Is your reward truly rewarding?

Sue had created for herself a much loved evening routine where she would pour herself a glass of wine right after the dishes were done and the kids were asleep.

It was her ‘reward’ for yet another long and stressful day as a working mother. One glass would lead to three and by the time she dozed off on the sofa, she would have finished the entire bottle.

The next morning she would wake up tired and irritable, hating her impatience with her family and the effort it took to complete even the smallest task. She would also be annoyed with herself for breaking her resolution to have Alcohol Free Days (AFD’s), especially since the calories were starting to show on her waistline.

On one particularly stressful morning, Sue found herself yelling at her daughter over a trivial issue and felt deeply ashamed. That was the morning she made an appointment to see me.

If you are anything like Sue, you are wired to give a hundred percent of yourself to every task, every day whether you are an entrepreneur, a corporate executive or a stay-at-home mother. This level of commitment cements your reputation as a woman of worth, influence and success.

In putting your best foot forward, you power through the day until you reach that ‘reward’ hour when you surrender to instant gratification. It may be a glass of wine, it may be cheese and crackers or chocolate, or all of the above! And it would not even be a conscious decision.

You choose to feel good in that moment because you are good at what you do and that good deserves to be recognised and rewarded. The burning question is how are you rewarding yourself?

There are many things we do that, in our eyes and the eyes of those around us, constitutes a reward although these activities sometimes bring more harm than good. In rewarding ourselves, we sometimes overindulge in activities that, on their own, would be counterproductive.

Yet we assume that an achievement should allow us a free pass to this behavior. Spending an exorbitant sum of money that blows your budget every time you achieve a milestone is not smart. It is poor financial management, and you know that.

It is important to actually think about the concept of a reward before rushing to redeem prizes that hurt more than they help. In considering how you are rewarding yourself, be mindful of the actual reward and whether it is positive or beneficial. If it isn’t then do not be afraid to trade it for a one that benefits you in the short and long term.

The key is not depriving yourself of rewards but finding creative ways that are truly beneficial to every aspect of your life. A glass of wine may be a good way to unwind occasionally but polishing off a whole bottle in one night may not be so smart. Blowing money you don’t have on an international holiday to celebrate winning a new client is ill advised but a local weekend getaway or a relaxing massage is a perfectly fine way to pat yourself on the back.

Here are three questions to consider when it is time for a reward:

  1. What specific milestone or achievement should I reward myself for?
  2. How do I reward myself so that my actions show that I love, honour and respect myself?
  3. What is my reward budget?

Remember that part of being phenomenal and indomitable is the ability to make smart choices and do what is best for you. In addition to being a move maker, it is important that you also be crisis averter in both your business and personal lives.

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