Sometimes it takes a few mind tricks to get you through the tough times on this journey to achieving your goals. My philosophy: use any type of healthy strategy you need in order to push past those obstacles. Notice I said, "healthy strategy." Using tricks to motivate yourself is fine, as long as you don't end sabotaging yourself in the end. Choose wisely, and these little tricks can be exactly what you need to get over these hurdles. A great motivational strategy is using rewards. Let me show you why there's nothing wrong with bribing yourself just a little to success and how to do it right.
Choose Your Rewards
First, you want to choose the rewards you will use as your motivators. Pick things that are relevant to your goal and that are meaningful to you. If your goal is to add $100 a month to your savings account, your reward shouldn't be something that costs extra money. So in this situation, you might choose a free or inexpensive activity to do with a friend. If you do decide to spend money on your reward, that's okay as long 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 those new running shoes because your old ones are way too worn out to be effective. Those shoes are needed. They make you happy. They also help you in your fitness goals.
Break It Down
Next, you need to decide when you’re going to reward yourself. Giving yourself a prize every time you do the right thing is probably overkill. But, waiting until you've achieved that 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. Just like I have mentioned all throughout this challenge. 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 chose that you become inflexible or miss any clear signs that a change needs to occur. Make sure you're flexible in your approach and that you can add or take away a bribe as needed. For example, if you're truly struggling and feel you could quit any minute, adding a check-in point could push you past that obstacle. Just convince yourself to take one smaller step towards your target, and then you'll earn your reward. And remember 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.
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.