We all seem to need them, but what makes a good incentive?
Take my bodybuilding challenge, or Kash's marathon: They are meant as proper challenge of mind and body. They are huge undertakings and due to the length of preparation time one has to be careful to not lose track of progress. If something unforeseen happens one might consider calling it off, as time is running out and one might fail anyway. For some people they don't work as an incentive because they are just too big to take on in the first place.
Then there are little incentives which are meant to make you just a bit fitter, look a bit better, get a bit better... like our team challenge Kash VS 3 ladies. I have to admit... I chicken out whenever I can. Neither Kash nor the ladies will kill me for it. They might even help me find a good reason, or using the one or the other excuse for themselves. But it's not just that, the gain I take from it is just not important enough right now. Kash is doing fine and will cope with or without me, the whole thing just adds a bit of spice to his training, and I would get fitter and thinner, but ...
... there is always a 'But'!
We use incentives to shift things up the priority list. We think we should do something a bit more but we don't actually feel like it, and so we create a situation to push it. That is working short term, but...
... those 'more important' things always find a way back into our lives. It is natural: if there is something we like doing more, why shouldn't we? If there is something expect a greater benefit of, why not pursuing hit harder?
This is the reason why things always have to become really bad before we take action: When things are bad the gain for the effort of getting out becomes bigger, that is a big incentive. We are after the big gain!
A big challenge like a marathon: Imagine all those people cheering, knowing that you can do it, that you can trust your body, your mind and your judgement about yourself, that you are the person you would like to be seen. That is something that stays with you for life.What a gain!
Fitting into this dress, just because I have it in my wardrobe: not so much. Fitting into this dress because I want to show it and me off at a wedding: a bit more worth it. Fitting into this dress because I want to show it and me off at a wedding knowing my big rival from school days will be there: Yep, definitely worth it!
So, we might want to ask ourselves from which of all the bits and pieces sitting at the bottom of our priority list we will have the biggest gain. Which are the ones we really want and which are the ones we think we should want.
I have learnt that rowing - and for that matter running, cycling and all the other endurance stuff- are not suitable for me to stay in shape for a lifetime. I don't like it enough to spend all that time with it and hence there will always be something more important.So I will humbly revert back to my bodybuilding... but:
... only after I am back from my holidays in Sumatra.
have a lovely spring!