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Anticipation of a reward can be a powerful motivating factor. And you and everyone you know would agree that a reward would be great after mastering a daily habit or reaching a big quarterly or annual goal. So why don’t you do it? Ah. Maybe it’s because you can’t think of ways to reward yourself.
Where do you start?
The DevelopGoodHabits site offers 155 ways to reward yourself. But to me, those ideas are better suited to reward smaller, habit-based goals. Not enough to get me psyched up for achievement-based goals.
For example, I do love their suggestion to take a long bath, but that’s not a very big reward for me. Putting stickers on my planner doesn’t cut it for me at all. And some of those “rewards” feel more like penalties to me! (I don’t enjoy window shopping at the mall.)
Here are what I’d consider high impact ways to reward yourself after a big achievement.
Free to low price ways to reward yourself
Here, I’m thinking less than $20.
- Did you figure out how to shave time off time from your day while simultaneously achieving your big goals? Start an herb garden with those extra hours!
- Take a drive into the country at night — deep into a rural area — and go stargazing. It will give you a great sense of magnificence, and hopefully a sense of empowerment.
- Treat yourself to a decadent dessert or other treat. Think self-care, relaxation.
- Go to a flea market; buy an elegant item at a bargain price.
- Use a shopping service for your groceries. In my neighborhood, a one-time delivery service costs $7–10 extra. (Willing to spend more for a bigger reward? I got a 1-year subscription to Instacart. I also got half off a $100 subscription.)
- Purchase a subscription to a premium service for movies or entertainment. Premium Spotify service is around $10 a month.
- Create an at-home spa day. Again, think self-care, relaxation.
- Fly a kite. I’m serious! As you’re doing it, tie one of your “worries” to the end of the string and imagine that the worry floats away as the kite flies in the air.
- Go to a town or city that offers a hot air balloon rally. I love doing this, and the best part is chasing a balloon!
Moderate price ways to reward yourself
Here, I’m thinking in the $20 to $100 neighborhood.
- Order a subscription to a meal service. There are several listed here. I’ve never tried any of these, but I’ve read about the quality, convenience, and nutritional value of HelloFresh and Blue Apron.
- Buy yourself a gift card for a mani/pedi, and don’t allow yourself to use it until you achieve your goal.
- Hire someone to clean your house.
- Buy a weighted blanket. Some small studies have suggested that, like a hug, weighted blankets help to “cuddle” you, thus calming your sympathetic nervous system. Examples include the Gravity Blanket, or the Tranquility Blanket.
- Buy an insulated French press cup.
- Buy a FriXion pen. There’s no way I’d allow myself to have such an expensive pen on some whim. But one quarter, I promised myself that I’d get this expensive but functional pen if my business met its quarterly goal. We actually came in at 104% that quarter. Now, I attach it to my Full Focus Planner, and I use it every day. Which means that every day, I am reminded of my success that quarter!
High price ways to reward yourself
Let’s say the goal was huge, and you’ve got the budget to go all out.
- Get season tickets to the opera, a baseball team, or something you enjoy.
- Go to a high-end restaurant. I prefer a local favorite, but if you need suggestions for a nationally-recognized chain, consider any that I’ve had a good experience at: Wildfire, Del Frisco’s, Ruth’s Chris, or Morton’s. (In that order.) A bunch more are listed here.
- Buy a designer accessory. (I once bought myself a fabulous cashmere Oscar de la Renta scarf.)
- Book a leisure trip to a fabulous destination.
These are just a few examples of ways to reward yourself after achieving one of your big goals — maybe your versions need some editing. Or maybe rewards perfectly suited for you look totally different. In any case, I hope these get your mind working about how you might reward yourself when you know you’ve earned it!
Make your reward visible
Step one, writing down your goals, is vital for achieving them. Step two, writing down your motivations for those goals, helps keep you focused. There’s a third step you can add to the process: write your reward. Make yourself a promise for when you achieve your goal, and make good on that promise! They say you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and this is true for your own mind too — instead of punishing yourself (in the form of shame and negative self-talk) for not meeting your goals, find some ways to reward yourself and show yourself some love for what you’ve accomplished. Then keep that reward in sight while you work.
So don’t forget: write your goals, write your motivations, and write your rewards.
What do you do to reward yourself? Or what rewards do you give to others that you might enjoy for yourself?
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