The Old School Way to Keep Your Resolutions

Every year at my parochial elementary school, the students were conscripted into selling chocolate bars as a fundraiser, not unlike how Girl Scouts sell cookies to raise money for their local troop. The sales were meant to subsidize my cash-strapped school and fund basic supplies, books and the occasional field trip. But the sales incentive for myself and other students was not supporting education. It was the prizes.

Brochures displaying shiny toys and games were handed out at an annual, “Music Man”-esque assembly led by a representative of the fundraising company. If you sold, say, 50 bars, you picked from the first tier of prizes, such as a simple bike lock. Sell 100 bars and you had a nicer set of prizes from which to choose. And so on, until the top layer with the big prizes, such as a bike.

The motivating interests of students, the school and our patrons were different, but aligned. The school got its money, the public got its chocolate, and we got our toys. This scheme works with little kids too. Stickers and prizes for good behavior, potty training, what have you. They may be motivated by the reward, but they doubly benefit from establishing a new habit.

Excerpted from CNN

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