Some success coaches suggest giving yourself big rewards for big accomplishments. You might, for example, reward yourself with a sports car when you make your first million dollars. But rewards like that never motivated me, because the payoff was too far in the future. What motivates me are smaller rewards for short-term goals. And I have a feeling that would be better for you, too.
Over the years, I’ve developed a reward system that works very well for me. Here it is:
- I keep a daily list of every task I want to accomplish. When I complete each task, I cross it out (or change its color on my screen) to “signal” that it’s done. Making this little gesture is like a tiny shot of adrenaline. It picks me up and gives me energy to attack my next objective.
- When I sit down to work, I set an egg timer for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on my workload for the day. When it goes off, I reward myself for the work I’ve done in that half-hour or hour time period by getting up from my chair, walking outside, and spending a minute or two stretching out my back. Then I go back to work and re-set the egg timer.
- At 5:30, I take my laptop to the cigar bar down the street, and work on my writing there for another two hours. I look forward to this. I’m still doing work, but it’s a reward because I’m doing it in a new place.
- After two hours of writing at the cigar bar, I reward myself by going home, breaking open a good bottle of wine, and having dinner with K.
These rewards, as you can see, are pretty mundane. But that’s the thing about rewards. They don’t have to be big or even special. They need only be enjoyable.
It would be easy for me to consider these little things — crossing out each task as I complete it, taking stretching breaks, relocating to the cigar bar, going home for dinner — as simply ordinary parts of my ordinary day. But by looking at them differently… by seeing them as rewards for specific, desired behaviors… they motivate me.
I think that is the key — identifying little pleasures you already have in your life and using them as rewards to motivate yourself. It’s easy to do once you recognize that these little pleasures are blessed gifts and you are lucky to be able to enjoy them. Be happy about that. Use them pragmatically.
P.S. I’m not the only one who believes in rewarding yourself for accomplishing short-term goals. Bob Cox, founder of our Epiphany Alliance program, has made that one of the pillars of his goal-setting system. He agrees with me that it’s a great motivator to keep you moving forward to achieve your major life goals. And it prevents burnout.
To find out other ways Bob can help you get what you really want out of life — whether it’s a higher-paying job, to escape debt, lose weight and get in shape, or anything else — go here.
——————————————–Highly Recommended ——————————————
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Need Help Actually Achieving Your Goals? — We write about goal setting all the time in ETR. But we can’t personally coach you in these techniques. Bob Cox can. He’s the creator of our Epiphany Alliance program. Not to mention a millionaire business consultant, record-setting pilot, and co-founder of the original home shopping channel. Find out how Bob can help you here…[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]