Want to Get Motivated? Simple. Do It Now

It's pretty much the same old story. But it's still a good one.

Live in the moment.  But now researchers say it will help with motivation, too.

Their point?  Enjoy the task at hand, according to newswise.com. 

A new study from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business finds people value having a positive experience when they are in the middle of an activity, although this matters less to them before or after they start the activity. For example, people value that their work is engaging more when in the middle of a current job then when thinking about future work.

 Because when people look forward to or back on an activity, they tend to underestimate how important it is to actually enjoy doing it, people also underestimate in advance how much the presence or absence of a positive experience will influence their persistence on a task. And further, people may come to regret selecting activities that provide a less enjoyable experience when they are engaging in those activities.

The researchers conducted six experiments—including exercising, visiting a museum and lab tasks—designed to explore the motivational effects of two types of incentives: those linked to the outcome of finishing a task (such as improved health from working out), and those linked to the experience itself (such as having a fun or relaxing workout).

The studies found that when people were asked to evaluate what’s important to them in the middle of an activity, they valued the experience more than when they were asked about it outside of the activity. For example, those working out at the gym valued having an enjoyable workout more than those who were surveyed before working out. However, people valued the outcome of the workout (e.g., improved health) similarly inside and outside the activity.


"What people value when choosing might be different from what they value later on when pursuing these actions,” said Fishbach. “And if what people care about changes, they may choose activities that they fail to follow through on or that they regret pursuing.”

My favorite time of exercise?  When it's over! 

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