achieved.

Exercise becomes easier the more you pursue it, because it triggers mood-enhancing endorphins, and gives you more energy, health, and vitality, making it increasingly desirable in itself.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen

Read “Sports Psychology I — GOALS: ‘I really want to win, but I never do.'”

Reference: Richard Wiseman, Author of “59 Seconds: Think a little, Change a lot.”