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?
3. How much can you budget for your reward?