Discover How To Reward Yourself For Good Things

How do you reward yourself for being good?

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Everyone says that you should reward yourself for hitting goals or milestones, but the advice is always the same — get yourself that new TV/game/suit/watch/gadget/gizmo after weeks of working towards your goal. Unfortunately, that approach doesn’t work. But there’s one that does.

The Problem With Most Rewards

If you’ve ever tried to reward yourself, you might have run into some of the common problems with rewards.

To use an example: imagine your goal was to work out every day for a month, after which you’d buy yourself a new computer. When the reward is big and only happens once, it’s easy to renege on your goal. There are just too many ways to cheat.

Scenario One:

You burn out and don’t get anywhere close to working out every day for a month. This is super common when you’ve set big goals and rewards. The reward is too far off to be motivating, and doesn’t help when you’re tired and aren’t even sure what kind of workout to do.

Scenario Two:

You make some progress, and get about halfway to your goal. Then you miss a day. And as soon as you miss a day, it becomes harder to finish the next day. And the one after that. Before you know it, you’ve completely given up. But you did accomplish something, right? So maybe you still get yourself that computer.

Scenario Three:

You start making progress, and you think “I’m doing so well, I can probably just get that computer now.” So you get the computer. But then you start flagging. You show up to your workouts later and later, until you eventually stop altogether.

Scenario Four:

You make it! You finish a whole month of daily workouts, and you get that new computer! But then the appeal of working out wears off. You start to miss workouts because there’s nothing obvious to win at then end.

A big reward has a bunch of problems:

● It only happens once, and it’s so far off that it can’t really motivate you for long.

● It’s too easy to cash in early.

● It doesn’t teach you to enjoy the process; you’re only hunting the reward, so there’s nothing to look forward to over the long term.

What To Do Instead

Good rewards give you a small boost on a regular basis. They create a positive association with the action you need to take for your goal, making you more likely to stick with it (even if the reward goes away). In order to create that association, your rewards need to be small, regular, and associated to the action you’re trying to take.

discover-how-to-reward-yourself-for-good-things-pinWhat’s the problem with a computer? A computer has nothing to do with going to the gym! There’s nothing to stop you from taking the reward early and the two are really totally unrelated. Instead, use rewards that you can’t get without working out. In college, for example, I would hang out with a friend of mine that lived near the gym after each workout. Now, I dip into my favorite coffee shop on the way home from the gym.

Both are rewards I couldn’t get without going to the gym in the first place.

What Makes A Good Reward?

● It’s small, so it enhances the action instead of distracting from it.

● It’s regular, so it keeps you going over the long haul.

● It’s related to your goals, so you can’t get it without completing the action in the first place.

Changing the way you reward yourself can have a huge impact on reaching your goals. What rewards are you using right now? How can you make them better?

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