Ep 16: Rewards vs. Consequences

What are the pros and cons of using rewards vs. consequences as our compelling reason to change?

Sometimes our compelling reason is a positive vision of a future we want to create. But other times it’s a negative vision of a future we want to avoid. Is one better at keeping us on the path toward our ideal self more than the other?

Key Takeaways:

  • There is no clear winner or wrong way to do this. Just knowing the difference and trying each on for size is important.
  • No matter which version you feel works best for you, make sure you develop a clear and detailed picture of the Reward or the Consequence.
  • Be aware of the language that you choose when you are working on developing or solidifying a behavior.
  • Performing an action is often more achievable than not performing one.

Lab Experiment:

State your compelling reason (or your “Why”) for making the change you want to make and pay attention to whether it is based around a reward or consequence. Before you lock it in, turn it around in your head and see if you can restate it as the opposite. Give each version time to breathe and then consider which one feels more motivating, calming, satisfying or doable in the long run.


The Savvy Psychologist: How to Overcome Feelings of Shame.

Harvard Business Review: What Motivates Employees More: Rewards or Punishments?