INTRODUCING THE HEAVEN AND HELL MOTIVATIONAL EXERCISE
This mental exercise can be the most powerful tool you have to motivate you to make change.
Please invest 15-30 minutes to see and FEEL what your life would/could be like.
Heaven: What are the benefits of successfully pursuing your goal?
Hell: What are the negative consequences of giving up?
(Notice that I did not say fail. The best goals are about sustained action that can
only fail if you quit)
Commitment: Is the effort of pursuing the goal worth it to attain heaven and avoid hell?
Note: This exercise is best done in writing. There’s something magical about getting
things out of your head and onto a sheet of paper (a computer screen is okay though).
What are the benefits of successfully pursuing your goal?
Take a moment and really picture all of the good things that could happen if you
Will there be external rewards like wealth or recognition?
What about internal benefits like health, vitality, happiness, of satisfaction?
Will there be any social benefits like improved friendships or a happier spouse
And seeing through any goal is likely to boost your confidence, motivation and
self-esteem. So make sure you count that!
Let's take a goal of 'running more' to start with:
Run for 20 minutes per day, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, for 6 weeks.
Succeeding at this goal would probably lead to improved health and vitality.
It might improve sleep and lead to better focus and attention.
Succeeding at any valued goal is likely to boost confidence and self-esteem.
In addition, these health, energy, and attention benefits could have secondary
benefits at work.
All this might even improve social and romantic relationships.
Feeling happier and more confident in all these areas could set up a positive spiral of growth
That is the heaven that we’re trying to create.
And now for the hell...
What are all the bad things that could happen if you give up?
Take a moment and really picture what could happen if you give up.
Could there be external consequences like loss of income or the esteem of others?
What about internal costs like health problems, frustration, and demoralization?
Abandoning some goals might have negative social consequences. And
abandoning most goals will negatively impact one’s confidence, motivation
Back to the running example:
Giving up on running might lead to feeling tired and run down.
It might diminish sleep quality causing a loss of focus and attention.
Giving up on any important goal could take a toll on self-confidence and/or
Having less energy and attention could have secondary consequences at work
and at home. It might reduce work quality and productivity and put a strain on
Feeling down and less confident, with less energy and motivation in all these
areas could set up a negative spiral of shame, guilt and poor self-esteem.
Would most people be able to pick themselves back up? Absolutely.
Would it send them into a never-ending spiral of depression and self-loathing?
However, by negatively impacting mood and confidence, giving up on an important
goal can have some real negative consequences.
This is the hell that we want to avoid.
Now let’s look at commitment.
Is the effort of pursuing the goal worth it to attain heaven and avoid hell?
When you get to this question, the answer should be clear: The effort of pursuing
the goal seems like a small price to pay.
If this is NOT the case, it’s time to re-evaluate the goal (or perhaps the value) and
whether or not its really important to you.
Back to running:
Is the effort of pursuing the goal, 20 minutes of running 3x per week, worth it to
improved health and vitality
better sleep quality
improved work and relationships
higher self-esteem and self-confidence setting up a positive spiral of selfactualization!
and avoid hell:
decline in health and vitality
poorer sleep quality
poorer work and relationships
reduced self-esteem and self-confidence that is a drag on future projects and
Now go! Create two columns - "Heaven" and "Hell", throw EVERYTHING down in those lists,
get crystal clear on your Heaven and Hell, prioritise your health and happiness,
and embrace a positive spiral of growth and self-actualization