Choosing Incentives for Yourself for When You Hit Your Goals

Setting yourself goals is very important if you want to make yourself more motivated and productive. Whatever it is you want to do, whether it is to tackle a study course, get in shape, write a novel, learn a new skill, or just about anything else that requires hard work and will involve a long path of progress, you should be thinking in terms of how to break the main goal down into things you will need to achieve along the way.

Goals and Rewards

There is plenty of advice out there about how to set the right kind of goals to get yourself motivated – for example, making sure they are things you can achieve through hard work alone (no luck or things outside of your control involved), things that are measurable, and things that you can put a time constraint on. Meeting your goals can in some ways be its own reward; for instance, if your goal is weight loss, then every small goal you reach on the way to your ultimate target weight will bring with it more confidence, new, smaller clothes, and hopefully compliments! However, you often can give yourself a better incentive to get things done by offering yourself other rewards to work towards, that you’ll give yourself to celebrate when the goals are reached.

But how can you choose rewards that will really make you want to work harder?

Scale Your Rewards

You may not be able to afford something amazing every time you reach a small goal, and small goals are generally better than fewer, larger ones because the shorter positive feedback cycle keeps you feeling engaged and motivated. This means rewards of different scales that reflect the difficulty of the goal are a good way to go.

Stick to your diet all week, write a chapter of your novel, or complete a task for your college course and you can reward yourself with something small and cheap or even free, like a long relaxing bath, or a break to watch your favourite movie. Lose 50% of the weight you were aiming for, finish your whole first draft, or complete a semester with great marks, and you can go for something you really want that will truly feel like a celebration, such as a trip somewhere, a new phone or computer, or something you’ve been really coveting like one of the gorgeous Saint Laurent bags you’ll find at SSENSE. SSENSE is a luxury designer store where you can find all kinds of inspiration if you love fashion and want to set yourself big rewards you can wear!

Match it to Your Project

Another thing to think about is going for rewards that have something to do with your overall goal, or which at least don’t conflict with it. A big feast isn’t a great reward for dieting goals then, but a new dress in your new smaller size or some new sneakers for the gym could be. A new games console isn’t ideal if you’re trying to train yourself to procrastinate less, but some high-end headphones that let you listen to things while you work or exercise could be.

As you can see, choosing the right rewards can really help make the journey towards a major life changing goal a more interesting and fun one!


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.
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