Get It Done | Ayelet Fishbach

Summary of: Get It Done: Surprising Lessons from the Science of Motivation
By: Ayelet Fishbach


Welcome to the world of motivation! Through the insights from Ayelet Fishbach’s book ‘Get It Done: Surprising Lessons from the Science of Motivation,’ emerge ready to tackle your goals despite the myriad distractions and demands that life throws at you. This summary introduces you to the art of goal-setting and the importance of framing them with excitement and clarity. Learn about the power of incentives, monitoring progress using numerical targets, and how crucial intrinsic motivation can be in your journey. Dive into the summary, absorb valuable lessons, and discover how to make your goals fun through temptation bundling.

Get Motivated with Goal-Setting

To motivate yourself to pursue your dreams and desires, begin by setting the right goals. Frame them as ends rather than means, keep them abstract yet specific, and focus on “do” goals. Quantify your goals by setting challenging, measurable, and actionable targets. Utilize incentives to drive action, ensuring they lead to goal progress. Occasionally pause on incentives to maintain your focus on the goal itself. And finally, find ways to make your goals fun and engaging through intrinsic motivation, temptation bundling, and mindful enjoyment of the process.

Life is full of demands, distractions, and worries, often derailing our motivation and goals. To maintain focus and motivation on your dreams and desires, start with the right goal setting. There are three aspects to consider when framing your goals:

1. Frame them as ends, not means – Focus on the end result like “finding a job” rather than the process, such as “applying for a job.” Create excitement around your goals instead of treating them as chores.

2. Keep them abstract yet specific – Instead, use a more abstract, yet specific goal like “improve my mental health” to guide your next steps.

3. Focus on “do” goals – Set goals that focus on approaches to positive outcomes, like health and success, rather than avoidance of negative outcomes like sickness or failure.

To enhance goal-setting further, establish quantified targets that are challenging, measurable, actionable, and self-determined. Avoid overly optimistic targets to ensure effective focus on actual work. Consider both how much you want to achieve and how soon you want to achieve it.

In addition to goal-setting, incentives play a vital role in motivating action. Rewards and punishments, as demonstrated by Pavlov’s dogs, create immediate mini-goals connected to your main goal. Maximize the benefits of incentives by ensuring they lead to progress toward your goal rather than creating a “cobra effect,” where incentives lead to counterproductive behavior.

Keep excitement and focus on your goals by occasionally pausing and assessing whether you’re pursuing the goal for its sake or merely for the incentive. This break allows you to refocus on what truly matters.

Adding fun to your goals is another critical element for motivation. Intrinsic motivation, driven by joy, desire, or the feeling of fulfilment, is the best predictor of engagement and success in any activity. Find ways to make your goals fun through temptation bundling or focusing on the enjoyment elicited by your tasks. For instance, watch your favorite show while working out or savor the feeling of morning runs in the sunshine.

By incorporating these techniques into your goal-setting and motivational efforts, you’ll be better equipped to pursue your dreams and desires in the face of life’s challenges and distractions. Remember to keep your goals focused, quantified, incentivized, and fun to maximize your success and engagement in any endeavor.

Finding Your Role Model

Identifying a role model helps you stay motivated and strive towards your goals. A great role model knows you exist and sets expectations for you, fueling your determination to succeed. Anti-role models serve as cautionary examples, providing motivation to not emulate undesirable behaviors. Social facilitation, or performing better in the presence of others, boosts motivation, too; even having a picture of a loved one or a public setting can inspire effort and foster growth.

Imagining someone you admire and could follow on your journey to success is crucial for staying motivated. This person could be a friend, parent, teacher, or colleague, as long as they are aware of your existence. An exceptional role model not only serves as an example but also sets challenging expectations for you.

I once had a professor I deeply admired. They persistently handed me tasks I felt unqualified for. When I voiced my doubts, they remarked, “Jasmin, I wouldn’t assign you these tasks if I didn’t believe in your abilities. I don’t want you to fail, and I know you’re capable of much more.” This professor’s faith in me inspired me to work my hardest and achieve more than I ever imagined.

Anti-role models also contribute to your development. They exhibit behaviors you definitely don’t want to adopt, motivating you to complement their traits with your own. For example, many people don’t want to become like their parents, pushing them to work harder towards their goals.

Physical surroundings and being in the presence of others can create a significant impact on motivation. In 1898, it was discovered that cyclists racing against each other performed better than those merely racing against the clock. This effect, known as “social facilitation,” suggests that we work harder when others observe us. Capitalize on this phenomenon by working in public places, such as cafes, to boost motivation. Even a picture of a loved one or an attentive gaze can inspire hard work and help you become the best version of yourself.

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