Kaizen Principle Week 5: Bestow Small Rewards

I am a huge fan of “bestowing small rewards.” When I was a life coach for SELF Magazine’s, SELF Challenge, I created a tool called “reward sandwiches,” which I now use in most of my speaking and training programs. “Reward sandwiches” is a about structuring a small reward before and after, a particularly daunting task.  We want this reward to engage one or more of the senses in a distinctly pleasurable way. When this is done consistently, studies suggest that the reward center of the brain, (the parietal lobe, I believe), starts registering the “daunting” task as, actually, pleasurable. This is a part of my “outwitting your DNA for distraction,” series which I adore!

So in the context of my ongoing “Accessing My Inner Vixen,” project, I am looking for different healthy and wholesome ways to reward myself. It’s easy to confuse behavior that numbs oneself out with rewards and here we’ll try to make a distinction. One reward I revisited this week was a delicious, long hot bath, serving as my “night cap”. I noticed how deeply I slept and how wonderful it was the next morning to have the extra minutes I would have spent showering. I also love long walks, so even though my foot is still healing (next week, belly dance class here I come!) the exhilaration of walking a few extra blocks feels like a treat. I’m also taking on new projects. Some of my work stints extend, so to recharge I’ll shift gears by diving into a compelling article or cranking up some reviving music.

I encourage people to avoid focusing on food, alcohol or retail therapy (aka shopping) as the bulk of one’s reward sandwiches. I did make an exception this week by rewarding myself with this new Rose Gold Fossil watch. I had my eye on this “Boyfriend Watch,” because it looks like a man’s watch with added feminine bling. When I look down at my new time piece, I smile. I remind myself, “less is more,” less stuff, less activities, but more fulfillment. It also reminds me about the power of waiting for what you really want (my watch was sold out for months so I had to develop the virtue of patience). Lastly gazing at my wrist reminds me of the value of feeling self-expressed in all that we are and all that we do.

So this week, I ask you to look at, what “small rewards” you can bestow on yourself. How will these tiny treasures move you closer to your goals, dreams and luscious life; you’re Completion Initiative?

I really would love to hear your comments, thoughts and feedback.