As you implement your new life plan, it’s essential that you make time to feel good about your new work. Much of that should be internal. You should be proud of your accomplishments and ignore attempts by your brain to downplay your efforts.
But let’s be honest. Sometimes we need more than just a mental pat on the back.
This is good because you can make it happen. You can easily set up a series of daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly rewards to acknowledge openly and tangibly, even loudly, that you are succeeding.
Bear in mind that these are small rewards for you to enjoy, not lavish rewards that will throw your schedule or budget off track. After all, the idea of the reward is just as important, if not more so, than the reward itself.
Food and Drink
For example, I keep a cookie jar on my desk with the label, Today is a day worth celebrating. I see the jar while I’m working, and it reminds me that every day is a gift and an opportunity.
Rewarding yourself with food has recently fallen out of favor, so if you’re overweight, diabetic, or have other problems with consuming food or drink, you should pick something else. However, if you have a good relationship with food, don’t let others’ attitudes get you down. Does a glass of wine and little chocolate sound as good to you as it does to me? Use it.
One of the upsides of using things like food and drink for rewards is that it’s so easy to deny yourself the reward if you don’t “earn” it. Never pick a reward that should actually be a part of your everyday life, like spending time with your kids or taking a walk to clear your head. Rewards should be enjoyable, but expendable.
The secret to a successful gratitude journal is to think small. Yes, you’re grateful for your life, your loved ones, and so on. But the journal should celebrate small things that affected you that day. Perhaps you got a compliment from a supervisor, or you sold something at a high price on eBay. Such a journal can be a nice way to close out the day, a reminder that you did well.
Sharing with Friends and Family
We’ve talked before about getting feedback and coaching from family, friends, and mentors. You don’t have to go to such people only for advice. Share a success or two with them, and when they praise you, listen to them. Don’t deflect compliments.
Perhaps your biggest reward is doing nothing for a few hours.
We all know that when we feel bad we frown. Did you know that frowning can make you feel bad?
It turns out the road between our emotions and our bodies is two-way. Being stoic may seem mature, but you’re robbing yourself of natural and healthy rewards.
Here are three celebratory body movements. Choose one or more and do it for at least thirty seconds:
- Double fist pump: This classic pose is the one you see when sprinters cross the finish line with both hands raised.
- Superhero stance: Stand with your feet far apart and your fists on your waist. Hold your head high and chest out. Yeah, that’s right.
- Jumping and hollering: Adding a vocal component to your celebration just feels right sometimes. On a particularly wonderful day, I like to jump up and down and whoop it up!