View Full Version : Self Rewards/Punishment...dont work at all...


Dreeza
12-05-06, 01:10 AM
In many books/posts/websites, I read how you should reward your goals, and hold back on rewards if you do not acheive your goals...

like, "if i get my paper done, i get to watch my fave tv show, and if i dont, i have to miss it"

Anyways, does this ACTUALLY work for people??? If i dont get it done, i say screw it, and watch my TV show anyways.

I never feel guilty for not doing my work. I feel like i am lacking some huge emotion that I should be feeling about all this...when really, i couldnt give a crap about my hw assignment.

I always get stuff done in the end, and have a 3.7 GPA at U of Michigan, so its not like it really HURTS me in the long run...

it seems like its getting worse and worse though :(

Michiko74
12-05-06, 02:20 AM
Never worked for me either. Than again, I did try that punishment/reward approach when I was undiagnosed.

You know what, scratch that. I don't think that EVER has worked for me. Thank you but I've beaten myself up the last 20 some odd years ;D so I doubt even more punishment will work to motivate me. Besides, either my procrastination or I'll get some kind of rebellious streak, and before you know it I'm sitting in front of the computer or tv instead of doing X.

For me, if my procrastination goes into overdrive than it can usually be attributed to my medication. But the other thing that has made a huge difference for me was a coach. Someone I can go to and be held accountable for my actions. And when I say accountable, just someone who knew about my situation. It really helps me to have someone ask me how I'm doing and where I can go and say I've done (fill in the blank).

janesays
12-05-06, 03:56 AM
Sounds like your seeing the big picture. Truth is I think everybody blows off their work sometimes to do something they enjoy. It just sounds like procrastination. Keep up the good work with the 3.7.

Rewards and Punishment:
for me it's a cycle of impulsive behaviors i.e....

smoking pot until I realize how stupid it's making me....
binge eating until I realize how fat it's making me...
overexcercising because I got fat from overeating, and until I become injured, but because I love endorphins....
overspending because I lost weight from overexcercising and want new clothes until I buy so many that I go broke...
drinking because I need to loosen up and have fun until I decide missing school and looking like crap because I'm hung over isn't worth it....

I know I'm the village idiot. I also have undiagnosed bipolar disorder. It's 2 AM and I'm still awake typing this.

erratica_1
12-05-06, 11:07 AM
I don't use rewards. I just use timers and really small amounts of time to work on something. I'll tell myself, "You just have to work on x for...(one minute, five seconds, whatever), and then you can stop." It's a game for me that usually gets me to do something.

njtrout
12-05-06, 11:39 AM
Dreeza, It doesn't work for me either. I tell myself that I cannot do X until I complete Y. Well, Y is so boring that I'll never get done, therefore I'll never let myself do X.

Am I making sense.

NJTrout

Dreeza
12-05-06, 12:23 PM
I don't use rewards. I just use timers and really small amounts of time to work on something. I'll tell myself, "You just have to work on x for...(one minute, five seconds, whatever), and then you can stop." It's a game for me that usually gets me to do something.glad it works for you :) I wish it worked for me! I see no reward at the time for actually completing something i am telling myself to do...

trout...makes perfect sense! THats how i am. I just wanted to make sure i wasn't some emotionless weirdo. I was explaining it to my sister, and she was saying she feels guilty when she doesnt complete a goal...i just couldnt care less, lol, especially since while i am not completing my goal, i am doing something way more appealing like laying in my bed and watching TV, or wasting time on internet forums :D

QueensU_girl
12-05-06, 01:09 PM
Yup. That is one of the ways ADHD is viewed - rewards don't work.

That is b/c we are Dopamine deficient, and the "Reward Centre" of the brain is not 'normal'.

=====================

Dopamine Reward Pathway/Circuit = VTA->MFB->ACC

(eg ventral tegmental area (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventral_tegmental_area); medial forebrain bundle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medial_forebrain_bundle); nucleus Accumbens (http://nucleus%20accumbens/))

:)

And that's about all i remember from my neuroscience course. :)

FrazzleDazzle
12-05-06, 02:56 PM
QueensU girl, Your above comment really puts to it! DS, who is 14, never did well with rewards, or punishments either. Of course he has consequences, rewards, reinforcements, and punishments, but not as a motivating factor at all. And, thus, I know something was amiss with him at around age 8.

Dreeza, I think you hit on something about yourself as well, that I have been lately questioning about DS. And, that is what you said about "lacking some huge emotion" that makes you need to take care of important things. I've just come to realize this about DS as well. It is just part of his personality. I call it an internal discomfort, of some sort, that goes away when something is taken care of.

I was actually wondering if a lot of ADHDers have this "lack of some huge emotion" as well???? I am innatentive myself, but also have some OCD tendencies that oviously kick in and I go overboard taking care of things. What to you others call it?

andecala
12-05-06, 07:03 PM
The reward punishment thing doesn't much work for me either, but I too have spent decades beating myself up with it.

For months now, I have played video games when I should have been doing other things for myself and my family. In the moment, I just didn't see anything else as being more important or a better use of my time. At the end of the day I would sometimes cry myself to sleep for not getting anything done that day. Eventually, I got sick of the cycle.

While I am fighting of a strong and frequent temptation, I haven't played computer games for 3 days now. It's been really hard for me, but I'm happier at the end of the day when I can reflect and see progress toward my larger life goals.

I guess I'm creating a void in a less desirable area of my life and then filling it with things from more desireable areas. It helps that I have written out my goals, projects, objectives and tasks recently, so I can reach for one as easily as "a bag of chips on the kitchen counter."

I have also recently decreased the dosage of Effexor XR (killer withdrawal) and Wellbutrin, and now I feel like I care about everything a bit more.

My coach is also a great help. Accountability is crucial. Mine says that genuine pain can fuel productivity. False pain/guilt can fuel avoidance and self-indulgence. For me, it's the truth.

Blessings!

VisualImagery
12-05-06, 09:21 PM
This is behaviorism, B.F. Skinner and friends. It is limited in its effectiveness. Cognitive therapy is much more effective. There are many approaches, some of which include; guided journaling, cognitive behavioral therapy (a mix of both), rational emotive therapy, and many others. The goal of these therapies is to change your thought patterns. Changing these will result in a change in behavior, and this kind of change lasts. Behavioral modification changes the person through external rewards and "punishment" and IMHO, and the opinion of many human development theorists, these are of some value but are very limited when dealing with mental illness and severe emotional disorders.

My personal experience is in favor of the cognitive approach. I am not a rat in a maze or Pavlov's dogs. If you don't change your thinking, the changes are not going to last.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that how we think (cognition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognition)), how we feel (emotion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotion)) and how we act (behavior (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavior)) all interact together. Specifically, our thoughts determine our feelings and our behavior. Therefore, negative - and unrealistic - thoughts can cause us distress and result in problems. Wikipedia

Here are some resources you might find enlightening:

Cognitive Therapy (http://counsellingresource.com/types/cognitive-therapy/index.html)

Rational Emotive Therapy (http://counsellingresource.com/types/rational-emotive/)

The Internet Guide to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy & Cognitive Behavior Therapy (http://www.rebt-cbt.net/)

RADD

non_existence
12-06-06, 12:38 AM
I don't use rewards. I just use timers and really small amounts of time to work on something. I'll tell myself, "You just have to work on x for...(one minute, five seconds, whatever), and then you can stop." It's a game for me that usually gets me to do something.yeah that's what i used to do as well and it worked for a while, but then i started getting lazy again and stopped doing it. how do you figure out the right amount of time to set though? i kept adjusting my time limit, couldn't quite find the perfect amount of time to set for each task.

Dreeza
12-06-06, 12:49 AM
yeah that's what i used to do as well and it worked for a while, but then i started getting lazy again and stopped doing it. how do you figure out the right amount of time to set though? i kept adjusting my time limit, couldn't quite find the perfect amount of time to set for each task.
thats a huge part of my issue too...i always estimate wrong. My therapist told me to always take the time i think a task is gonna take, and double it. That is honestly about right, although sometimes i feel like tripling the time would be more accurate :rolleyes:

erratica_1
12-06-06, 10:57 AM
how do you figure out the right amount of time to set though? i kept adjusting my time limit, couldn't quite find the perfect amount of time to set for each task.
I basically just go on my level of resistance to the task to figure it out. If I am totally scared and/or resistant, I'll say something like five seconds is enough. After I start, this usually ends up being a silly amount ;), so I tend to work on the task longer than that.

Another thing I do is to talk myself through it. For example, if I need to go take a walk for exercise, I'll say, "You don't have to go for a walk, you just have to find your sneakers." When that's done, it's "You don't have to go for a walk, you just have to put your sneakers on." And so on and so forth until I'm walking (and even then, it's "You don't have to go for a walk, you just have to go to that tree over there."

For each of these things, there's no external reward promised. They're just ways to make my life less overwhelming.

Crazy~Feet
12-06-06, 11:17 AM
thats a huge part of my issue too...i always estimate wrong. My therapist told me to always take the time i think a task is gonna take, and double it. That is honestly about right, although sometimes i feel like tripling the time would be more accurate :rolleyes:Hey girl then just triple that time, I often do...its pertinent to note that time is something elastic to the ADD Brain and if we have to estimate a task? Our first guess will usually be incorrect and not enough time will be alloted. This is why we have such insanely long To-Do lists and wind up berating ourselves over it.

Time is a toughie for me and so is breaking a task down. I am inclined to think in terms of "Clean the House" and give myself a day, totally forgetting that distractions are inevitable and that I pretty much don't get into cleaning and will eventually resent going at it for too long. I have fought quite hard with that tendency and I sometimes even succeed nowadays in breaking it down into rooms, corners, shelves, etc. and giving myself small increments "I will clean just this bookcase" and then re-evaluate how I am feeling about it all over again, sort of like Erratica does with the walking. Cleaning is a thankless and boring task but I do get a reward when I see less clutter, because clutter mirrors my internal unmedicated reality too much and clean == peace for a while to me.

And if I don't finish the room? The world is NOT going to end today over a few untidy spaces in my home. We all have ADHD and hey, I am not the Household NT over here! I can contain my piles now, and if they don't? That's on them. I try to stay positive and remember I have my piles under control :)..and I just keep them that way to prove to myself I can overcome one small aspect of ADD life. To me that is a reward, but more in the way B stated: I changed my thinking more than trained myself like a puppy.

Besides I like cats better anyway! :p

zlata_bg
12-14-06, 06:20 PM
In many books/posts/websites, I read how you should reward your goals, and hold back on rewards if you do not acheive your goals...

like, "if i get my paper done, i get to watch my fave tv show, and if i dont, i have to miss it"

Anyways, does this ACTUALLY work for people??? If i dont get it done, i say screw it, and watch my TV show anyways.

I never feel guilty for not doing my work. I feel like i am lacking some huge emotion that I should be feeling about all this...when really, i couldnt give a crap about my hw assignment.

I always get stuff done in the end, and have a 3.7 GPA at U of Michigan, so its not like it really HURTS me in the long run...

it seems like its getting worse and worse though :(
thats too funny... i did that all my life, high school, college, now.
but my grades were fine, like every time i thought "man, THIS is going to be the time your **** finally gets you in trouble"
it never did.
definitely just reinforced my procrastination.
almost every paper i had to write i woke up at 5am the morning it was due and would somehow manage to spit out 10 or 15 pages in one sitting, when i hadn't been able to the entire month before.
maybe someday i'll go to grad school and be forced to change my ways...
i suppose i'll see when that time comes.

by the way, i went to michigan state.
i was too lazy to even write the essay to apply to u of m.
ha.
although i hear state requires an essay now too.
good thing it wasn't like that when i was applying, who knows where i would have ended up...

anyway, good job on the 3.7 and good luck with your last year there. :-)