Adding Accountability To Simpleology With A Carrot And A Stick

I just read this Monday Motivation post over at Wendy Piersall’s eMoms at Home site. She committed to paying $50 to three lucky readers if she did not complete her targets by the end of the day. (She completed them!)

What a great way to supercharge your Simpleology Daily Targets. Instead of just writing your targets down, you’re giving yourself some true motivation to do what you say you’re going to do.

It’s interesting that just the other day I received yet another powerful accountability story in an email from Arielle Ford, the publicist. She wrote:

Are you on track with your commitments to becoming an author, expert and speaker? If not, now is the time to seriously consider finding a friend to hold you accountable for your dreams and your success.

Three times each week Peggy McColl, internet marketing genius and author and co-creator of the Bestseller Mentoring Program, and I speak by phone. We check-in and see how our projects are going and then we exchange lists of the things we are going to get done before our next call. Usually we each have 5 – 10 items on our list.

And then we hold each other accountable. For instance, Peggy is great about getting her work done but was really resistant to exercising. We developed a plan that for any day Peggy misses her 15-minute commitment to the treadmill, she has to donate $1,000 to the charity of my choice.

Guess what? She hasn’t missed a day of exercise yet. Like most people, I have a lot to do everyday. By regularly checking in with Peggy, clarifying my to-do list and MAKING A PROMISE to get it done, things happen. AND, we have the added benefit of being able to grow our friendship, share ideas and brainstorm together. Who will be your buddy?

I would add to this, however, the importance of having a carrot to go along with whatever stick you come up with. There is nothing wrong with using negative incentive to create motivation. But you need to balance that with positive incentive.

If you are going to pay $100 to a local non-profit each time you miss one or more of your targets, what carrot are you going to get when you hit them?

I’m going to take some time to come up with both the carrot and the stick that I will integrate into my Simpleology daily Target Praxis. I’ll let you know what I’ll be using tomorrow.

In the meantime, let us know what you use now, or what you’re going to come up with. What will be your carrot when you get all your targets done? What will be your stick when you miss one or more of your targets?

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      7 Responses to “Adding Accountability To Simpleology With A Carrot And A Stick”

      1. Wendy Piersall :: eMom on February 20th, 2007 11:21 am

        Thanks for the mention Edward! $1000 is great leverage to get stuff done! I used to participate in a mastermind group in which we made major commitments with major leverage every week. Sometimes my leverage was that I would have to grow out my normally well-hidden moustache for 2 weeks straight.

        I assure you, I got my stuff DONE!!! 😉

      2. Dan and Jennifer on February 20th, 2007 1:52 pm

        Hey Ed and Wendy,

        It’s funny, i saw the post at Wendy’s yesterday morning and started typing up a commitment of what I was going to get done yesterday… but got distracted before I got a chance to submit. 🙂

        My daily targets list was (as it often is) longer than it should have been… but I got the important stuff knocked out for most part.

        A major goal for us this week is getting our first 5 videos onto YouTube (filmed with some pro friends of ours this weekend – I’m very excited about this). Now to figure out video editing.

        Interesting on the stick concept… have to say it doesn’t resonate with me off hand.

        A carrot is always great, but for me that’s usually built-in – hitting my targets feels good and rewarding since it means I’m moving toward my short and long term goals… if i really want something i’ll just get it anyway, don’t like tying it to something.

        And I’m concerned that the stick turns into a fear-based approach, which I’m just not fond of.

        Jennifer may disagree with me and I may change my mind, but that’s my thought off hand…

        Wow, a topic on which I didn’t agree with both of you. Ed, this is weird. Clearly a disruption in the force. 🙂


      3. Edward Mills on February 21st, 2007 9:39 am

        Dan. I’m not sure it’s a disruption in the force – could be – but more likely an expression of different work styles and perhaps genetic encoding! I’ve found that some people have a built-in ability to stay on target and get things done. Others don’t.

        I fall into the latter group. Left to my own devices, I’ll get lots of stuff done, but it’s not necessarily the most important stuff. That’s why Simpleology is such a huge help for me. And, even with Simpleology I find that I need an extra incentive to stay on target. My tendency to get distracted by all the cool stuff and creative ideas that come up during the day is often quite powerful. Having both a carrot and a stick will help me stay on task.

      4. Edward Mills on February 21st, 2007 9:41 am

        Wendy. I’m not sure the moustache thing would be as much of an incentive for me! 😉

        But it does give me some food for thought! I’m still deciding what my stick is going to be.

      5. Lyman Reed on February 22nd, 2007 8:39 pm


        Great post about accountability. I’m in the same boat as Dan… my Simpleology daily target list becomes so long, because I want to get the stuff done, that it rolls over to the next day. I keep on using a top-down approach, and it’s working pretty well for me; when I hit something on the list and I think… “Well, there’s probably something I’d rather do a little further down”, I know it’s time to do that one thing NOW.

        I’m going to have to think about how I can actually provide myself with some real accountability, and add that to my morning praxis as well. (I feel like I’m talking in code whenever I discuss Simpleology lol).

        Thanks for the post.

      6. Edward Mills on February 22nd, 2007 8:55 pm

        Hi Lyman. When I began with Simpleology I had the same issue…my daily target list would be way too long. Can you say “eyes bigger than…” Now I’ve gotten into the habit of making sure I keep my daily target list short enough to get through it. The flip side to this is that, now, my Mental Lock Box is overflowing! But that feels preferable to me than having a daily task list that I don’t complete.

        Yes, there definitely is a Simpleology Code!

      7. Dan and Jennifer on February 26th, 2007 1:23 pm


        I have a confession to make. I DO have an accountability system.

        And she gets on my case whenever I make “an unrealistic list that you know you won’t finish” – I’m not quoting, but certainly paraphrasing. 🙂

        Ed, don’t even go there with the Mental Lock Box… damn, I feel like I fill out a sheet a day. Scary. Funny thing Jennifer and I noticed is that the stuff that matters which goes into the Lock Box oftentimes just kinda gets done on its own. When I’m flipping through I often cross out lots of items.

        Have an awesome day!

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