Here’s a question for you. When was the last time you celebrated or simply acknowledged yourself for making the tiniest bit of progress—despite the difficulty?
Sadly, the answer for most will be ‘I can’t remember.’ Perhaps this is why so many struggle, in vain, to change.
Positive reinforcement—anything from patting yourself on the back to popping open the bubbly—works for one simple fact. Rewarding yourself feels good.
And any pleasant sensation triggers the release of pleasurable chemicals, like dopamine, encouraging the brain to keep repeating the behavior.
“It’s no secret that we derive pleasure from doing things we enjoy,” said neuroscientist Rui Costa, CEO of Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute. “The brain learns which activity patterns lead to feel-good sensations and reshapes itself to more efficiently reproduce those patterns.”
It’s why teachers give kids gold stars and cute stickers to encourage behaviors that may not come naturally or feel good right away.
Rewiring for Wealth is anything but pleasurable in the beginning because it often requires delayed gratification. There’s no immediate reward for spending less, saving more, or investing wisely. But the feel-good payoff for dining out, buying a new pair of shoes, or traveling to Tahiti is instantaneous.
Yes, Wealth Building activities will eventually become gratifying in themselves. But with positive reinforcement, you’ll not only accelerate the process, but find more joy along the way.
Dr Michael Mezernich, known as the father of neuroplasticity, is a big proponent of celebrating and appreciating yourself.
“Count every little indication of progress as success,” he instructs, “and reward yourself, in your mind, for those growing achievements.” The more positive you feel about an activity, he insists, the quicker your brain will “turn on its Save-it machinery.”
This week I’m celebrating the release of my latest book, Rewire for Wealth. What progress—large or small—are you ready to celebrate? Share in a comment and I’ll celebrate with you!