The standard ‘SMART’ goals would be more effective & efficient if they were SMARTeR: As any self-respecting behavior psychologist will tell you, behaviors that get rewarded get repeated.
In practice, this means rewarding efforts towards your goals will get you there faster, compared with ignoring your efforts and progress.
Or worse, as a perfectionist (aka fancy procrastination) you punish your efforts (If your self-talk sounds like: “it’s not good enough,” “I should have done more in less time,” “I should have started sooner,” etc, then you are a perfectionist)
If you punish a behavior you decrease the probability of it occurring again. So if you punish your efforts with critical self-talk, you make it harder to try again. Punishing effort is what fuels the vicious cycle of procrastination.
Yet ‘beating yourself up’ is a very common, if very maladaptive, motivation strategy.
People beat themselves up for several reasons. Including that self-flagellation is motivating – albiet in a really inhumane, inefficient way – and because they are unaware there is a Geneva Convention-sanctioned and more efficient way of reaching their goals.
So, yes, reward successful outcomes. But if you really want to increase your efficiency, focus on rewarding your outcome-independent efforts.
Click here to read my original article published onHuffPost: Optimize efficiency (An efficient 1 minute read)
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