We are already into part 2 of our series on how to get yourself motivated and complete all your awesome goals. Hopefully you are feeling much more driven to actually achieve your dreams after Emma shared the motivational trick of list-making that works for her, but if that wasn't a method that speaks to you, it's totally OK! We still have two more methods to share with you, and Sarah is going to guide you through her rewards-based method today. Maybe this will be the one for you! Hey guys, Sarah here! I read once that it takes 30 days of doing something consistently to develop a habit. Sometimes even attempting to develop small habits (like cleaning your house for 15 minutes a day, or going for a walk every day) feels like a major lifestyle change. If you're like me, then making a major lifestyle change can be pretty daunting and nearly impossible without a reward system in place! But hang on, it might not even be that easy. Rewards can cover so many things! You might be one of those blessed personality types that just completing your goal is the reward. Oh, bless you very much. Others of you might be motivated by a movie night, a new jacket, or a lovely cheese pizza just for you. But maybe you haven't found a reward system that works.
I think the real key to setting a motivational plan is to not listen to what other people are putting in place as their rewards, and instead, to ask the person who knows you best (you!) what rewards would motivate you. Here's my basic thought process:
1. What would you like to receive as a gift?
I've tried so many reward systems on myself that I'd given up believing that rewards could work, and then I had a real "duh" moment. Laura and I were talking about gift giving and what gifts we like receiving. I thought pretty hard about it when I realized my favorite gifts are just gift cards! It sounds really dumb, but it's like someone is giving me the gift of guilt-free shopping. I love shopping, but I'm usually shopping for things for the home, or for our daughter (baby girl stuff is impossible to resist. Resistance is completely futile). So, it's a pretty special gift when I get to just shop for myself.
Oh and here comes the "no doy" moment! What if my reward was just money to spend on myself?
And then the motivation began flowing through my veins. I sat down and devised a three-month plan to reach my next health goal. I made mini goals along the way, so that with each completed mini goal, I'm accruing for myself a little more shopping money—but I'm not allowing myself to cash out until my three months are complete. Make sense? I've never been more motivated, and I've already completed two of my mini goals! So what would be your favorite (realistic!!) present you could receive right now?
2. When will you get to collect your reward?
Are you the type of person who would work longer and harder towards a big long term reward, or do you think you'd like a constant small reward for working hard weekly/daily? Nobody knows you better than yourself! You can try both—I would start with setting a long term goal/reward system, and if you find yourself slipping, you might try rewarding yourself each week to keep up the motivation. :)
3. How much can you budget for your reward?
Earlier I stressed the word realistic because, you know, we all would love a whole new wardrobe from Madewell or Anthropologie right? (Just me?) But finding that in our checking account is a whole other story. You might be able to budget $10-20 a week to put towards your big reward, but you might only be able to budget $1-5, or nothing at all! And that is totally fine, because the best things in life are free, correct? Here are a few ideas that I would consider rewards for myself that fall under several different budgets.
-Take a half day off work and go thrifting!
-Have an evening at home alone with Netflix or a good movie/book. (If you're on the introverted side, "time alone" can be a huge reward!)
-Make something you normally wouldn't make, such as cookie dough without eggs so you can just eat it. :)
-Plan a day trip—find an interesting place in a 2-3 hour radius that you could drive to one weekend, explore, and then come home all in a day.
-Allow yourself 1 hour of guilt-free treats! Get a donut, order a large latte. No judgies.
-If you're a parent, time alone or time with your significant other would be a huge treat. Plan something super special as a reward!
-Sometimes a new pair of shoes is a great reward.
-If you're on a larger budget (total budget would be accruing over $100-200), then plan how you're going to use that money to redecorate a room, or buy new bedding, or go craigslisting for a new accent chair. Something that's an investment in our living space always feels like such a reward for me.
-Just for once, skip the cheap coffee for your home brew and buy a bag of really great quality coffee. It's the reward that keeps on giving for like a week!
-Buy a new book—one that you know will be positive and motivational.
-Plan a movie night, invite friends over, and celebrate reaching your goal together! Or better yet —make it a dessert night and everyone has to bring pie. And please invite me to that one. 🙂
-Is there anything you've been wanting to do for a long time? For instance, I've always wanted to learn screen printing, so a good reward for me would be to take a screen printing class, or a pottery class, or an upholstery class, etc. You can always check your local community colleges for classes you can audit at night.
-If a long term reward doesn't work as well to motivate you, try a weekly reward for meeting your goals each week! It could be something small like an ice cream during lunch breaks on Fridays, or going to a matinee and getting popcorn every Saturday, or going on a latte run before work one day a week. Clearly, I am driven by food and coffee—but you get the idea.
Guys, setting goals and making them happen is so much harder than it sounds, but I know you can do it! Have friends alongside you that are cheering you on! Even if it's just a goal to keep your house cleaner, or to pay your bills on time every month—it's all worth celebrating if you are making strides to make it happen. And have fun with it! 🙂 xo. Sarah