Rewards: Bribing Yourself to Success


There’s Nothing Wrong with Bribing Yourself to Success with Rewards

I’ve mentioned before that sometimes it takes mind tricks to get you through the tough times when you’re pursuing a goal. My philosophy is to use any type of healthy strategy you need in order to push past the obstacles. Notice I used the term “healthy strategy.” Using tricks to motivate yourself is fine, as long as you don’t end up sabotaging yourself in the end. Choose wisely, and these little gimmicks can be just what you need to jump the hurdles you encounter. Using rewards is a fantastic motivational strategy I’d like to share with you. Let me show you why there’s nothing wrong with bribing yourself to success and how to do it right.

Choose Your Rewards

First, you want to choose the rewards you will use as your motivators. Try to pick things that are relevant to your goal and that are meaningful to you.

If you have a goal to add $100 a month to your savings account, your reward shouldn’t be something that costs extra money. In this case, you might choose a free or inexpensive activity to do with a friend.

It’s okay to decide to spend money on your reward,  as you can honestly say you would have spent that money anyway and that you feel comfortable with the choice. For example, you might decide to buy yourself the snazzy new running shoes you’ve had your eye on because your old ones are too worn out to be effective. Those shoes are needed. They make you happy. They also serve another benefit to you, which is to help you in your fitness pursuits. I personally have trouble with this kind of reward because if I need the new shoes, I feel as though I’m worth getting them because the old ones aren’t effective and I’m worth it.

For me, celebrating by acknowledging the gains in my weekly accountability email with my coach and her kudos are more rewarding even though it seems so small. Also, trying to see how many consecutive days I can build a streak out of doing a new habit is very rewarding personally. So, the tracking process is part of my built-in reward. By the way, I’m up to 84 days, 52 days, 51 days, and 38 days on my top 4 streaks! Just tracking that is a built-in reward for me. And sharing it with you is another!

Break It Down

Next, you need to decide when to reward yourself. Giving yourself a prize every time you do the right thing is probably overkill. On the other hand, waiting until you’ve achieved the really big dream to reward yourself defeats the motivational purpose of your bribe. Timing is everything. Break your big objectives down into mini goals or small milestones. This way you have an incentive that isn’t too far out of reach.

Switch It Up

Don’t get so set on the milestones you’ve chosen that you become inflexible or miss clear signs that a change needs to occur. Make sure you’re flexible enough in your approach that you can add or take away a bribe as the need arises. For example, if you’re truly struggling and feel you could quit any minute, adding a check-in point could push you past that hurdle. Just convince yourself to take one smaller step toward your target, and then you’ll earn your reward. Also, know that sometimes you’ll need to switch up your reward system if it isn’t working for you. Pay attention and be flexible to gain the most from this system.

There you have it. Bribing yourself isn’t a crime. In fact, sometimes it’s absolutely necessary if you want to get through a really bad day on the path to success. Don’t feel bad about it.