Mostly people think that just the achievement of the goal is the reward but this is not necessarily the case. If you don’t learn to reward yourself there will be dangers ahead.
Goal setters and high achievers expel lots of energy. Some are naturally highly motivated while others have learnt how to awaken or turn up the intensity of motivation in their lives. When working with clients to create S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measureable, attractive, realistic, and time-framed) goals we always make sure there is a reward at the end.
“Burnout is nature’s way of telling you, you’ve been going through the motions your soul has departed; you’re a zombie, a member of the walking dead, a sleepwalker. False optimism is like administrating stimulants to an exhausted nervous system.” Sam Keen
One can quickly move on to the next goal or be surrounded by lots of activity which means the satisfaction of achievement doesn’t recharge the batteries as it should. After all that work and energy you feel depleted instead of encouraged. One person works hard at a goal and achieves it. Additional motivation kicks in to go for more. Another person though, sees the same goal as just another task completed. Both achieved the same goal but ended up with different outcomes. WHY?
Rewards Come Different Ways
Sometimes rewards come through our work of from others (external). These can be things like a promotion, bonus, recognition for our work/excellence or some award. Sometimes these don’t come because there is only one promotion or only one winner of an award.
Why Reward Yourself?
Motivation in essence is about emotional energy. That emotional energy is then transferred into activity. While you are achieving your goals you are using both physical and emotional energy. To continue on the path of achievement you must make sure that both energies are replenished. Sometimes people go on a holiday or weekend away that has rested them physically but when they return they put their foot to the floor and find they are quickly running out of gas. What happened? Only one fuel tank was filled, the physical.
- The self-aware person knows WHAT re-charges their emotional batteries. Some suggestions of rewards can be:
A special purchase of something you’ve been wanting to buy yourself
A weekend away
A night out
A meal at your favourite restaurant
A day off – a mental health day
An afternoon walking around an art gallery or in nature
Make the reward compatible with the goal. If you’ve saved money then don’t reward yourself by spending it. There are ways to reward yourself that don’t cost money.
If you’ve lost weight you wouldn’t reward yourself with food.
An Essential Key to Rewarding Yourself
The essential key in all this is to be very present to get maximum benefit from the reward. Tell your friends you are rewarding yourself. Whilst doing the activity or making the purchase remind yourself of why you are doing this. Pause a moment and reflect on the achievement. Congratulate yourself. If you are not feeling a sense of satisfaction or elated then you are not getting the maximum benefit from the reward.
Just in case you are not aware of the symptoms of burnout here they are. If you are experiencing any of these you could ask yourself the question. When was the last time I rewarded myself?
You can read more about burnout here