Many musicians give themselves rewards for meeting and achieving goals.  Getting a reward is a wonderful incentive for achieving your goals.

What do you do if you DON’T meet your goal?  Is there any consequence?  Without a consequence, many musicians don’t have enough of an incentive to truly do what it takes to achieve their goals.

I’ve heard of an amazing way to create consequences that will make you want to do absolutely everything possible to reach your goal.

Here’s the trick:  Set up a “negative reward” or an “anti-reward” for yourself.  Basically, if you don’t take the steps needed to complete your work, there will be a punishment waiting for you.

This punishment needs to be something that you really don’t want to experience.  And, who better to create this than you?  You know yourself better than anyone else does, so come up with a punishment that you can’t imagine happening!

Here are some real-life examples of using negative rewards:

–A musician bought two hard-to-get and expensive tickets to an upcoming concert.  Attending this concert with a friend would be the reward for the musician if he successfully booked his group into a specific local venue.  But, here’s what he did:  He gave the tickets to his friend and told her to take someone else to the show if he was unable to get his group booked.

–A politically liberal painter wanted desperately to have a solo gallery show but was reluctant to make the many, necessary phone calls it would take to convince a gallery to sell her work.  She knew she needed to take extreme measures to force herself to make the dreaded phone calls.  So, she wrote a $1,000 check to the Republican Party, sealed it in an envelope, and gave the envelope to her conservative brother, with these instructions:  Mail this envelope to the Republicans six months from today if I haven’t scheduled a solo show.

–Two friends who each owned their own business worked out a negative reward system together.  They made a pact to each call 50 prospective customers a day for one month–that’s over 1,000 calls!  If either failed to follow through, they would personally clean the other person’s house once a month for six months.  Oh, and one guy was in California while the other was in New York.

Imagine having such a punishment waiting for you if you don’t meet your goal.  Do you think these people worked hard toward their goals?  You know they did!

This level of incentive will get anyone to take action.

If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to take the necessary steps to meet your goals, then create real penalties for inaction.

Let me know how this approach works for you.  And, be sure to share the negative reward you came up with.  Leave a comment on this post.

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