By Morgen Cote
Do you remember being in grade school when the teacher had a ticket system in place?
Do you recall that after you had collected so many tickets you could then trade them in for some rinky-dink toy from the treasure box? This is an example of a reward system and this idea has been used as a form of motivation ever since we were kids.
Now, I imagine that picking a rinky-dink treasure box toy would not make us all that excited anymore, but that is the awesome thing about a reward system. A reward can be anything that gives you the motivation to complete a specific task. A reward system is what keeps an individual going and keeps them dedicated to the project at hand. Rewards can be material or mental.
If you do your chores you can go play with Johnny.
If you beat your opponents in your sport you get a trophy.
If you do your job well you could receive a bonus.
If you have a good practice your coach might compliment you on your hard work.
So how is it that when we turn into these things called adults, we lose the idea of a reward system? All our lives these types of systems have been put in place for us by others to keep us focused and driven. However, when we get to a certain point in life we do not have people to do it for us anymore. Therefore, we must learn to do it ourselves.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of what rewards can look like.
Let’s use weight loss as the first example. When most people go on a “diet” they jump in and expect results quickly. The reality is that the journey of weight loss is a series of small goals/accomplishments that lead to a bigger goal. Achieving these goals is what keeps people going until the larger picture is painted.
Losing 5 lbs
Fitting into those old jeans
Clean eating for a whole week
Competing in a bodybuilding competition
Reaching your goal weight
Hitting a personal record in a deadlift
These rewarding moments/material things can be anything to the individual. You just have to decide what you are truly working towards and what you want most. There have been many studies done on the brain and reinforcement through rewards. These experiments show us that one of the more effective ways to produce results in any given task is to provide a convincing reward. Even something as simple as a weekly cheat meal has proven to be a great way to keep people on track and focused.
How do I develop a successful reward system?
Step 1: Develop your overall goal
Remember this is the end goal.
Step 2: Develop 5-8 small goals that lead up to the end goal
Keep in mind these need to be simple, attainable and important to you
Step 3: Assign each small goal a simple reward
Rewards should have meaning to you but are small.
Step 4: Assign your end goal a complex reward
What is the difference between a simple and a complex reward?
Simple: Something that lasts for a short duration of time that brings an explosive amount of joy.
New pair of shoes
A glass of wine
Complex: Something that lasts a long duration that brings a sense of completion and respect for oneself
Doing a competition
Having a photoshoot