What makes you do what you do? Why do you want to achieve your goals? The answer can be downright simple, you either want to avoid the pain of not doing it or to gain the pleasure of accomplishing it.
In other words, if you want to wire yourself to achieve your goals, you must learn to reward yourself for your hard work so that you will be pulled by the pleasure of achievement.
“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t life controls you.” – Tony Robbins
You set a new goal, start a new habit, but after going a few days of frustration, you quit on them.
It is hard to stay consistent with a new habit or set on a path to achieving a goal. Most people will quit and give up when they don’t see any significant result after a few days.
Regardless of whether you are trying to lose weight or want to build a successful blog, after putting in effort and time into taking massive action for days or weeks, and if you still don’t produce any result, you’ll feel frustrated.
You will start to doubt yourself if you should continue; that if your effort has poured into the drain; or whether what you do is working or not.
But luckily, there is a simple way to trick yourself into taking action and sticking to your habit.
And it is through rewarding yourself.
You reward yourself when you achieve an important milestone or when you accomplish and make some progress.
Your rewards are what pulls you to keep moving forward. Your rewards are the pleasures that motivate and direct you to get what you want in life.
Like what Tony Robbins says, you must learn to use the power of pain and pleasure so that you can be in control of your life.
Thus, learn to create pleasure using rewards to drive you into taking massive and consistent action.
You might want to read this article to understand the power of reward and celebration:
Here’s how you should reward yourself:
1. Relevant. Choose a reward that aligns with your goals
First, you must choose a reward that aligns with your goals.
For instance, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds and you hit your weekly target of working out in the gym for 2 hours, you don’t reward yourself with a luxury dinner. You don’t reward yourself with liquor or a bowl of chocolate ice-cream.
If you do that, your reward is just not going to help you in reaching your goal.
The same goes when your goal is to get out of debt. When you hit a certain milestone, you don’t reward yourself by buying more stuff and accumulate even more debt.
That’s just not the way it works.
You must choose a reward that aligns with your goal. You don’t make a reward that sabotages your goal. Get it?
Next, aim for moderation. Now, I’m not saying that if you want to lose weight, you can’t reward yourself with a bowl of ice-cream at all.
Perhaps, you can enjoy a scoop or two. The key is moderation.
You don’t want to overdo it that your reward sabotages your goal. You want to do it in a proper way that your reward helps you build a good habit and reinforce the action.
When you reach a milestone, you can buy yourself something that you like, and something that you can afford.
You don’t have to go into debt to buy yourself a reward because you are making progress of getting out of debt.
Be moderate, my friend.
3. Excitement. Pick a reward that motivates you
The next factor you should consider is if the reward you choose is going to motivate you to achieve more.
Don’t pick a reward that doesn’t motivate you at all.
Everyone’s different. Some people crave for a bowl of ice-cream, some people want to have a Bose headphone, some are motivated for an Apple laptop, and some crave for a Nike shoe.
Whatever it is, the reward you choose must serve a meaning within you.
The reward needs to at least able to drive you so that you’re looking forward to achieving it.
There is no point in choosing a reward that you don’t look forward to achieving.
For example, the night before you embark on an overseas trip for vacation, most likely, you’re going to feel excited and probably, you can’t sleep. Why is that?
Well, because you’re excited about it, you’re looking forward to it, and you’re driven to experience your vacation in your dream destination.
That’s how a reward supposed to be – exciting and rewarding.
4. Easy and instant. Make your reward easy and able to achieve quickly
Next, try to make your reward easy to get and so that you can hit it quickly.
If possible, you want to reward yourself right after you put in the hard work. You don’t want to wait for a week only then to receive the reward.
Why? The answer is simple. The faster you get your reward, the better you can reinforce your brain and tell yourself that you are being rewarded for the action.
Like how you train a dog. You give her a treat right after she performs what you requested. You don’t give her a treat after an hour because she will never know what the reward is for.
The point is that you want to associate the good feeling instantly after the hard work.
You want to condition your mind to think that there is a reward after the pouring in the effort so that you will look forward to it.
Hence, create many small rewards to yourself.
After putting in 30 minutes of hard work, you can reward yourself with a 5 minutes short break. This does not only recharges your energy, but it also works as a reward system that increases both your motivation and productivity.
5. Choose the right level reward
Another thing you have to consider is to choose the right level of reward. You don’t want to simply reward yourself.
Remember, small rewards are for small tasks, targets, or milestones. And reserve big rewards for bigger tasks and goals.
You don’t want to reward yourself by watching a 2-hour movie because you completed a small task of reading for 15 minutes.
Similarly, you don’t want to reward yourself with just a cup of coffee after 3 days of hard work.
Remember, choose the right level reward to match your hard work and/or progress.
17 Good Ways to Reward Yourself
After going through the art of giving yourself rewards, it is now time to choose what kind of reward you should give yourself.
Here are 17 good ways that you can try out:
- Spend an hour with someone you care over a cup of coffee. You can also do this with your business partner or a good friend as a short getaway from your work.
- Buy yourself something that will make your work more enjoyable, like a new laptop, a headphone, or a good backpack.
- Reserve a table for breakfast or enjoy tea time in a hotel or higher end cafe on the weekend.
- Buy yourself a new workout shoe or a piece of gym equipment. This will encourage you to workout more to hit your fitness goal.
- Indulge yourself with something that you love to eat. It can be ice-cream, chocolate, or cake.
- Plant a tree or get an indoor plant or flower box. This can remind you of your accomplishment and at the same time, fill your room with some green.
- Fly business class for your next trip. So you want to experience the lifestyle of the rich? You can try it now.
- Visit the spa and enjoy the relaxing bath while listening to your favorite tunes or reading.
- Go for a one or two day-trip and just relax in a great resort. You can do your planning, some reading, and soul relaxing too.
- Get yourself an expensive suit so that you look great and give yourself a confidence boost.
- Give yourself permission to take a short nap. This can be a useful reward when you’re tired of working throughout the day.
- Read a book while sipping a cup of hot chocolate. This will only work if you love reading, like me.
- Take a day off and go shopping, visit the museum, art gallery, watch a movie in the theatre, or simply relax by the beach.
- Take 30 minutes off to play your favorite games, watch a funny short movie, or do nothing.
- Plan for camping and doze off in a hammock by the beach or the beautiful mountain.
- Redecorate your workspace, bedroom, or the entire house. Make your workstation like Facebook or Google’s office. Make it inspiring.
- If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, go for an outdoor walk, build a campfire, go stargazing, or go hiking.
There are plenty of things you can do to reward yourself for your hard work.
But whatever rewards you choose, just make sure that they are relevant, moderate to a certain extent, exciting, instantaneous, and justifiable at the right level.
If you need more creative ways on how to reward yourself, read this article for more ideas.