John Maxwell once said: “Everybody wants money, yet seldom will anyone budget or control their spending.”
Setting financial goals is an easy task! Reaching these goals is another story. You may intend to purchase your first designer bag or to go back to school this year, but you are still building your funds for it. Moreover, you may have set some financial goals that are harder than you anticipated. Putting these goals into action is the first hurdle that you have to pass.
The second hurdle is reaching the finish line without losing your motivation. The solution to your problem is placing an efficient reward system. Rewards and actions have close association. Think about it! You perform an action expecting an outcome or a reward in the end. Though rewards do now always show up as a trophy, you can expect some form of return. Every time you receive a reward, your body releases a neurotransmitter called the dopamine. It plays important roles in executive functions, motor control, motivation, arousal, reinforcement, and reward. It also plays a role in lower-level functions including lactation, sexual gratification, and nausea. Simply put, it affects how we feel pleasure.
Dopamine spikes in your brain when something important is about to happen. It gives you a surge of pleasure as you finish a task. In turn, it increases your motivation and productivity. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Give yourself small rewards along the way to achieve a bigger goal. You may indulge at the end of the month by rewarding yourself with 5% of your hard-earned savings. Use this money to get a well-deserved treat after the whole month’s work. It will surely keep you going!
As long as you set aside a responsible amount of money, take your mind off the expenses that come with your small reward. Relax! Take these suggestions:
1. Take yourself out to breakfast or brunch.
2. Read a book for 15–30 minutes.
3. Watch an episode of your favorite Netflix series.
4. Listen to your favorite playlist for 15 minutes.
5. Buy a delicious dessert.
6. Enjoy an at-home spa day.
7. Paint, sew, or knit something.
8. Turn off your devices for an hour.
9. Indulge in a long shower.
10. Diffuse your favorite essential oils.
11. Write in your journal.
12. Watch the sunset.
13. Jog for 15-30 minutes.
14. Get a new water bottle.
15. Get a manicure or a pedicure.
Every action is tied to some outcome. The problem is, the result is not always immediate. You will not lose weight overnight. You will lose body fat over time. While waiting, you may lose the motivation to keep going. Hence, putting a simple reward system may help.
Rewards can act as psychological enforcers when you use it as a means of motivation to reach a particular goal. When done right, the natural process in the brain can be used to help you stay on track with your financial goals. The magnitude of the reward is not directly proportional to motivation. Even the smallest treats can get you pumped up for the rest of the month. Use the abovementioned list as a guide to help you put your reward system in place.