When we build new routines and habits to improve our wellbeing, it is always important to create goals that help us move forward and progress along the way. But sometimes, the goal alone is not enough, and we need something to motivate us: a reward. Here's how to define those rewards to get the most out of them.
How to create rewards
1 - Create the right rewards
Before starting, it is crucial to create a sound reward system. Although you should see your overall wellbeing as the greater goal, small milestones can be celebrated along the way. They will not only serve as an extra push but will also help you define your following habits.
Your reward can’t counteract or harm your progress towards your goals. If you intend to walk more, the reward should not be spending one day in bed. On the contrary, if you meet your walking goal, you could get a feet massage when getting at home.
The reward should be aligned with the nature of your goal and would be more potent if it is relevant and related to what you’ve just accomplished.
2 - Establish different levels
The system can be based on milestones or progress but also motivation or difficulty.
- Timing. You can define the goal, if short-, mid-, or long-term, and based on that, represent different milestones. You can get your reward when an important milestone is achieved and makes it easier to follow through.
- Difficulty. Depending on this, your motivation levels can be affected. If it is too hard, you can give yourself a smaller reward to keep you on and finally a great final reward.
For example, the first day can be tiny, the first week something small, the 6th month can be a medium reward, and finally, the big one after a year!
3 - It doesn't need to be physical
Not at all. When planning, you can think about which intrinsic rewards you would like to have: enjoy some intangible moments as an activity to discover, explore, learn… So you can think of a good moment to read, listen to music, a walk or a free evening as the perfect reward. Think about the pleasure of the most simple things.
4 - Not working? Review it
You know what would be the best for you. You might think the rewards you choose were the good ones to keep you motivated. But once you have started the process, you visualize yourself with the reward, and it does not make sense anymore.
You should think and reevaluate your reward system because you still consider the goal is worth it. It can be the reward itself, maybe the periodicity, etc. Experiment with different rewards. What were you missing?
5 - When to stop rewarding
Also, it is important to know when to stop rewarding, as there are goals that come to a natural end. Once the routine becomes a habit, it should not require almost motivation, and you can define your reward to another new goal.
6 - Writing it down
Writing down your rewards will increase your chances of commitment with them as you do with your goals. It also helps your mind organize and visualize your thoughts: you will think about them before writing them down, so they will be clear and accessible wherever you need to come back to them. Besides, it will become an easy habit you can benefit from to create new other habits around.
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