“Here is your Ice Cream”. Boy, I loved hearing those words as a kid after completing a task assigned by my parents.
When I was young, my parents used to take me out for ice cream if I completed a sizable task I was assigned, for example, cleaning the garden. The more the effort to complete the task, such as scoring good grades, the better the reward was, like a bicycle.
We all know the drill. Do something and get something in return. The more the effort/energy/time spent, the better the reward.
It is the most famous strategy to get things done for one simple reason.
Because it works! You can use the same principle to reward yourself.
This article is Step 10 – The secret benefits of rewarding yourself you didn’t know of Phase 2: Gain Momentum with Routine of the 3 phase transformation into superhuman productivity. You can begin right from step 1 by accessing the index here – 3 Phase Transformation into Living Your Dreams.
To understand the purpose behind the activity I recommend you to read through the article. But, for the busy bees, you can go directly to the exercise.
Every single person knows the technique, every single person has been a part of the technique. In spite of the knowledge and the proven results behind its success, when was the last time you rewarded yourself?
- Why does a personal reward system work?
- How to reward yourself for meeting goals?
- 4 Tips for effective self rewarding
- Exercise for rewarding yourself
Why does a personal reward system work?
Reward and actions are closely related. Think it through. You perform an action expecting a reward.
Though the reward does not always show up as an award or a trophy, you expect some form of return for the effort you put in.
- You expect a salary for working every month
- You expect to lose weight after working out for a month
- You expect to reach a destination when you step into a car
No matter what, your action is tied to some outcome. The problem is, the result can sometimes take a long time to show up.
You will not lose weight the day you worked out. You will lose body fat over time. In the meantime, you might lose the motivation to keep going when you do not see the result.
If you put in a simple personal reward system, you find the reason to keep going. The magnitude of the reward is not directly proportional to motivation. Even the smallest of rewards can get you all pumped up to do more.
The reason for a reward helping your energy levels is backed by science. Every time you receive a reward, your body releases dopamine which creates a sense of pleasure. Your body secretes the same chemical during various other occasions of pleasure, both good and bad, such as love, sex, gambling, smoking and so on.
To top that, dopamine is highly addictive no matter what form it shows up in. You crave for more and more dopamine. By building a reward system for yourself, you are using your dopamine to your advantage.
How to reward yourself for meeting goals?
Do you believe you can motivate yourself by rewarding yourself?
You might the concept silly and wonder how is rewarding yourself important? But as silly as it sounds, the method works. When you have put in a lot of effort and get an award for your efforts in public, you do have a feeling “I deserve it”.
When you are on a journey to achieve your long term goal, unfortunately, there is no external entity to recognize the hard work you have put in.
You might have spent the whole week barely sleeping, sweating it all out. Only you know how hard you have worked for it.
The only person who can reward you for your efforts is YOURSELF. The only person who can motivate you to keep going is also YOURSELF.
So do not miss out on the opportunity to reward yourself a treat, because you definitely deserve it.
Good ways to reward yourself in little ways
Every time you do a good job or accomplish a significant task, reward yourself in small proportions. A good place to start is rewarding yourself for meeting goals that are of reasonable size.
When you hear the word reward, what came to your mind? I am guessing you thought about something materialistic and had a reasonable cost like a pair of shoes, sunglasses, sound-canceling headphones and whatnot.
But the reward does not have to be lavish or extravagant. Any reward, big or small helps in motivating yourself. The key thing is making sure the reward makes you happy. For example, if you get a book as a reward but you do not enjoy reading, it does not help.
There is no one fit for all reward system. Since only you know the best way to reward yourself, you can build a personal reward system of your own. You have a million different ways to reward yourself if you think enough. Here are a few reward ideas.
Drink a glass of wine
Buy yourself your favorite chocolate
Buy a ticket to that show
Heck, you can even order from Amazon and ask them for a gift wrap. When the delivery person shows up at your door, it would seem like a gift from you to yourself in real.
How can I reward myself for free?
The reward does not always have to be tangible. Rewards can be non-materialistic too. Here is how you can reward yourself without money
- Watch a movie during your work hours if you are a movie buff
- Solve a crossword
- Read that gossip article about your favorite celebrity
- Sleep an extra hour
If you are wondering you can do the same even without accomplishing any task, you have to change your mindset. Make yourself work for the reward such that when you get the reward, you believe you deserve it. Not only have you got your reward, but you also now have got a dopamine rush to do more for another reward.
If you buy yourself things or do what you like doing whenever you like it, you are losing the opportunity to condition yourself to do better.
When you get a treat, you feel special, respected and cared for. This helps you build good habits and maintain good routines. Yes, even if the reward is from yourself!
4 Tips for effective self rewarding
1. Make sure your reward system is effective:
Everyone has their own personal interests.
A chocolate bar for reading a book might serve as a great motivation for you to read another book. For your friend, it might not seem worth the effort. He might prefer an evening out with friends instead.
Do not look up for reward ideas on the internet. Reward yourself suitably with rewards that make you feel happy.
2. Your rewards should not have a direct substitute:
Your reward should not have an easy substitute that you can enjoy without any effort.
If your reward was playing with your neighbor’s dog, when you have a dog yourself, you might end up taking that alternative.
Gaining the reward must make you happy. Missing the reward must make you feel the pinch.
If the getting or missing reward does not make any difference to your emotions, you need to rethink your perks. If your system is ineffective, the reward will fail to be motivational enough.
3. Reward proportionally for the effort put in:
I am stating the obvious here.
You cannot reward yourself with a new pair of expensive shoes for studying half a day. You will run out of money before you run out of tasks to do. On the other hand, do not gift yourself miserly chocolate for the hard work of writing a whole book.
If you give yourself massive rewards for small tasks, you cannot scale that model. As your tasks get tougher, you will expect a bigger reward. In short, your system cannot keep up.
Your reward should match the value of the effort you put in. The longer and harder the task was, the bigger your reward should be.
The reward should be such that your inner self should scream “Hell Yeah, I deserve that”
4. Do not reward to cancel the effort:
The reward that you give yourself should not be harmful to the progress you are making or the goal you are setting.
For example, if your goal is to develop a set of six-pack abs, you cannot reward yourself with ice-cream for completing your workout every day. If you spent one hour working productively with no technology distractions, you cannot reward yourself 1 hour of carefree time spending.
Your reward cannot turn into an excuse for making things worse for you. Many people who start working out take it as a reason to eat more junk. When they notice their weight increasing, they complain about exercise not aiding with weight loss.
At the same time, do not worry about an occasional reward even if it hampers your goal a bit. Eating your favorite sundae once a week is acceptable if you maintain a healthy routine.
But use your best judgment based on the habit, goal, and reward. If your goal is to quit smoking, an occasional cigarette can slip you right back into the habit. If you want to reward yourself for saving money, don’t gift yourself an expensive item.
Make a sensible reward system such that it not only motivates you but also keeps you on track of your goal. This isn’t a complicated science.
There are no hard and fast rules or the right structure for building a self-reward system. All you need is a little common sense and understanding of the purpose of the system. You must push yourself one step further towards your goals using this system.
Exercise for rewarding yourself
Let us do an exercise. You will set up a reward system for yourself.
List down the top 3 tasks which you have postponed for a long time. These tasks can be big or small, it does not matter. Stick to only 3 for now, neither more nor less.
Next, list down the rewards which make you happy and seem neither extravagant nor insignificant. Decide on a reward for completing each of these tasks. Follow the tips mentioned above to make sure the reward is effective and proportional to the work done.
Keep in mind that you must build a personal reward system that helps you accomplish your goal. If any part of your reward system goes against that rule, you need to replace the perk you set for yourself.
Experience yourself how the reward mechanism boosts your own motivation.
Leave a comment on what are the 3 tasks you came up with for your reward system.
Do not underestimate the power of self-rewarding. I had a habit of working all the time, exhausting myself only and dragging myself to bed only to return to the same routine the next day.
Over time, such an effort can turn hard to sustain if the result shows no sign of arriving. So do not forget to reward yourself for working hard.
Rewarding is an age-old mechanism of getting things done. You have seen that applied by leaders on people.
But in this article, you have understood how to use the rewarding technique to reward your own self to get things done from yourself. Learning how to reward yourself is an effective method to help you jump out of bed each morning.
You went through an exercise to come up with rewards for yourself for completing tasks. Make this a practice and you will be looking forward to a reward every day.
This article is Step 10 – The secret benefits of rewarding yourself that you didn’t know of Phase 2: Gain Momentum with Routine of the 3 phase transformation into superhuman productivity. You can begin right from step 1 by accessing the index here – 3 Phase Transformation into Living Your Dreams.
Pat yourself on the back. You have made it through all the steps of Phase 2: Gain Momentum with Routine. You are now stepping into the final phase of boosting your productivity.
Maxim Dsouza has spent over a decade experimenting and finding various time management techniques to improve his productivity. He strongly understands the fact that time is a limited commodity and tries to make every second count. He has extensive experience in leadership in startups, small businesses, and large corporations.
He has helped people of different professions and age groups gain clarity on their goals, improve focus, revise their time management skills and develop an awareness of their psychological cognitive biases.