Something I wish I had learned sooner in my career is the power of rewarding myself for a job well done. I would go from project to project, not really taking any time to appreciate the time and energy I’d put it or celebrate my successes. The result? Burnout and feeling under-appreciated. And retail therapy via online shopping. We all have our vices…
For whatever reason, I’ve always had a weird hang-up about being afraid to be caught feeling happy or, even worse, pleased with myself. The horror, I know. In the past, that caused me to focus on validation from others (bosses, editors, friends and family, etc), which is never a good thing. It’s important to be able to appreciate yourself and experience that positive feeling of “Yay! I did it! I can do this!” That energy adds a boost to all areas of your life. Spreading those good vibes to help you attract more awesome.
A big change I made to my business plan this year (at the encouragement of my Mastermind leader) was to start rewarding myself for things. Why? Yes, to help motivate me to get something done, but more so to show myself appreciation for a job well done on my own terms. Feeling like you’ve earned something makes it even more satisfying and reminds you that you deserve that reward and are capable of making it happen for yourself.
I tend to reward myself with little upgrades to help make my everyday life easier, or little self-care things that make me feel more relaxed or well-groomed. I hate to admit it, but having my nails done (whether it’s by me or someone else) helps me feel so much more together, and a shoulder massage, for example, does wonders when I’m tense and achey from rushing around town lugging lots of heavy stuff.
My rewards from this year so far:
- A new backpack to replace my ginormous one from college, which used to not be that long ago. Time is weird.
- New pillows (took advantage when My Pillow was on sale just after I’d wrapped a big project and sooo happy I did—loving them)
- Fancy face sunscreen
- New strapless bras that don’t cut off circulation (why did I wait so long???)
- An apple watch
- Mani-pedi and chair massage
Your list might look totally different, but these are just some things that have worked for me.
Why they work: every day when I look at my watch, I’m reminded that I worked really hard on the project that earned me the money to buy it. Every night when I lay down, I think of how awesome it was to write that course for that website and how much I learned in the process. Being able to breathe when I do the strapless bra thing? F***ing priceless. Buying myself flowers—even those $10 grocery store bouquets—can turn my whole day around and give me a reminder that lasts for days.
Some other things you can try:
- Going to an event you’d normally talk yourself out of spending the time or money on
- Purchasing the farmer’s market veggies you’ve been lusting after
- Getting a spa treatment
- Going on a trip
- Taking a walk or a nap
- Trying a fitness class
- New workout clothes
- A piece of clothing or an accessory you’ve been eyeing
- A new book
- Signing up for a class or course you’re curious about
Basically, anything that will make you feel good!
That said, something that comes up with my clients sometimes is that rewarding yourself with food can be tricky sometimes, as we tend to think of a splurge or treat as something sugary or greasy or something “bad” for us and that we end up feeling guilty about. Our society has serious issues with the concept of pleasure, but that’s a post for another day.
This is why I encourage using non-food rewards as your go-to, since you get all the positive without the food-guilt hangover. Added bonus: when you reward yourself regularly, you may actually be less likely to crave those frenemy food pick-me-ups you turn to when you feel like you’ve been busting your ass and not getting the credit you deserve.
Do you struggle with feeling entitled to be happy with yourself? How do you reward yourself for a job well done?
This has been another installment of the Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where randomness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.
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