Accountability Challenge Week 50: Contracting For Success
I am extremely excited to share with you a performance enhancing tip that I know can make a huge impact towards the results that you achieve in your life. Like last’s week’s tip, on Performance Journaling, I learned this strategy from studying the work of Performance Psychologist Aaron Hemsley-who later passed the mantle to his outstandingly qualified daughter, Darci Hemsley-Brown.
Although I have been known to resist it in my life, I have grown to realize and accept that when I create a more “structured” environment in my life, I get better results.
This week’s strategy is about creating a weekly Performance Contract. Performance contracts increase the structure in our lives. When we have more structure in our lives we get better results.
People who are serious about achieving the goals they set always become more productive, and perform at significantly higher levels as they increase the structure in their lives
Performance contracts can and will produce a quantum leap in your productivity.
So what exactly is a Performance Contract?
A Performance Contract is a written, with emphasis on the word written contract that you enter into whereby you commit to completing specific activities over a given time frame-usually over a one week period of time. When you complete the agreed upon activities you receive a reward, or positive reinforcement. If you do not complete the activities that you committed to, the reward is withheld, plus you must follow through with an unpleasant agreed upon consequence-punishment.
Just like any other contract you sign it date it, and have someone else witness or sign it to verify the terms of the contract.
Having a written performance contract specifies exactly what you must do in order to get the reward that you have pre-selected. It also tells you what you must do to avoid the “punishment” that you have also pre-selected.
I can tell you from personal experience that a Performance Contract is one of the most powerful agents for behavioural change that you can possibly imagine.
Here are some of the key characteristics of a Performance Contract:
Contracts have to be in writing-no deviations, no exceptions, and no excuses.
- Verbal contracts are not, nor will they ever be effective change methods.
- Performance contracts work best when you focus on a maximum of two performance areas to improve.
- Work from a baseline. Start small and work your way up, step by step.
- Focus on Activities NOT Results. You cannot control the outcome, you can only control yourself and the activities that you commit to do.
- You may have a goal to lose 25 lbs. the only thing that we have direct control over whether we decide to exercise, or eat healthy on any given day.
- Positive Reinforcers (Rewards). A positive reinforcer is anything that will increase the occurrence of the behaviour that follows.
- Immediately after completing a performance activity give yourself a reward.
Below you will find a sample Performance Contract that you can adapt to your particular goals. I have also included a copy of a Performance Contract that I used this past week to help me achieve my sales related activities & goals or my business.
Having a written contract in place that I signed my name to, knowing that I was accountable to other people for its completion, and knowing that there would be both positive & negative consequence was an overwhelmingly positive motivator for me.
Needless to say I successfully completed my contract. I enjoyed the rewards specified in the contract. And perhaps more importantly I did not have to suffer the negative consequences of not following through on my personal commitment to myself
Your view of my selected rewards & punishments may differ; just remember that each of us naturally moves toward pleasurable activities, and away from painful activities-.
If you want to know a little but more about how to structure your own personal performance contract, and/or you want someone to help hold you accountable please drop me a line.
I’m here to help, and this technique may just give you the breakthrough that you have been looking for.
Thought for the week: “if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time” Zig Ziglar
Mark Hudon, CFP™, CCS™
Financial Fitness Coach, Certified Cash Flow Specialist™