How to Set S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals (Part 8): R is for “Reward Yourself throughout the Process”
In yesterday’s blog post, I discussed the importance of Enlisting support from others when working on your goals. In today’s post, I will show why it is so helpful to “Reward yourself throughout the process.”
As I’ve mentioned previously, achieving long-term goals can be very challenging and frustrating. This is certainly true for me with regard to writing books. Many times I find myself struggling as I try to put my thoughts into clearly written sentences. My first drafts are clunky and awkward. It is a slow and laborious process. Because it can be frustrating, I am often tempted to put off my writing in favor of other work activities that are more pleasant.
As frustrating as it is, I realize that I have to go through the process. As a wise person once said, “The secret of your success is hidden in your daily routine.” But there may be many days or even months of frustrating toil before your goal is achieved.
This is why it is so easy to quit. It is natural for us as human beings to seek pleasure and avoid boredom, pain or frustration. To counteract this situation, I frequently reward myself with small treats and pleasurable activities whenever I make progress on my goal.
Many people do just the opposite. They punish or deny themselves things that they enjoy when they fail to make progress and they neglect to reward themselves whenever they do make progress. I have found that punishing yourself is counterproductive. In contrast, it can be very motivating to give yourself smaller, more frequent rewards for completing individual, specific tasks that move you closer to achieving your larger goal.
There are many different ways to reward yourself for completing a task. Fortunately, it does not always take a huge reward to motivate a person. For example, you could give yourself a small reward after working on a task for fifteen or twenty minutes. I often reward myself with a small piece of chocolate or a handful of almonds. Other food rewards that are less fattening include a handful of grapes or blueberries or a bowl of air-popped popcorn.
Non-food rewards can also increase your motivation. For example, if you work on a project for two hours, treat yourself to a movie you’ve wanted to see. If you don’t have time to watch a movie, perhaps you could spend a few minutes watching YouTube videos. Another way to reward your self could be to buy some flowers, a book, a CD or even a new power tool. Perhaps you could treat yourself to 30 minutes of your favorite hobby such as crocheting or reading a novel. You may also want to reward yourself with a walk by the lake or a scenic drive in the country.
What are some rewards that you could give yourself as you make progress towards your goal?
I recommend that you try the “The S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal Setting System” for a month. Then, be sure and share your results with our blog readers in the comments.