When times are tough, what do you do to reward yourself?
It doesn’t matter if the “tough” comes from being on a diet, working a second job, being on a tight budget, completing a rigorous exercise regimen, welcoming house guests, or dealing with a family illness. Any time that you make a sacrifice, no matter how willingly, it seems to be human nature to want to reward yourself.
Whether you think of these rewards as tiny incentives, indulgences, or grease for the skids, they serve the same purpose. They renew your spirit and your strength to continue on your path.
What Makes You Happy?
The real trick with rewards is to find something that gives an asymmetric result. In other words, it gives a big boost for a tiny cost. Finding those things take some detective work. There’s no one thing that everyone finds delightful. You have to know yourself. If you are unsure what makes you happy, it’s time to start making a list.
I can’t write any more about this topic without confessing that while writing, I’m humming the song, “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. Seeing that movie as a child, and that song in particular, had a huge impact on me. I loved big, slow-falling snowflakes, but I had never observed them staying “on my nose and eyelashes.” I later realized someone had taken poetic license to write the lyrics. But what really struck me was the idea of having a list of my favorite things.
Over the years, I’ve used the inside of my journal cover as the place where I listed my favorite things, things that I discovered made me happy. I would write down anything that made me happy. Some were things, some were events, some were ideas, but they all made me happy, even if just for a few minutes.
Very often, the rewards we give ourselves center around things we buy. I read today that the sale of lottery tickets in Australia is higher than usual because people are indulging in them, along with other consumer trends related to rewards.
I’m in a space in my life where my main reward centers around time. I’m working on several self-improvement projects at once, and if I meet a threshold of good progress on them, I give myself permission to spend a half day in my art studio. That’s what thrills my heart these days.
What are you doing to reward yourself? Have you found the little things that give you the biggest boost in outlook? Experiment, try new things, and don’t be afraid to start keeping a list of things that make you happy. Share your ideas and insights with us, and perhaps you will inspire someone to discover a real source of joy in her daily living.