Reward devices

Does anybody have any interesting ideas or references (blog posts, vague thoughts, tweets, forum discussion, academic articles, books, whatever) about devices to reward yourself for “good behaviour”?

I’m looking for maximum variability along all possible axes in this general area, so please feel free to post things you might think are not exactly what I’m looking for! But also anything that’s very similar to my examples, I’m interested in those too.

Right now I can only think of these four ideas below, which are displeasingly similar in nature – for example none of them are discussions of how to apply them, or how to reward youself by slacking off on beeminder, or reasons this whole idea might not be a good thing, or debate around why/when this helps, for evolutionary reasons or why you should give thanks by running naked through the woods, or… I don’t know what.

Anyway here are the examples I could think of:

  • Beeminder cumulative charts
  • Seinfeld-style “don’t break the chain”
  • Verbal (or mental) self-congratulation habits – I think I first thought seriously about this after reading about B J Fogg’s “tiny habits”
  • These sub-daily feedback charts
  • indulgences (chocolate), of you have the self control to wait until you’ve done x before you indulge in y
  • temptation bundling - I think people define this different ways, but one definition is bundling an unpleasant and pleasant activity together, such as a mindless chore + a favorite TV show
  • an Android app called Achievement pays out cash once you reach a certain number of points, which can be earned using additional apps, including some health apps. I haven’t personal used these apps
  • find a way to get someone to literally pay you to do x. I’d say your paycheck is a reward device. This is even more explicit for people who work on commission
  • social recognition, peer encouragement and congratulations, making progress in public

I think the skill of emotional reframing is a big part of the solution.

For example, I could have let the panic of downswings of the stock market break my commitment to passive investing. Instead, I focussed on what choices I had. The losses were already there, I could not choose to undo them. But I had gained a choice: to buy more stock cheaply, i.e. I had been rewarded with an opportunity.

That said, I think Beeminder could provide a lot more value here. I just don’t know how.

B.J. Fogg talks about having a tiny celebration ritual when you perform a behavior you want to encourage in the future. Last I used Khan Academy, they would celebrate correct answers with a short sound effect. It’s a little thing, but it definitely made me feel good when I got a difficult question right.

Maybe Nicotine Microdosing? :slight_smile: