That's why this video which I linked to recently appealed. (She gives particularly telling examples towards the end of her talk.)
Lists, reward,s stars and stickers and smiley faces and thumbs ups and pep talks motivate us in ways we are only beginning to fully understand, both psycholoigcal and physiological.
Social incentives - when I say here on the blog I will do something I almost always do! Even though you are not checking up on me, and wouldn't know whether I had really done it or not, I do do it. Immediate rewards - I feel so silly putting a sticker on a chart like a three year old - but it gives me that tiny dopamine reward that keeps me going, and charting my progress seems to satisfy a deep need in me to be moving forward, to be getting better.
It makes me understand why Facebook is so successful (and addictive for some). They have grasped all three factors and exploited them to the full.
So, with the help of a sketch of a Christmas tree on a bit of paper stuck to the fridge and a sheet of 24 stickers (thank you M) I have had a very productive day. The adult me still feels I should be able to do it without this silliness, but another me laughs and says - if it works, whyever not?
And I know i will get a double hit when I put that 24 sticker on the top of my tree!