One thing I’ve realized is that if I want my goal to be to get in shape or to lose weight, I’ve done some good and bad incentives. And interestingly enough, the bad ones were the outcome based ones.
In almost all situations, proxy metrics become a problem. They are often abused and we tweak things for those metrics instead of the real outcome we want.
But with humans, especially myself, it seems the proxy metrics are easier to follow.
My current example is with weight management. At first I had a goal of staying within a target range until date X. That didn’t work. But what does work is rewarding myself for everyday that I stick to what will help me achieve my goal (in this case I’m rewarding myself every day that I don’t mindlessly eat after 8 pm).
It’s interesting how the focus on outcomes works so well in some contexts and so poorly in others.