We all love them.
But, there’s a right way and a wrong way to reward yourself.
If you’re looking for a way to celebrate success there’s a big list of rewards below you can choose from.
Just as importantly, in this article, you’ll learn how to reward yourself to help foster good habits. That way, you not only reap the rewards but also benefit in the long-term.
Rewards are a Big Part of Creating a Habit
One of the most interesting things about rewards is that they play a BIG role in helping us form habits.
According to Charles Duhigg, the author of the book, “The Power of Habit”, your habits are formed when 3 elements are present.
- Cue – something that triggers a behavior from you
- Routine – this is the process of doing or performing the behavior
- Reward – the benefit you get from the behavior
Altogether, the make up a look that cause you repeat that behavior over and over again.
And, the reason you keep doing that action is because of the reward you get from. This can be in the form of satisfaction, something that makes you laugh or feel good.
This “Habit Loop” is why habits become a part of your everyday life.
…And, also why they’re so hard to break.
Example of Routines With and Without Rewards
One example of a reward system that reinforces the creation of a habit is “cheat meals”.
This is something professions athletes and even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson does.
Here’s how it goes.
The Goal: Eat Healthier
- Cue: It’s mealtime (breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner). So, you’re hungry.
- Routine: You prepare a healthy meal. Or, if you’re outside, you order something healthy from the restaurant menu.
- Reward: At the end of the week, you get a “cheat meal”. That is, you can indulge in your favorite unhealthy food.
The “cheat meal” helps you look forward to something. It also motivates you to stay on your healthy diet.
Plus, if offers the extra bonus of eliminating cravings, at least temporarily.
As a result, it’s easier to keep eating healthy.
Now, let’s take the same “cheat meal” example without the reward.
- It’s mealtime or you’re hungry.
- You snack of something healthy, cook a lean meal or order something healthy from a restaurant menu.
- You wash the dishes or pay the bill.
In this second scenario, the not having a reward makes it easier to give up or get bored with the routine.
So, after a few weeks, you’ll just get tired of doing it.
Rewards Can Be Negative as Well
Unfortunately, rewards aren’t necessarily always good.
Here are a few examples:
- After months of toughing it out, you finally hit your diet goals. Woohoo!
- So, you reward yourself by easing up on your diet’s rules.
- You finally got down to 1 cigarette a day.
- Your reward, you get a free smoke.
- You just paid off a debt
- Reward: Go shopping for nice clothes and shoes
Notice that each of the rewards go against what you were working towards. As such, you end up sabotaging your goals.
Similarly, vices and bad habits are also reinforced by rewards.
Here are some examples.
- Cue: You’re not doing anything or feel stressed
- Routine: You light up a cigarette and smoke
- Reward: The nicotine buzz makes you feel better
- Cue: You’re sad, have problems, are lonely or depressed
- Routine: You drink a beer, then take a few more shots
- Reward: Getting drunk makes you forget all your troubles
- Cue: You feel down or stressed
- Routine: You open the freezer and enjoy a tub of ice cream
- Reward: You’re comforted
This is similar to the basic habit loop. But, in this case, the behavior is bad for you.
The lesson here is that it’s important to choose good rewards when trying to form new habits.
How to Set Up a Good Reward System
So how do you set up a good reward system from start to finish?
Here’s an easy to follow framework that’s effective and doesn’t take a rocket scientist to pull off.
Break Down Your Goal Into Stages
Since you’re getting your rewards after you reach a goal, it’s important to define that goal.
Just as importantly, you should break up the entire goal into smaller steps or stages.
This makes it less overwhelming.
And, it allows you to reward yourself after each stage.
This helps keep you motivated throughout the process.
In contrast, if the entire goal takes a year or more to accomplish, setting your reward that far off will increase the odds of you losing interest somewhere along the way.
When Will You Get a Reward?
Basically, when do you reward yourself. Is it time-based or milestone based?
If you choose a time-based reward system, will it be using fixed intervals or at specific months of the year.
For example, most corporate jobs pay on a bi-weekly schedule. So, every 2 weeks, you get a reward for showing up to work.
Another alternative reward system can use milestones or mini-goals.
This is what happens with most project-based work.
For example, if you’re developing an app for a customer. You can set milestones at different points including design, mockup, testing, delivery.
Knowing the frequency before you get started helps you stay motivated because you know your efforts will pay off.
Set Rewards For Taking On Challenges Even If You Fail
One of the things I don’t like about school is that it teaches you “not to fail” or “not to take risks”. The grading and disciplinary systems are designed to make you “follow rules” and “do your projects and homework”.
This is why most entrepreneurs either dropped out of school, weren’t interested in it, or didn’t do well I school.
In the real world, you need to take risks to succeed. And with risk, comes failure.
Often, a lot of it.
At least, before you achieve success.
As such, I truly believe that it’s important to reward yourself for taking risks or going outside of your comfort zone.
Even if you fail.
For example, if you aren’t a fan of making videos to promote your online business, set a reward for yourself for creating your first YouTube video or doing your first Facebook Live.
Similarly, you can set a reward for pitching or reaching out to the biggest influencer in your niche. Something you probably wouldn’t have had the guts to do without the reward.
This encourages you to try and act on something instead of focusing on the outcome.
This is something Spanx founder Sara Blakely’s is grateful to her father for.
Make Good Rewards (Not Unhealthy Ones)
Finally, avoid rewarding yourself with things that are counter intuitive or harmful.
Like the examples above, there are rewards that aren’t healthy.
And while they make motivate you in the short-term, they’ll likely be detrimental in the long-term.
67 Ways to Reward Yourself for Completing a Goal or Task
Now for the fun part!
Below is a HUGE list of ways you can reward yourself when you achieve a task or goal.
They’re split up into different categories so you get to decide what kind of reward to give yourself.
1. Treat yourself to your favorite restaurant
2. Create a delicious smoothie
3. Cook your signature dish
4. Follow a Gordon Ramsay recipe
5. Enjoy your favorite wine
6. Get some fruits and veggies and make your own juice
7. Have a picnic outdoors
8. Enjoy a shot of ginger or turmeric at the juice store
9. Go to your favorite dessert place
10. Have food delivered so you don’t need to cook
11. Sign up for Blue Apron
12. Try to make tiramisu or macaroons
“Pamper Yourself” Rewards
13. Take a class on something you’ve always wanted to learn
14. Take the day off
15. Get a mani-pedi
16. Get a massage or visit the spa
17. Enjoy a facial
18. Book a yoga session
19. Have a workout with a personal trainer
20. Stay in bed
21. Take a nice long bath
22. Sign up for a
23. Glam up
24. Hire a cleaning service
25. Enjoy brunch with friends
26. Get a new haircut
27. Have your hair colored
28. Check out your nearest farmer’s market for new offerings
29. Find deals at the flea market
30. Get a new dress or shirt
31. Buy some flowers
32. Swap out your old beat up bag or wallet for a new one
33. Buy a useful book
34. Go on the Apple store a pick an app
35. Treat yourself to the techie gadget
36. Buy something for the house
37. If you’re doing well, why not buy a car or big-screen TV
38. Go to the park
39. Binge watch Netflix
40. Do some arts & crafts
41. Read the book you’ve always wanted to finish
42. Paint your nails
43. Volunteer to pass things forward
44. Spend time with your pet
45. Go to the garden and pick some flowers for the kitchen
46. Play with your kids
47. Go swimming
48. Play video games
49. Visit the museum
50. Have pot luck dinner with friends
51. Watch the sunrise and sunset
52. Call someone you can talk about your achievement with
53. Sing karaoke
54. Celebrate with friends
55. Take a mini-vacation
56. Plan a vacation
57. Go to the beach
58. Travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
59. Go to a theme or water park
60. Play your favorite sport
61. Watch a professional sports game
62. Invite friends over for game night
63. Watch a movie
64. Shop discounts
65. Go to a carnival or festival
66. Watch your favorite artist live in concert
Rewards are powerful tool in helping your achieve your goals.
They help motivate you, especially when the going gets tough.
Use the BIG LIST OF REWARDS above to find a way “pat yourself on the back” after completing a job or task.
It will help you celebrate your achievements.
And, get you raring to go for the next step towards your dreams.