Positive reinforcement can be very effective whether that means giving yourself a simple pat on the back or using some other type of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is widely accepted as a powerful method of teaching, training and building positive habits and behaviors.
But WHEN should you give it to yourself (or someone else)?
Utah State University published a behavioral guidelines checklist which confirms that positive reinforcement is most effective when it occurs immediately after the behavior. The guidelines also recommend the reinforcement should be presented enthusiastically and should occur frequently. One of the beauties of a simple pat on the back is that it can easily be done in the moment.
The shorter the amount of time between any behavior you want to reinforce and the subsequent positive reinforcement, the stronger the connection will be in the brain — remember the brain tells us to move TOWARD pleasure and AWAY from pain.
Delay of positive reinforcement…
If a long period of time elapses between the behavior and the positive reinforcement, the connection will be weaker from the behavior to the brain and heart. So as the delay increases, the effectiveness of the reinforcement decreases. The scary thing is that I find many people aren’t giving themselves much, if any positive reinforcement, ever – urghh! And then they wonder why they aren’t feeling motivated!
So the important message here is catch yourself (and others) engaged in behaviors you want and find lots of ways to enthusiastically reinforce them as quickly as possible. You’ll be building connections from the behavior to the pleasure center in the brain. It just makes sense 😉
Spread the Word,