Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Show Me The Money!

This is a little story about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Anyone who has studied sports psychology will be familiar with these terms - if you're intrinsically motivated, your focus is internal, within yourself (which you have 100% control of) and when you're extrinsically motivated, it's because your focus is external, that is something where the outcome is not 100% controllable by yourself. Preparing for a Figure Competition is a perfect example of this - you cannot control the conditions on the day and who takes home first place, but you can use the date as an external means to achieve motivation. Most psychologists stress the importance of goal setting as a means of achieving mastery and competence in many situations. It does seem to become murkier though when setting an internal goal, such as living a lean and fit lifestyle because that's part of WHO you are - much harder to quantify and where so many people have difficulty in the maintenance phase after weight loss.
Once you learn to believe that you are internally, rather than externally controlled, is when the penny drops and you can learn to become at ease with yourself in any situation.
However the story for me today is back to using an extrinsic motivator as an aid towards achieving a goal. I have done a lot of internal work learning to maintain, but at the beginning of this year found my weight beginning to wander up into the 61s which I wasn't entirely thrilled about. I had been dropping and gaining the same kilo of weight for a few months when I decided I wanted to get serious again and get a bit leaner, in prep for the surgery and just because I like to look good.
So...I borrowed something from David Greenwalt (Leanness Lifestyle) and used something he coins "reverse risk leveraging", that is putting up something of high value against your goal and being prepared to lose it if you didn't meet your goals within the parameters you and an external source had set. I used reverse risk leveraging on a Bootcamp I did with him in 2005 where I had to send a cheque for 250.00 (bank cheque) made payable to a charity in the US which he would mail if I failed to reach my goal. It worked a treat - I exceeded my goal and then some.
A few weeks ago, I decided to leverage again, so I had a money order created to the tune of $750 and made it payable to somebody who I really don't care for. I drew up an agreement with Miss S and signed it, setting sub 59kg as my target to reach by 19th March, 2008. If I didn't meet the goal, Miss S was to send the money order to this particular person.

I got busy - I started to be more particular about what I was eating and returned to logging my meals. Every time I was tempted to pick at something or do some baking I would ask myself whether the indiscretion would be worth that amount of money. Things were looking good - spent most of last week in the 59.somethings but then disaster struck. Somehow my weight spiked to 61kg on Sunday (DOMS) and then 60.4kg on Monday. My RPM class commented on how lean I was looking but I was beginning to feel sick that I wouldn't reach the goal, even though I'd done everything right! Yesterday was more encouraging at 59.3kg - I went semi Paleo on Monday and yesterday and kept it tight, but not insane. I drank heaps of water.
Today I weighed in at 58.8kg. Goal reached. Phew!
I'm not only relieved, I feel a fantastic sense of mastery over nailing this little sucker. The main focus for me is internal, but external motivation in the form of leveraging can work well too when you need a bit of a shove in the patootie. Plus I'm wearing one of my smaller sized skirts today - that's a nice feeling!


Lyndsay said...

OMG! That is hilarious!
That WOULD be motivation. Love it!
Enjoy being at your goal!

Anonymous said...

Great post. Well done on reaching your goal. I love the idea of leverage.

Sam D-M said...

What an interesting approach! I was on the edge of my chair waiting to see if you reached the target. Well, I am hoping the person you 'didnt care for much' didnt read your blog, then receive a cheque for $750.00 the next day and put two and two together LOL!

Well done, you are inspiration :)

ms_attitude said...

What an awesome post...and that is really committing yourself to your goal!! well done :-)

Lisa said...

There must be something in the water here in Brisbane as I hit 58.8kgs this week too!


Anonymous said...

Interesting read, thanks for mentioning it to me Liz. :o)

Anonymous said...

I saw your comment over on Lindy

What's another forum to use other than money for reverse risk leveraging, any ideas? :o)

Lady G said...

Liz, these Yale professors have stolen your idea! I read your post the other day then found this one today: