All Carrots, No Sticks

Featured Image

Replacing Resolutions With Resolve, Part 5

Last week’s article explored the importance of creating a network of people to support you on your journey through the process of change. In the discussion that followed, readers’ comments highlighted the fluidity of support network membership. I neglected to mention that we need to be mindful if the people we’ve come to rely on are no longer capable of providing needed support because of their own changing circumstances and that allowing people to step out is perfectly natural and makes room for new people to step in. Your comments were a great reminder that I need to emphasize that each of the steps required for making the change we seek are never chiseled in stone. They are fluid and personal and cannot be added to a To Do list and crossed off. If anything, they need to be tweaked or reworked throughout the journey. These ever evolving seven steps for making the change you seek are:

1. Map out your vision for what you want to change
2. Identify your motivators as well as stuff that sucks the wind out of your sails
3. Make your list of available resources
4. Create your support network
5. Design your reward system to celebrate accomplishments
6. Write down your action steps and start
7. Evaluate your progress and return to Step 1

Now let’s talk about reward systems! Remember the gold stars your 1st grade teacher handed out for effort and exceptional work? Those stars were not handed out willy-nilly. They meant something. Those gold stars acknowledged your hard work and celebrated your accomplishment. In designing your reward system, you need to find an equivalent to your teacher’s gold stars.

There is a sweet spot in designing the rewards you dole out to yourself. Some recommendations I urge you to keep in mind while you enter this design phase are:

Make them attainable!
Make them from whatever puts a bounce in your step!
Make them all carrot and keep out the stick!

An essential quality you ought to imbue these rewards with is joy. Or should we say Joy with a capital “J”? If it puts a smile on your face when you think of it, you are on the right track. If designing a reward system that recognizes hard work and celebrates accomplishments seems challenging, ask yourself what is the thing or experience you crave but deny yourself? Perhaps it verges on decadent, but whatever that thing or experience is, the seeds of your rewards live there.

Have you created rewards for yourself? Need help coming up with rewards that put a bounce in your step? I would love to know what kinds of reward systems you’ve created for yourself or if you find the whole process challenging. Your comments are very much appreciated. Let me know if you need help making the change you seek. I want to help you keep your resolutions this year.