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#5 Where’d You Hide the Chocolate?

Post #5 in the series Tips for Quitting: Be a Better Quitter in 7 Easy Steps. This series provides journal prompts and writing topics to enable big changes. I used this process to quit smoking, change jobs, start running, and eliminate debt. It works! Start with the first post in the series here.

When you’re trying to make a difficult change, it’s important to understand what motivates you.

Does winning a $20 bet with your co-worker keep you from eating that second helping? Do you move forward with starting a new business because you blogged about your intention? Do you run another mile because you love seeing the gold star on your chart?

When you know what really lights a fire under your behind, you can seek out the necessary support. Better support means more likely success. And we need all the success we can get.

I Don’t Care What You Think of Me

I see a lot of folks fail because they rely on the wrong motivation.

A good example is the use of accountability. Any time somebody is coaching you toward a goal (weight loss, business goals, creative output) they’ll tell you to publicly declare your intentions. To find a workout partner, join a quit group, or skywrite your progress.

The assumption is that you’ll keep at it so you don’t risk being shamed for failing. This works for some people.

But I couldn’t care less what somebody else thinks of me. Accountability to others doesn’t work for me. I’ll probably just end up pissed off when you try to stop me from doing whatever I’ve set out to do.

If accountability is your chosen form of motivation, be careful whom you ask to hold you accountable. You might turn your home into a warzone by making a partner, family member or roommate responsible for your actions. I speak from experience:

“I know I asked you to hold me accountable, but WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE F%$&#ING CHOCOLATE?!”

My motivation is totally internal. I do stuff (or stop doing stuff) because I like measurable results. I don’t go running because I told my trainer I would. I go running because I want to feel relaxed, energetic, and fit. That works for me.

So think long and hard about what really gets you moving. Picking the right motivation can mean the difference between success and frustration.

Pick Your Poison

Time to brainstorm in your journal. Answer this question:

The last time you were successful at something, what motivated you?

What was the most rewarding part of getting from Point A to Point B? Praise? Cash? Revenge? In terms of your current attempt at change, what reward would make it worth the effort?

Here are some possibilities to get you started, but the sky’s the limit:

  • Visible results
  • Accountability
  • Material reward
  • Checking off a list
  • Measurable progress
  • Verbal feedback from others
  • Financial gain

The Power of Concrete Feedback

My ultimate form of motivation is visible, measurable progress. So when I quite smoking, I installed a tool for my computer called the Quit Meter. You enter your quit date, the number of cigarettes you smoked, and the cost of a pack of cigarettes. It calculates your tally every minute.

I gotta tell you – seeing “1 year, two days and 32 minutes quit. $2,687 not spent, 5,675 cigarettes not smoked,” seriously kept me on that wagon.

Finding your motivation is so key. Don’t skip this step. Make sure you’ve got the right carrot on the end of that stick!

In the next post of this series, we’ll talk about building a team of experts to help you succeed. Be sure to come back or have new posts delivered via email so you don’t miss a thing.

Next post: Who’s on Your Board of Directors?

Tips for Quitting

Be a Better Quitter in 7 Easy Steps

#1 What One Change Do You Need to Make?
#2 Do You Realize What’s at Stake?
#3 You Do It Because it Works
#4 How to Write Plan B
#5 Where’d You Hide the Chocolate?!
#6 Who’s on Your Board of Directors?
#7 Celebrate Your Success