Is it better to reach toward something positive or actively avoid something negative?
The carrot rewards you after accomplishing a milestone. The stick punishes after deviating from the milestone’s path.
Question of the day: the carrot or the stick?
Some say it should be all carrots, all the time. The stick mentality is unnecessary, crude, and cruel and positive reinforcement works better over the long haul. Others side with short-term data, which prefers the stick.
Dr. Champ (Caveman Doctor) and I recorded Episode #70 of Relentless Roger and the Caveman Doctor last night. We discussed the habit forming device Pavlok, a bracelet that literally shock you when you deviate from your chosen goal.
Crude? You betcha. Effective? I betcha.
The discussion took me back to 2007 when a series of Internet entrepreneurs popularized (likely re-popularized) a trend of wearing and snapping rubber bands for the same purpose. For example, here is Tim Ferriss’s 21 day no complaint experiment.
Take a look at the 438 and counting comments on that Tim Ferriss post. You’ll notice that the carrot versus stick discussion is a polarizing one!
Why so serious?
What about simply saying: whatever works? What about choosing whatever achieves your desired end result and not getting caught up in judgement?
You have the ability to look at the data, along with what anecdotally worked for others and leverage it. In this case the path is clear. If you have a goal and you are struggling to achieve it, create an unstoppable one-two punch. Line up negative reinforcement in the short-term (the stick) and positive reinforcement in the long-term (the carrot). Said differently – shock through the short-term obstacles and schedule a reward that means something to you after meeting a longer term goal.
It was a trick question all along. The answer: the carrot and the stick.
Day 43 and 44 Recaps
Tuesday exercise entailed a full bore strength workout. I incorporated a few more 6×6 rounds and then transitioned into supersets. I’m getting fired up about training chin-ups again, and it’s always fun having specific targets to push towards. The protocol:
- 6×6 – 6 rounds, 6 reps, :30 rest between:
- Weighted Chin-up
- Dumbbell Bench Press
- Circuit #1 – 3x through, no rest between exercises, rest :45 between rounds:
- Leg Press
- Cable Row
- Cable Scoop Fly
- Machine Overhead Press
- Circuit #2 – 3x through, no rest between exercises, rest :45 between rounds:
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise
- Straight Bar Pulldown
- Bench Dip
- Standing Dumbbell Curl
- Assorted hollow body rocks, core, and grip work to close.
Wednesday was an active rest day.
Tuesday sleep checked in at 7 hours and 52 minutes (17 restless minutes, 2 awake minutes). Wednesday sleep checked in at 7 hours and 20 minutes (8 restless minutes, 2 awake minutes). That makes back-to-back nights under my goal level, something I will remedy ASAP.
Tuesday Breakfast: Grass-fed yogurt, (28g) whey protein isolate, (5g) creatine, raw cacao nibs, chia seeds, coconut flakes, organic blueberries, banana, cinnamon. Black gold.
Tuesday Pre-Workout: Raw Tea.
Tuesday Post-Workout: Grass-fed whole milk.
Tuesday Lunch: Rotisserie chicken breast, leftover baked potatoes, purple kimchi, probiotic, fish oil.
Tuesday Snack: Rise Bar.
Tuesday: Duck breast, sauteed spinach, brown rice cooked in chicken stock.
Wednesday Breakfast: Grass-fed yogurt, (28g) whey protein isolate, (5g) creatine, raw cacao nibs, chia seeds, coconut flakes, organic blueberries, banana, cinnamon. Black gold.
Wednesday Lunch: Leftover brown rice, 5 free range eggs, purple kimchi, pickled carrots.
Wednesday Snack #1: Rise Bar.
Wednesday Snack #2: A light lunch caught up to me, and I knew I’d be having a lighter dinner as well. Grass-fed whole milk greek yogurt with honey.
Wednesday Dinner: Sweetgreen salad – kale, quinoa, chicken, shrimp, 1/2 avocado, 1 hard boiled egg, cucumbers, tomatoes, beets. Lime cilantro jalapeno dressing (medium).
Seth Godin wrote about career’s worth of projects today – thirty years of creating and shipping targeted goals.
It’s useful to think about your health and fitness in a similar fashion. What project are you currently working on?
At times it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Health is such a complex beast and the amount of accessible information (conflicting information!) is stunning. That can create paralysis.
What if instead you focus on one project at a time?
I’m working on a Relentless Transformation. Next I shift into Spartan Race training. Then it will be time for something else – a new, fresh project that inspires me.
What about you?
Image Credit: Carrot and stick – http://jamsidedown.com