Rewarding Small Successes

Habit tracking grid and box to note reward

I’ve written before about my ongoing quest to find a planner that really fits me. I stumbled across The Self-Care Planner from Simple Self and ordered myself one of the Daily Planners that has enough pages in it to last for six months. I’ll write more about the planner later because I like it a lot, but there’s one particular thing in it that I want to touch on in this post.

There’s a weekly planning page for each week that includes an area to track your habits. Next to the list of habits and bubbles to fill in when you complete them is a box where you can indicate how you’ll reward yourself if you complete all of your habits or maybe one habit every day, or some combination (check out my latest podcast for a brief take on missing days of your habits).

I’ve been using the planner for about three weeks now and have yet to fill in that box labelled “Reward”. I had no idea what to put there.

My first thought was a dessert, but food should never be a reward for something just as you should never deprive yourself of a food because you think it’s “wrong” to eat it. That creates or perpetuates an unhealthy relationship with food.

A hot bath? A nap? Again, should I only partake of those when I’ve been “good”? Of course not. Those are both good things to do for self-care. I don’t have to do anything to earn them.

I went searching online for ideas and found a few that caught my attention:

  • By yourself flowers (maybe)
  • Add a set amount of money to a save jar in order to buy something you’ve been wanting (maybe)
  • Have your own dance party (I do that whenever I want and nobody is watching)

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about having listened to the audio book of Shonda Rhimes Year of Yes and that I had ordered the corresponding journal. I have written in it every day in 2022, which I’m pretty proud of.

Every day I’ve responded to these prompts:

  • The YESes I handled today …
  • What I gained from saying YES …
  • What were the dark and twisty parts of today’s YES?

That second question may be a good fit for that “Reward” box. Instead of picking a reward at the beginning of the week, perhaps I need to focus on what I gain each week by sticking to my habits (minus a mulligan or two – again, listen to the podcast).

If a habit doesn’t provide me with a built in reward, then maybe it’s not a habit I should have.

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