There have been lots of studies done about how successful rewards are compared to negative consequences. Time and time again, the most motivating is the threat of a negative consequence.
I'm here to agree!
I've been in contests (and am current in one) to win prize money. And sure that's exciting. But I can shrug it off because it doesn't hurt me.
A negative consequence, however, is a lot more motivating.
There is and app some friends told me about long ago, it used to be called "Gym Pact." It peaked my curiosity. Basically you wager on yourself each week. You decide how many days you will work out and then place a monetary number on the pact. (For instance: I will work out 3 days/week, any day I miss I pay $10.)
At the end of the week, if you hit all your days they pay you with the money others lost when they missed days.
I knew there was something smart about this, but never joined because I didn't have a gym membership.
About 3 weeks ago I was told by 3 of my friends that the app is now "Pact" because they have expanded and are working with other fitness platforms (like Fitbit.)
I knew I wanted in!
I joined. The first week small, wanting to test the waters. I committed to 3 days of 10k steps at $5 per missed day. It hit all of my days and made 0.87.
Now, the more days you commit to and the more money you wager the more you get paid out!
The next week I wagered $10 per day @4 days. I did this for the next 2 weeks and was successful. I've now earned a total of 3.31 in those 3 weeks.
Is this big money? No! But it's not the reward that's motivating! It's knowing they will charge my credit card if I don't hit all my days!!
This week, I upped the limit and am doing 4 days @ $20. (And go figure, we have been sick so now I have 4 days left in the week....and I have to hit 10k each day.)
I can tell you, for a fact, there are days I wouldn't have hit my steps goal if I didn't have this hanging above me!
Check it out, it's definitely motivating. And the small amount of pay is kind of fun too.
(In no way was I approached to write this post. This is my own opinion based on my own experience. "Pact" does not even know I exist other than the fact that I'm a customer working hard not to get charged...)