In a world that’s shifting to an ever-growing reward culture it’s hard to imagine that rewarding yourself can actually backfire, but it can and it does. Rewarding yourself can create a very positive reinforcement loop for great behaviors and routines but there are instances and ways in which rewards end up being self-defeating not self-inflating.
Imagine rewarding yourself and instead of receiving the benefits of reinforcement, gratitude and motivation, you end up sabotaging the very thing you were rewarding yourself for? If it doesn’t concern you, be aware, it happens more than you might think! Here’s a few things to watch out for so you don’t fall into the trap of hurting yourself more than helping!
1. Beware consistency
We do well with rewarding ourselves when the rewards come unexpectedly. It’s because we respond well to novelty. This excites us and creates a sense of thrill. Normally we are big advocates for consistency, especially early on in a reward system cycle. After a while, and once a behavior and routine are habitual, is when you want to keep an eye on switching up when, how or what you receive as a reward.
2. Don’t get caught up in end points
We spoke about the end of year and resolutions in our most recent podcast. You can listen in to it here! We spoke specifically about how making the year end into just that, an ‘end,’ is an inherently dangerous perspective. When we hit an end point it’s normal for us to go into a lull or a pause. If you’re rewarding yourself for an end achievement, the bigger the achievement and reward is the more likely you are to find yourself in a bigger pause. It can completely destroy momentum.
3. Reward type mistakes
Proud of yourself for shifting your morning routine to be a 5 am riser? Ready to reward yourself with a late night out and an 8 am start? The very act of giving yourself this reward TAKES AWAY from the progress you’ve made on your routine and ritual. The type of reward you give to yourself matters. Reward yourself with something that doesn’t contradict the behavior and work you focused your energy on. In this instance a great reward might be a special dinner out or a nice gift to yourself, not a late start to the day. What happens if you go the late start of the day as a reward. You put at risk the progress you made in the first place.
Looking for more ways to reward yourself and still hold yourself accountable to your goals, process and routines? Check out some of the services we offer in our 2 on 1 coaching where we bring the expertise of behavioral modification to your real world business and profession. You can check out our services here!
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