“If you do your jigsaw, I’ll give you a sweet”

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There’s quite a bit about lockdown that are both a pro and a con.

My wife and I fitting all our work in from home whilst having to home school and just generally look after the kids is challenging, I’ll freely admit.

The older three (9, 10 and 11) can look after themselves to a reasonable degree – set them up with the school work and they can mostly just get on with it.

Charlie, the three year old, requires more attention though.

We’re essentially having to create the 20 odd hours a week he’d normally be in nursery.

But that does also mean he’s had 20 odd hours a week of quality one to one time.

And he’s been coming on in leaps and bounds because of it.

He’s can now ride a bike, is reading a little bit and has become an absolute demon at jigsaws.

The other day he was doing his ‘Animals of the world’ jigsaw with his brother Jamie (the nine year old).

He lost interest half way through though and was getting distracted.

In an attempt to incentivise him, Jamie said “If you do your jigsaw, I’ll give you a sweet”.

Which, whilst well intentioned, wasn’t what I would consider the best approach.

So I had a little chat with Jamie to explain why.

Lots of studies have been done that show that when we start to get externally incentivised by something……………

We become less likely to continue to do it.

People who volunteered their time to help with a cause they cared about…………

Start to then get paid for their time…………..

Are less likely to keep doing it.

It changes the way we see it.

It becomes “work”.

Something we’re doing for that external reward.

Not something we find intrinsically rewarding.

That we want to do.

Experiments in paying people cold, hard cash to lose weight usually show quicker initial weight loss……………

Followed by quicker average ‘stopping’ and then weight gain, compared to an unpaid group.

Charlie was enjoying his jigsaw before.

He was doing it for what he got from doing it – enjoyment and sense of satisfaction.

Making it something he does for sweets might help initially.

But would make it worse long term.

And we’ll have an equivalent in the way we’re choosing to perceive some of the things we’re struggling with.

Better eating choices.


If we feel that we’re doing them because we want to………….

Because of how it’ll make us feel TODAY…………

Because we see value in doing them…………

Because it ties into our self image – the kind of thing a person like the person we see ourselves as would do……………

Doing them becomes much easier.

If we see them as something we should do, ought to do, need to do, have to, etc………….

Then it becomes much less likely.

Nothing really needs to change.

Just the way we perceive these things,

And, as always, being aware of this is the first step.

Challenging our thoughts………….

The way we describe and perceive things…………

Is the next one!

If you’re doing the equivalent of doing a jigsaw to get a sweet, when you could be doing it because you enjoy it and find it rewarding…………..

How could you change that?

Much love,

Jon ‘Kramer’ Hall

About The Author

Jon Hall

When not helping people to transform their lives and bodies, Jon can usually be found either playing with his kids or taxi-ing them around. If you'd like to find out more about what we do at The Academy then enter your details in the box to the right or bottom of this page or at www.theacademygtc.co.uk - this is the same way every single one of the hundreds who've described this as "one of the best decisions I've ever made" took their first step.