The reason that goals are worth pursuing, and the reason they’re deemed valuable to us, is that we cannot snap our fingers and make them happen for ourselves. Consistent effort, be that with losing weight, getting your degree, or simply making your way through the first year of a relatively challenging new job, incentivising yourself can help you achieve anything you want to. In addition to the happiness meeting the goal will give us, an incentive gives us another little reason to keep on striving. The promise of an incentivised reward may be a great means of achieving that goal. Odds are, the potential vastly increases when we have extra treats on the horizon.
The Minor Treats & Encouragements Along The Way
It’s good to permit yourself a treat from time to time. In fact, some people may consider it necessary and I agree. I regularly treat myself – to encourage myself to keep going, or to reward myself for efforts so far. Incentives are a way for many people to keep going, to make a time more enjoyable or easy to deal with. Note that this incentive doesn’t have to be anything too expensive or over the top. Perhaps it’s something simple like treating myself to a trip to the cinema to see a new movie or some cakes from a new local bakery. It doesn’t have to be an expensive designer handbag or a weekend away!
Infact, I usually find that the most successful incentive treats are the ones that you would not usually ever indulge yourself with; things that you would normally consider a ‘waste of money’ as it means that meeting your goal is the only way you will ever allow yourself this said thing. Things i’ve used in the past are extremely fancy liquid hand soap from Dior, personalised DVLA number plates or very luxurious over-the-top new bedding. You can tailor the cost of the incentive to the importance/significance of the goal.
A Special Experience
For many people, incentive experiences are better than ‘items,’ because they can’t be taken from you. A special experience, like taking a weekend away in a remote cottage with your partner after getting a promotion, can be a great way to mark an achievement – something that you both actually and actively look forward to.
No matter how humble or regal your chosen incentive experience or adventure is (it could even be a day spa visit or just a deluxe manicure), knowing you have something on the horizon that’s good can make those long hours of studying or exercising feel easier to deal with and continue with. You’d be surprised just what a positive effect this can have. Perhaps go for afternoon tea, or book my favourite facial – the HydraFacial for yourself and a friend.
Looking In to a Hobby or Passion
Perhaps you and your friend have been talking about taking dance classes together, but you need to finish your physiotherapy to be able to do that. Looking into a hobby or passion you’ll be able to complete now that potential desired new hobby is on the horizon can be a very successful idea to incentivise yourself to meet a goal. For instance, perhaps you are striving to complete a photography course? Perhaps now is the time to look into a new camera you can reward yourself with on completion, so that you can really get a great start to your new career or passion?
Shopping Gift Cards
Sometimes, buying yourself a gift card for your favourite brand or retailer can be an amazing incentive to reach those goals, as it feels like a gift to yourself and you can spend ages daydreaming about what you can buy. This could be for a more expensive brand that you love, but that you wouldn’t normally shop at yourself.
Helping With a Transition
From time to time, a material reward may not be an appropriate incentive. For example, if you are trying to motivate yourself to change your circumstances or make a change in your mental attitude or mental health. For instance, if you are trying to motivate yourself to move out of your parent’s house and into your own home, you might reward yourself with removal men to help you move all those boxes, or reward yourself by being able to have a friend come and stay for a weekend.
Similarly, helping with a life transition provides yourself with the security to try something new. For example, if you are trying to find the courage to go back to work after a bereavement, you could ‘reward yourself’ with a weekly counsellor for the first month to help talk you through your feelings and help with this transition.
In some cases, getting a financial reward can incentivise yourself to keep going and reach those goals. Perhaps you could ‘allow yourself’ to take £1000 out of your first promotion wage packet to re-decorate your living room or upgrade your bedroom to the ultimate comforting space? Or, £500 to make this Christmas really over-the-top and special if you manage to lose that last stone? After all, isn’t it what parents have been doing to their children for all of history – promising them money if they do well in an exam or be brave at the dentist?
I hope you’ve gained some ideas of how to incentive yourself to reach your goals and meet your targets. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be the right incentive!
Main Image – by Markus Winkler / Second Image – by Ron Lach
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