Let progress become an incentive

“Show me the incentive, I’ll show you the outcome” - Charlie Munger.

Yesterday we discussed that food can provide pleasure and solve problems.

These are both outcomes that include short-term incentives.

Chocolate is a remedy for a tough day because it brings some pleasure to mitigate the challenges and stress.

Ordering a pizza for dinner solves the problem of getting home late and a hungry family.

Everyone knows these aren’t great choices for body composition in the long term, but selecting them doesn’t make you dumb (or lazy).

It comes down to incentives - both solve the problems at hand, which we like.

If you agree that you will ‘start eating better tomorrow’ or ‘not do this next time’ then you can satisfy the longer-term problem (ie. wanting to lose fat becomes tomorrows problem), if you follow through.

Besides a wedding or pressing health situation, there are very few incentives that lead to a rapid overhaul of lifestyle for fat loss.

This makes it very hard to incentivise weight loss in the short term.

Long-term health benefits are too distant and hard to measure, so they don’t work well.

The best way to incentivise body composition in the present/short-term is progress.

If you can see tangible results for your actions, then it makes it easier to repeat.

Not having a glass of wine tonight becomes much easier if you haven’t had one for two weeks and you’ve lost 2kg.

Going for a run tomorrow morning at 5:30 am is much easier if you’re running twice as far as you did a month ago.

But both of these require getting started and the motivation to push through until those results start to come.

If you don’t adhere, those results never come and then it feels like you’ve tried everything and none of it works.

Adherence really is the key.

If you start small and similar to your current regime, then it becomes so much easier to adhere for the first phase before those results come.

So track your food intake and exercise strictly for a week.

Be honest -  if you don’t want to write something down, then it’s exactly what you need to write down.

Start small, be consistent and then progress motivate the next phase.

You’ll still be able to eat pizza and chocolate, but you won’t have to worry about starting tomorrow when you’re already going!

Tom Fitzgerald