How To Use A Reward System For Successful Goal Setting

My traditional goal setting started in my corporate working days, decades ago! You likely know the kind of goals: SMARTY goals. Then, I discovered, How To Use A Reward System For Successful Goal Setting

Do you know what kind of goal setting SMARTY is? Do you set goals this way?

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound, Yours

If this kind of goal setting is working for you, this is fabulous. Do stay with it. Rarely, did it work for me. I had to find a different way.

How To Use A Reward System For Successful Goal Setting

For years there was no goal setting but instead want to accomplish and know who I wanted to help benefited from my work.

Then just after my coach certification, I discovered there were – intentions, mantras, even one, two or three words. After taking the time to reflect back on a year and forward to a new year, this is the direction sticking with me.

Now, I gravitate to more success using mantras or words. I know some of you do this also!

How-To-Use-A –Reward-System-For-Successful-Goal-SettingView from above, around and all over

Even when focusing on behavior-based goals, it’s valuable to start out by creating a “big picture” goal. This broad view is that outcome-based goal. [blog link]

You could visualize what it is you want or to create what is frequently called a “vision board.” Create some board with a picture or pictures that represent to you the outcome.

Over time when either of these processes worked for me providing I put all of my senses into it. Mediation makes it easier for me to see, feel, hear, smell and sometimes, taste, the results.

All visualization means is to practice bringing up a picture in your mind of where you are heading and what you want, with different types of senses. After all, most of us process our daily living with multiple senses.

The key is to get your entire brain in the process, to make this big-picture goal, more realistic.

Habit actions that move you forwardSteps-To-Turn-Daily-Focus-into-Successful-Goal-Achievement

When your end goal is clear and gets you to feeling good and thinking optimistically, you know your brain is on board with helping you reach your goals.

There is some fascinating science and research around this, much of which right now I don’t fully understand nor can reframe. However is a recent book I read by Dr. Joe Dispenza (like him or not) I found a statement, which made sense about this science in my mind. Maybe it will help you”

“When you think from your past memories, you can only create past experiences. As all of the “knowns” in your life cause your brain to think and feel in familiar ways, thus creating knowable outcomes, you continually reaffirm your life as you know it.” Dr. Joe Dispenza

The problem with our brain then is that IF we have attempted to reach this goal “finally,” for once and for all, our brain knows darn well we already tried this before, and it failed.

We’ll have doubts, frustrations and similar thoughts and feelings that creep in to our plans.

But, it could be skills and habits will you need to form, or build. If any seem harder to you, you’ve tried them before with little to no success; it’s an indication of something more challenging, so try something different, even a coach.

Then as you go along day to day and succeed, take some time and recognize your progress.

Rewards along the way

One of the scientifically proven ways to increase our success in goal achievement, and it works for me, is by giving yourself small rewards along the way.

As relates to behavior-based goals, this might mean setting a goal where you practice a new habit for seven days, and if you succeed in that, you give yourself a small reward.

This process is much more realistic than simply setting a goal and expecting to motivate yourself through the time, energy, and work that it will take to achieve that goal. You are much more apt to keep your momentum if you know that, periodically, you’ll reward yourself for a job well done.

Rewarding yourself often works in your favor, and will help you keep up the ambition and drive to reach the end goal, as well as keep up the positive habit changes while you’re getting there.

Sometimes half the fun of goal-setting is visualizing the end goal and thinking of creative ways to give yourself rewards along the way.

Some of us enjoy monetary rewards, and others might be more motivated by taking some time just for themselves in a favorite quiet place. That’s me!

One person might want a night out on the town, while another might reward themselves with learning a new skill. That’s me again the learning a new skill reward.

Find out what you value and are motivated by and put it in place.

Using a reward system while continuing to develop behavior-based goals can work in all areas of our life. It can be business, relationships, health, or personal development.

Maybe these posts have introduced you to behavior based goal setting in a new way:

Ideas about behavior-based goal setting

Steps to move from outcome goals to behavior goals

One habit away from goal achievement

Best success to you on your journey of more rewarding goal achievement.

What goal setting process works best for you? How did you come to use it?


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  1. Jeannette Paladino

    Patricia — I practice “chip away,” which means setting your goal and then chipping away at the barriers between you and what you want to achieve. When you look at a goal in a macro way it seems overwhelming. But if you break it apart into separate tasks it’s not so daunting. As you say, setting up rewards for each step you complete will encourage you to continue. When I made my move to Florida instead of cringing at all that had to be done, I focused on one thing at a time: where to live, what to pack and what to give away, etc. It worked for me.

  2. This makes sense. Sometimes with kids you use reward systems to get things done and this reminds me of that concept. 🙂

  3. Brooke Harper says

    Great post, Patricia! This sure makes sense. The rewards systems can be considered as additional motivators to help one deliver results. In my team, I set up milestones that when reached has a reward in return. Everybody loves a little piece of recognition every once in a while and a reward system is a perfect solution to that.

    Brooke Harper

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