Why are you using the reward system on every other person but not yourself? Admit it. You use it on your kids when you want them to do something such as go to the dentist or eat their vegetables. You use it with your partner, too, when you want them to take out the trash or pick up the laundry. It’s an effective method, but we never thought about using it on ourselves.
It is important to reward yourself when you accomplish anything, small or big. The world is harsh enough that you have to work hard for everything. So, if you can reward yourself either with material or non-material things, do it. The brain will associate finishing tasks to positive emotions. It will link pleasure to fulfilling goals. It’s one of the best ways to be productive.
How to Reward Yourself
Some people choose not to reward themselves because it sounds selfish. So, is self-reward selfish? Not really. You are treating yourself to something you like because you finished something you should. You didn’t step on others to get what you want, so why is rewarding yourself selfish?
It doesn’t have to be anything grand, or it can be, depending on what you can afford. You could give yourself luxury rings for women if you did particularly well in a task you set out to finish. If you’ve been promoted because you’ve been working nonstop for the past couple of years, why shouldn’t you reward yourself? Who else will do it for you?
It can also be something as simple as giving yourself a break. These days, taking a break is a form of reward. You can go to a spa for the weekend or even get a one-hour massage after cleaning the whole house. Again, rewarding yourself doesn’t have to be expensive (though it can be, too, if you like).
For something to be a treat, you need to recognize it as a treat. Otherwise, it’ll just be something you picked up randomly for yourself. This is an important distinction when rewarding yourself. Your brain has to recognize something as a treat for it to associate that reward to that thing you accomplished.
The experience becomes much more of a treat when your brain begins associating positive feelings to usually difficult tasks such as work and household chores. In the future, it becomes easier to do these tasks because your brain is programmed to think that you deserve a treat afterward. So even though you don’t necessarily have to give yourself something, your mind will associate finishing tasks with pleasure.
What Happens When You Don’t Give Yourself a Treat?
Depriving yourself of good things, of things you like can leave you feeling burned out, resentful, and depleted. What happens when you feel burned out? You lose the will to finish the tasks that seem to be too difficult for you. In fact, even simple tasks will seem like such a chore to you because you’re exhausted physically and mentally.
Even though you cannot always give yourself a break physically (because you are working), you can treat your mental health. Feeling deprived is the worst thing to happen to people. You will start to feel a range of emotions—from neglect to frustration to annoyance and sometimes, even to depression.
You will lose the will to work. You are going to be less productive, and your work will suffer. Sure, you didn’t give yourself treats because you think it’s selfish, but what does it mean in the long run? Isn’t it more of a problem to receive negative feedback from your boss? You’re putting your job and yourself in jeopardy by not giving yourself a break.
How to Know You Deserve a Treat?
At the end of each day, write down three things that you accomplished that day. No matter how big or small, write at least three things down. Commit to celebrating each of these things. Whether it’s eating a slice of cake or re-watching a favorite movie, make sure to spend time rewarding yourself every day.
The things you accomplished don’t have to be grand ones. You don’t need to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus to get a treat. Giving yourself a pat on the back is the equivalent of someone saying you look good when you didn’t even brush your hair. It’s the ultimate morale booster.
Every person should have a list of things they want to give themselves every time they accomplish something. You will see a difference in how you approach each task. There’s a spring in your step, and you’re more focused than ever.