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Build in Rewards

Posted January 1, 2012 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

Next in our series about New Year’s resolutions is something I’m personally passionate about – Build in Rewards!

Theoretically, you’ve set a goal it will take you some time to achieve – maybe the whole year, maybe a few months, but it will have a beginning, a middle, and likely an end. Don’t wait until the end to see the reward. Of course, accomplishing your goals is your greatest reward, but you have to have incentive to continue as well.

I recently heard of a sales person paid on commission who received none of that commission until the end of the year. What a terrible incentive. If you can’t see the reward coming week to week or month to month, why keep going? Most people don’t have the patience or time to wait a year for results or to wait a year to feel rewarded for the work they do. Would you take a job if they paid your entire salary on December 31st? Then don’t do it to yourself either.

Set healthy, clear rewards for yourself. Here are a few examples of how I do this in my life and how I’ll stick to it for my New Year’s resolutions:

  • I love bagels. They are a huge treat for me. And breakfast is often a difficult thing to stick to in my life. I’m known for skipping it all together, which is terrible for my metabolism, or grabbing something sweet or unhealthy in its place. So I use bagels as a weekly breakfast reward. If I eat a healthy breakfast Monday through Thursday, then on Friday, I treat myself to a bagel for breakfast. Perfect!
  • When trying to save for a big trip or pay down debt, I recognize that some things have to have an unlimited budget. I love to read, but I don’t get a lot of time to do it, so when I have some time, my Nook account has an unlimited budget. I will never deprive myself of buying a book – or five! It’s a great reward for saving money other places and a way to keep some “me time” on the books.
  • Give yourself the ability to buy/implement tools that will help you meet your goals. I just spent what is probably a stupid amount of money on a planner from ErinCondren.com. Did I need the $50 planner vs. a $10 one from Target? No. But still. It will help me log my progress on my goals and it’s what I need. Don’t feel bad for buying things that will help you get to the next step.

Maybe you’re motivated by a massage or a new watch or a trip somewhere. Or maybe it’s giving yourself a day off of work to relax and go to the movies. Whatever it is, set mini-goals, and reward yourself throughout the year for sticking with your plans. It will make all the difference!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."