in a restaurant, point to your chair, and shout "Pig! Can't you control
yourself?"), thinking about getting cancer from smoking, thinking
about the terrible loss if your spouse caught you having an affair and
divorced you, etc. Ask yourself: "What will I lose if I don't change?"
and "What will I gain if I do change?" Also, how will my failing to
change affect others--my loved ones, my business, and my chances to
do other things? What will changing do for others or permit me to do?
The idea is to make the pay offs and consequences so strong in your
mind that you feel you must change immediately.
Force yourself every few days to assess the progress you are
making towards your major life goals. This is hard for some people,
called certainty-oriented, who do not want to know how well or
poorly they are doing, how able they are, what the outlook is for them,
etc. If you resist taking personality tests, dislike reading and using
methods for increasing self-understanding, and criticize the test or
person giving you accurate but negative feedback, then you are
probably certainty-oriented and failure threatened (Sorrentino & Short,
1986). Guard against burying your head in the sand. Indeed, if they
will face facts, greater awareness of potential future failures may be
quite motivating for these people.
STEP FIVE: Avoid continuing distractions, especially hedonistic
temptations and strong emotions. Keep focusing on the
important-for-the-future-tasks at hand.
Stay relaxed. Keep disruptive emotions under control (see chapters
5, 6, 7 and 8). Try to "lose yourself" in your work. See flow in method
#13 in chapter 11. As soon as a tempting distraction occurs,
immediately remind yourself of your reasons for taking on this project,
the desired pay offs and all the unfortunate consequences of not doing
what you intended to do. Guard against being seduced by
immediate pleasures which cause you to neglect your long-term
If you suspect you are motivated to fail because of repeated
failures, seek professional help. Learning to handle set backs and
failures is important. Read about the failures in Abraham Lincoln's life;
he bounced right back.
STEP SIX: Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
A major motivation is self-enhancement, i.e. treasuring your
strengths and feeling good about your accomplishments. Feel proud.
Success yields status and material gains. Enjoy them. Celebrate
each step towards success--tell friends, party, re-dedicate yourself to
the next task.