Rewards are a great way to motivate yourself if used in the right way. Read How to Reward Yourself the Right Way.

One way of staying motivated to achieve our goals is by rewarding ourselves when we perform well.

The problem is we tend to get a bit over-zealous with our rewards.

If your rewards are of a monetary nature, you could be making life more difficult by giving yourself expensive pats on the back. If your goal is to save money or get out of debt rewarding yourself could be undoing all of your hard work.

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Here are 7 tips on how to reward yourself the right way.

Only reward yourself on the big wins

You are probably thinking that goes against every piece of personal development advice you have read to date.

Bear in mind there is a vast difference between rewarding yourself and acknowledging your success.

You should always acknowledge your wins and yes, even the small ones. This helps keep you motivated and focused.

What presents a problem, particularly with your finances, is when you start rewarding yourself financially for every little achievement.

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Embrace rewards that don’t cost money

Your reward does not have to cost money.

A relaxing bath, an afternoon of reading, an invigorating walk around the local park could all fit the bill.

A reward should be something that relaxes, soothes or inspires you, not something that has you worrying about how to pay off your credit card.

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Have a ceiling price on your reward

If you have worked hard to save a few thousand dollars and then blow it all on a reward or worse find yourself further in debt, you need to reassess your strategy.

A reward is not something that should undo all of your good work.

Make sure your reward is an amount you are comfortable with.

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Don’t reward yourself when you haven’t earned it

All too often we reward ourselves when we don’t deserve it. The reward is more of an incentive to keep going or an effort to lift our spirits when we are feeling despondent.

Instead of using a reward when you are demotivated, focus on getting yourself back on track.

Concentrate on whatever makes you feel uplifted and inspired. Focus on the positive.

Are there areas for improvement you could work on that would increase your productivity and output?

To enjoy your reward, make sure it is something that you truly deserve.

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Kids and rewards

Children particularly love getting treats.

Explain to your child that a reward needs to be earned. Set them targets to work towards to qualify them for a reward. Also, set a reasonable limit on what the reward amount may be.

You don’t want them thinking they are getting an iPod when you had a trip to McDonald’s in mind.

Avoid having your child assume that they will get a treat or reward every time they leave the house or go shopping. Constantly buying treats could put a damper on your budget as well as teach your child that they don’t have to do anything to receive one.

Be careful about rewarding yourself with food

I’m sure we have all done this at some point. I know I have.

Obsessive dieters are probably more prone to this than anyone else. They go without so that they can eat their reward later.

While the occasional food splurge probably won’t cause any problems, regularly rewarding yourself with food could affect your health. You may be eating a lot more than you realize.

Before you know it, you will be rewarding yourself with food for the smallest thing or worse for everything!

If your reward comes in the form of fatty, sugary, or salty foods your waistline and overall health could be in trouble.

Be careful rewarding yourself with alcohol. Granted we often celebrate over a glass of wine or a cold beer. Just make sure this sort of reward system doesn’t get out of control.

When it comes to food, moderation is the key. Treat rewarding yourself with food, the same as rewarding yourself with money. Celebrate the big occasions and keep within a range you are comfortable with.

Time as a reward

If you work from home, be mindful of taking time as a reward.

We all need breaks from our computers, whether we work in a large corporate environment or sit at our desks in a home office. Regular short breaks away from your computer will contribute towards better back and neck health.

Some people break their day into chunks of time, often factoring small rewards into their work process. If this strategy increases your productivity and output, then you are onto a good thing.

However, if your plan for the day is riddled with too many reward breaks, you could be doing more harm than good. Rewards of this nature should only be for the completion of a project, otherwise, this sort of behavior could turn into a destructive form of procrastination.

If you are a parent, make sure you reward yourself with time to yourself.  

It is important to spend quality time with your partner as well as time alone. These may only be snippets of time, particularly if you have a young baby, but they are still important.

Put some thought into your rewards and make them something you strive for, work towards and enjoy.

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