And the Prize Goes To... YOU!

When was the last time you...

Took a bubble bath?
Read a book for fun?
Bought yourself a pretty bauble just because?
Got your nails done?


Okay, when you stop laughing, because you can't remember when, keep reading. I want to have a heart to heart talk with you about this, because we both know it's not easy to do.

blog title graphic and the prize goes to you

When I ask you when you last rewarded yourself, I'm not talking about the self-care stuff we discussed last week. We're talking about the nice little things you do for yourself, because you work hard at whatever you're rockin' and you deserve a reward.

We've talked before about S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals. The final R in that process is the reward. You meet your benchmark or goal, you get a reward. It's that simple.

pinnable and the prize goes to you smarter goals

For me, sometimes a daily goal has a reward of a soda (I've limited my caffeine - again - for health reasons). Bigger goals might carry rewards of a shiny new crystal for my collection. Really big goals, those get very special rewards, but because I have goals all along the journey to the end of the bigger picture, I've amassed several rewards in the process.

Think of this as the adult equivalent of the gold stars you might have earned in 1st grade. You do your homework, you get a gold star. You get A's, your parents took you out for ice cream. (Mine didn't, but you get the idea...)

This is why I love my Freedom Mastery Planners.[Affiliate link] I have two that I use concurrently, and each has space for goals and rewards. In fact, when I set up the planner, one of the first activities is goal setting, and matching goals to rewards.

Goals that give you rewards are more enticing. You're setting up your own carrot to dangle in front of yourself, so that you want to get the goal met.

Here are some best practices for setting up your rewards:

1. They should be in alignment with your overall plan and big goals. Rewarding yourself with a $1,500 ring that you have to put on credit, when you're trying to pay off your debt, isn't a great reward. That might be a better reward for a goal of having $10,000 in savings. 
2. They should be incentive to work your ass off to reach the goal. If you are consistently falling short of a goal, because you don't care much about not getting the reward, it's probably time to set a new reward. It's also a good time to reevaluate why you chose that goal in the first place.
3. The reward isn't the consequence of meeting the goal. You've set the goal because you want that outcome. The reward is the extra incentive to reach a little farther to get it done. Because sometimes, in the middle of doing really well on a diet, that extra piece of birthday cake is taunting you so loudly that you can't remember why you need to lose the weight. But you really, really want that new pair of jeans that you've been coveting and can't justify as a necessary expense.
4. The reward isn't something you need. Seriously. These are optional items. They don't have to be a material thing (a mani-pedi works, too!), but they should not be things you must have (in a need/required kind of sense). The things you need, are things you need. Take care of those as you can. Rewards are special treats.
5. You don't cheat and get the reward early. Confession time: I am terrible about this. You've gotta be tougher on yourself about this rule than you are on your kids about having ice cream for breakfast. Put it off, wait until you can honestly check the goal off  your list, and then get your reward.

So, you ask, what happens when I don't finish my goal within the stated time?

You reset the goal, or at least the due date, and you try again. You've already made progress. Keep pushing forward. 

Even if you didn't make your goal and get your reward, you learned something in the process, which is a kind of consolation prize (though not nearly as fun, I'll admit).

Good luck and enjoy racking up your prizes!

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