I have 10 years of experience as a professional journalist covering everything from wastewater treatment to rodeo riders.
It happened again. You set a goal but didn't meet it. Maybe you didn't even try.
Perhaps you need to exercise and have been planning on starting a regular routine for months. You fully intended to go on that walk after work, but instead, you wound up in front of the TV again. You hear a familiar refrain in your mind:
"What's wrong with me? I'm such a loser. Why can't I get it together?"
These thoughts bring with them disappointment that turns into self-loathing, maybe even depression.
"I'll never change. What's the use anyhow?"
The term self-fulfilling prophecy comes to mind. In this dejected frame of mind, is there really much of a chance you'll take that walk tomorrow?
Instead of beating yourself up for failing to meet your goal, why not try a new approach? Ask yourself why you didn't do what you intended to do: were you tired after work? Were the day's stresses weighing on you? Were you simply craving the comfort of a TV show and bowl of popcorn more than exercise?
None of the reasons you can come up with for not doing what you said you would are wrong. You're not a bad person for disliking exercise. It's not your fault if you've used up all your energy at work (in fact, it probably means you're a hard worker).
So, what's to be done? How do you break the cycle? To start, accomplish a smaller goal and give yourself a reward.
If your goal is to walk 45 minutes five times a week, that's great, but it might be too much at first. Instead, try walking for 10 to 15 minutes. Reward yourself for meeting that goal. After a while, increase the length of the walk, giving yourself a commensurate reward.
All this rewarding may seem a bit over the top, but is it? Not as long as it's helping you achieve goals you've otherwise neglected. To get the countertops clean and get a reward in the process is better than avoiding cleaning the countertops and getting no reward.
If you're scratching your head over how to reward yourself, here's a lengthy list of ideas:
101 Ways to Reward Yourself
1. Read a novel you can't put down.
2. Take a hot bath. Infuse the bathwater with calming lavender oil or any oil that has a pleasing scent and effect.
3. Fly a kite.
4. Paint your nails.
5. Get a massage.
6. Visit a pick-your-own farm or orchard and harvest sunflowers, strawberries, apples, and other homegrown treats.
7. Watch bloopers and funny videos on YouTube.
8. Create a personal sanctuary where you can relax, such as a patio, sunroom, or designated room in your home.
9. Brighten up your home or workspace with fresh flowers and plants.
10. Play with a child.
11. Buy yourself a pretty scarf and wear it.
12. Go swimming. (If you really deserve a reward, go swimming in the moonlight.)
13. Listen to music that inspires, energizes, or relaxes you.
15. Treat yourself to a facial.
16. Wear a scent that pleases you.
17. Do a crossword puzzle or word search.
18. Take a day trip to an interesting and fun attraction in your area, like an aquarium, zoo, or theme park.
19. Spend the afternoon getting lost in a bookstore.
20. Shop sales racks for discounted clothes and accessories.
21. Attend a play, concert, or another type of artistic performance.
22. Attend a sporting event.
23. Go for a bike ride.
24. Play a sport.
25. Host a game night and play oldies but goodies like Pictionary, Twister, and Charades.
26. Find a peaceful place to sit and do nothing for a while, soaking up the sun or feeling the gentle breeze.
27. Take a nap.
28. See a movie.
29. Watch the sunrise or sunset.
30. Go for a leisurely walk through nature.
31. Get a manicure and/or pedicure.
32. Go bowling with friends.
33. Play a Wii game.
34. Take part in a flash mob. (Be sure to verify the legitimacy of the event and bring a friend.)
35. Enjoy the blooms at a botanical garden.
36. Engage in a little gardening yourself.
37. Go to a museum.
38. Take a road trip, even if it's just over a long weekend to a destination a few hours away.
39. Go to the park.
40. Have coffee or tea with a friend.
41. Lie in a hammock.
42. Buy and hang a bird feeder and sit and watch the birds enjoy.
43. Make a smoothie with your favorite ingredients and savor every sip.
44. Listen to a relaxation CD.
45. Have a picnic.
46. Play an instrument.
47. Read a magazine.
48. Watch a favorite TV show or rent a whole series on DVD.
49. Sing karaoke.
50. Tell someone, "I love you," with conviction. Love is the greatest gift of all. To love is just as rewarding as being loved.
51. Now tell yourself, "I love you," with conviction. Reject negative thoughts about yourself and practice self-compassion.
52. Draw or paint.
53. Make or paint pottery at a ceramics shop.
54. Knit, crochet, cross stitch, embroider or sew.
55. Play pool.
56. Play poker or another card game with friends. (Caution: Losing money might not feel very rewarding!)
57. Do yoga.
58. Do an exercise you enjoy.
60. Go rollerskating, rollerblading, or ice skating.
61. Volunteer at a local non-profit to help those in need.
62. Play with a pet.
63. Visit your local dollar store. There are plenty of affordable treats here, from glitter pens to candles and candy.
64. Take photos of someone you love or something beautiful that piques your interest, sparks inspiration, or stirs your heart.
65. Give someone an unexpected gift, such as a bouquet of flowers, a home-cooked meal, or an item they collect. Genuine gratitude from a loved one is a great reward.
66. Take a riverboat or sailboat ride.
67. Take a mini-vacation.
68. Practice creative writing.
69. Work on a craft project. Search Pinterest and other websites that focus on DIY projects for ideas.
70. Have a worry-free day. You can deal with worries tomorrow!
71. Put together a puzzle.
72. Go camping.
73. Browse an antique or thrift store.
74. Go canoeing, paddle boarding, kayaking, or surfing.
75. Eat at your favorite restaurant.
76. Go horseback riding.
77. Play frisbee.
78. Go star gazing (local astronomy clubs often host events that are open to the public) or visit a nearby planetarium.
79. Relax in a hot tub.
80. Have a bonfire, roast marshmallows, and tell stories with friends.
81. Take a short break during the workday. Even a ten-minute respite can be rejuvenating.
82. Call a friend or family member who makes you smile.
83. Surf the web.
84. Sit on a porch swing or just ride a swing. Adults are allowed to play, too!
85. Visit a winery, take a tour, and sample the product.
86. Find a rooftop where you can gaze at the city skyline.
87. Go to a carnival, festival, or arts and crafts show.
88. Browse a flea market for treasures.
89. Buy yourself a journal to write reflections, emotions, goals, and dreams.
90. Go to a beach or lake.
91. Designate a lazy day and do nothing at all.
92. Build a fire and enjoy its meditative blaze and comforting warmth.
93. Attend a drag show. (This would be the time to pull out the neon pink wig and feather boa!)
94. In times of emotional stress, you deserve to cry, punch a pillow, or do whatever you need to do to honor your feelings. This may not seem like a reward, but aligning your emotions and your physical urges is indeed rewarding, even when it hurts.
95. Following a release of emotion, do something comforting, whether it be calling someone for support, hugging the pillow you abused earlier, or giving yourself any of the other rewards listed here.
96. Wear something pretty or sexy or unique that makes you feel confident.
97. Catch up with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another social media outlet.
98. Accept a compliment. Don't discount it and allow yourself to feel good, if only for a few minutes.
99. Light candles. (Candlelight somehow makes an ordinary room seem magical.)
100. Do that thing you've been wanting to do but keep putting off.
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
101. Don't delay in pursuing your goals and dreams. Give yourself the reward of living life to the fullest.
"Have no fear of perfection–you'll never reach it."
— Salvador Dali
© 2012 Crystal Tatum
Elena from London, UK on December 05, 2016:
I enjoyed reading this Hub. Lots of creative ideas.
Me on September 30, 2015:
You had an idea on here that helped me alot. I was wondering how I could reward myself but was having trouble because every time I want something I get it anyway. So I was like nothing will really work but then the part about getting someone else a gift was just what I needed! When I reach my goals I will do some wonderful things for the people I care about! Thank you. This was the only list I came across that even mentioned that!
Crystal Tatum (author) from Georgia on March 26, 2014:
Thank you Millionaire Tips - that's the idea for sure. I tend to be more motivated by rewards than punishment.
Shasta Matova from USA on March 26, 2014:
This is a great idea to reward yourself instead of punishing yourself for procrastinating. That certainly gives you more motivation to actually do the thing you have been putting off. Great list of rewards you can give yourself for accomplishing your task.
Crystal Tatum (author) from Georgia on March 24, 2013:
Glad you liked it DrivingPeace! The news anchor bit has to make you smile, no matter how many times you watch it!
Greg Weber from Montana on March 24, 2013:
OH. MY. GAWD! I am so bookmarking this Hub for future use, and that video of the news anchors is SO going on Facebook right NOW!
This is most fun I've ever had on HubPages! :-)
Crystal Tatum (author) from Georgia on June 29, 2012:
Awesome Winsome! Flash mobs are the coolest!
Winsome from Southern California by way of Texas on June 28, 2012:
Crystal what a fun list. I feel rewarded just reading it. It's so inspiring I think I'll start a flash mob of one right now. "Don't stop believing..." =:)
Crystal Tatum (author) from Georgia on May 31, 2012:
Great! Thanks so much jellygator! I'll be happy to return the favor. I find that it helps me to reward myself, even when I don't think I deserve it. I definitely have self-defeating tendencies and rewarding myself for making the effort can provide me with needed motivation.
jellygator from USA on May 31, 2012:
What great suggestions! I'm adding a link to this on one of my hubs about self-defeating personality.
Crystal Tatum (author) from Georgia on May 28, 2012:
So glad you liked the suggestions, Redberry Sky. I hope you find a beautiful scarf!
Redberry Sky on May 27, 2012:
Love these, going to try some of the suggestions - particularly the 'pamper yourself' ones (I have my eye on a new scarf!). Couldn't do number 42 though, the cats in my garden would have a field day!
Crystal Tatum (author) from Georgia on May 25, 2012:
Richawriter, getting lost in a bookshop is one of my favorites too! I understand the convenience of a cyber-space bookshop, but I really hope the real-world ones stay around for a long time! Where else can you find so much knowledge and entertainment? Thanks for reading!
Richard J ONeill from Bangkok, Thailand on May 25, 2012:
I agree with Billy. That's a long list and a great one too! I especially like number 19 - Get lost in a bookshop! I also love getting lost in cyber-space bookshops too because there are so many more books right there at the press of a button. Nothing beats real books though.
Yes, you are right. Beating yourself up time and time again isn't the answer.
It's great to set big goals and proves you have faith in yourself, however, as you say, one shouldn't go overboard and try to do too much too quickly. I tend to think that way when writing for hubpages.
Crystal Tatum (author) from Georgia on May 17, 2012:
Billy, you're sweet. It really wasn't that difficult. Now I just need to practice what I preach and start rewarding myself more often;)
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 17, 2012:
Wow! You thought up 101 things on your own? I was just thinking there is no way I could come up with a list this long and each one a great suggestion. Well done young lady.
Crystal Tatum (author) from Georgia on May 07, 2012:
Glad you liked the hub kjrzeek1. Thanks for reading!
kjrzeek1 from New Jersey, USA on May 07, 2012:
Being able to reward yourself is such a big part of having a healthy mind.. Good Hub!
Crystal Tatum (author) from Georgia on April 26, 2012:
Awesome slackermom! Laundry and dishes is a lot! Hope you enjoyed your reward.
Lisa Palmer from Attapulgus GA on April 25, 2012:
Great hub. You have provided many good ideas here. Since I've already done the laundry and dishes today, I might just go ahead and reward myself before I even start on the floor. I was going to wait until I finished it all but why wait. Voted up. Now I'm off to do something for me.