What we want is to design a plan that gives us some kind of reward or positive feeling, some kind of encouragement. And we want it to give us this encouragement regularly.
Some examples of positive feedback:
- I do the habit and get a check mark and a ding! from my habit app
- I exercise and get to tell my friends about it
- I successfully complete a language lesson and feel a sense of accomplishment
- I have a coach who gives me encouragement
- I get a positive grade for a quiz
- I feel gratitude towards myself for meditating
- I get a high five from my friend after our hard run together
- My team gets praise for our accomplishment in the company
- I check off something from my task list
Notice also that many of these examples will have negative feedback built into them as well: I get a bad grade, my habit app streak ends, I feel embarrassed that my friends know I haven’t exercised for a week, my task list is neverending and makes me feel overwhelmed, my coach might criticize what I did today, I forgot to do the language lesson and feel bad about it.
So if most systems have both positive and negative feedback built in … what can we do?
We have to design a better system.