Here's how one of the researchers described her experiment:
In one of our studies, we put three groups of subjects alone in a room with a very large piece of chocolate cake, the utensils to devour it and water. We told them they could eat as much or as little cake as they wished. But first, the members of one group were instructed to focus on the pride they would feel if they resisted the cake. Those in the second group were told to imagine the shame they would feel if they ate it, and the final (control) group was simply let loose, with no instructions at all.
We discovered that the study subjects who anticipated pride at resisting the cake consumed far less than those who focused on the shame of succumbing. They also ate less than the control group. In other words, when it comes to self-regulation, anticipated pride outperformed anticipated shame as well as unconsidered, heedless consumption.
Think how powerfully that could be put to work in your classroom. I know I will try it in mine. I have found simple, brief meditation to be a good tool to help students to calm down and focus on the tasks to follow. Now in addition to the visualization of being relaxed and happy and calm and peaceful, I will add picturing being successful, being praised, feeling good, feeling proud of one's success and accomplishment.
Very simply ask them, "What would it feel like to get an A+ in that course? How good would that feel? Is that worth a few simple sacrifices?"
Anyway, it's something I plan to explore, and I always like to have a little academic verification to back me up.