Wake up Call: How to Reward Yourself the Right Way

Buffet Open All You Can Eat

I’m sure most people will agree that there’s no better way to boost motivation than rewards. Each time you achieve something big, reach a goal, or move forward with a task, a little pat on the back in the form of rewards will go a long way.

However, are the so-called rewards we give ourselves healthy or helpful?

Personal goals can range from losing weight, quitting smoking, eating healthy, to completing a project or getting a big promotion. To achieve your goal requires going out of your comfort zone, pushing yourself to your limits, and taking risks. And there will be times when you’ll hit a blank wall, but there will also be times when you achieve certain milestones.

When you do achieve that milestone, the best way to celebrate and reinforce the positive behaviour is to reward yourself. Indulging in little rewards is a good reminder to not quit and keep moving forward.

You should watch and make sure that the rewards you give yourself don’t backfire on you. If your big goal is to lose weight, then don’t reward yourself with an eat-all-you-can buffet! The reward is that you lost weight, not the possibility of over eating again. Instead, reward yourself with smaller, better fitting clothes or perhaps a new gym outfit!

If you’re working to save money or get out of debt, then don’t celebrate your hard work by spending money to reward yourself. Buying something new or indulging in a shopping spree won’t help with your long term goals, in fact; it may cause you to relapse to your old spending habits! It may be a better idea if you use the money you’ve saved up to open a new investment account or simply put the money in a rainy-day piggy bank.

Be careful that your motivation doesn’t slide you backwards and away from your goal.

It happens to everyone. We get over-zealous with our achievements and want to celebrate immediately. It’s absolutely fine to give yourself a reward, but make sure you do it the right way. Here’s how:

  • Save the rewards for those big wins and milestones. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging every little success you make and feeling motivated about it. But there’s a big difference between acknowledging success and actually rewarding them financially. Watch out that you don’t mix these terms.

  • Motivation doesn’t always have to come in material things. Think of rewards that will relax you, inspire you, and soothe your inner spirit. Be creative about it; time alone with a good book can be as good as a new gadget and it won’t cost a dime. Try giving yourself time off from work to walk your dog or take your kids out to the park.

  • Okay, if you really want to reward yourself materially by buying something, then make sure you put a ceiling on your spending limit. Don’t blow the money you saved for so long with just a single purchase to reward yourself. Celebrate getting out of debt, but try not to get yourself back in debt while you’re at it.

  • Don’t cheat by rewarding yourself anytime you feel like it. Only reward yourself when you truly deserve it, this makes the moment extra special. Don’t grab a hearty meal every time you feel like you need the motivation to keep losing weight because you never will reach your goal that way! Save the celebration when you know you truly deserve it.

  • When thinking of the best reward always choose time over food. The last thing you want is to find yourself regularly splurging on food just to reward yourself for hard work. You might soon find yourself looking for the slightest reason to splurge on food. Choose time—give yourself more time with a book, more time with friends, and family.

Have you ever given yourself a nonsensical reward just for the fun of it? Share your experiences below.