Mini reward ideas

So I’m trying to get into better routine habits and I was told by my psychologist to maybe have a reward if I succeed at doing something everyday for a week.

Example: I’m horrible at doing dishes so currently I’m trying to do one dish a day. After a couple of months I still miss a couple of days.

I think I might do better if I have something to look forward to if I succeed (positive reinforcement and all that) but I’m having difficulties trying to come up with rewards. I’m not into a food reward for multiple reasons.

Does anyone else do anything like this? How has it worked for you guys?

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I read recently that optimum “small goals” should still be big enough to feel challenging-ish (don’t look at me, it was on the Trello blog: Maybe experiment to see what your interest-and-challenge threshold is? (Alternately: for doing dishes, I just listen to podcasts and source my interest-and-challenge threshold from somewhere else.)


Not a “reward” as such, but whenever I need to do chores like cleaning or doing laundry, I put some upbeat music on loudly and dance/sing while I do these chores. Helps make the activities more fun :slight_smile: the key is a good playlist!


One of my friends has a tablet and youtube playlist specifically set up for when she does dishes. Being at the sink means that distractions are minimized so she can actually pay attention to the videos and there’s no guilt of “I should be doing something productive” because she’s actually getting things done.

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I have found that putting on an interesting podcast/tv show/documentry/interview of someone who you find interesting or something that you may procrastinate to anyway on super loud (on a speaker or your earphones) has really helped me do mundane tasks. Sometimes I will listen to music but I feel like engaging in something novelty will also help you do chores.


I’m bad at rewards as once I know I’ll be rewarded something I’m too impulsive to wait for it and jsut have it while I’m doing my work anyway haha


I’m the other way 'round. I hate doing the things I’m supposed to do, and end up doing all the household chores instead. As they say, my room is never cleaner than when I have a paper to write. I need self-motivational rewards for the MAJOR tasks – writing my Great Novel, for instance, which I never start. The dishes? They are the distraction from the novel, and the distraction is winning.

For the gym, I give myself a quarter. Literally. I have a film-canister of quarters for parking meters in my car’s dashboard. If I go to the gym, I am allowed, after my workout, to take a quarter out of the car and keep it. It’s already “my” quarter in the first place, it’s kind of silly that I feel somehow like I’m getting a reward when all I’m doing is taking a quarter from one place where I keep it and putting it into another place where I keep it, but, uh, I do, feel like I’m being rewarded. I have successfully fooled myself. Or just found out how stupid I am …


Intermittent reinforcement = deeper learning, but all the productivity regimens that I can think of use continuous reinforcement. Is there a way to make doing chores feel more like a slot machine? Or is this a really, really bad idea?

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I guess one issue I have is that whenever I try to do better at whatever mundane task consistently (oral hygiene, cleaning, etc). I do really well in the beginning but then after a few weeks to a month I go back to my bad habits.

The bigger stuff I do better with (although still not the best) probably because most of them have a deadline or something similar.

What do you mean by making chores like a slot machine? I don’t gamble so I don’t think it should be a bad idea, I’m just not grasping what to do exactly.

I’m currently setting up my first bullet journal so hopefully crossing off things in a habit tracker would be enough of a “reward” but I’m not sure it will be so I’m still looking for ideas.

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Stickers! :smiley:

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That’s what I was gonna say!!!:rofl:
But yeah, @Assynj has the right idea. I would make a chart for x number of days, and depending on how many you get it a row you get a treat!


Reward vs eliminating discomfort? e.g. giving yourself a sticker for something, vs allowing yourself to have a drink of water/give in to your distractions for 5 minutes

What are everyone’s thoughts?

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Giving into distractions sounds like a neat idea so long as it’s timed.

My therapist suggested I have the sticker/tracker chart for the habit and if I managed to make it say like 4/5 days, I can order out food guilt-free. The trick is to also actually not order out food for most of the time. But like for me if I’m actually doing dishes, then cooking isn’t so aversive… So maybe if I get into the habit it’ll actually work!

I’m currently working on just setting stuff up to even track things like that. I have a bullet journal that was pretty rudimentary in its pages and stuff before. It helped me through some awful semesters but now I look at it and just think it’s a messy thing. I’ve just ordered a new one to hopefully be more motivated into it. If I start it pretty, then I THINK I’ll want to keep up with it? I really like artsy stuff.

Long story short, some sort of tracker for how you do and then rewarding it sounds like an excellent idea. I remember our counselors did that for us at camp in terms of how clean our cabins were and if we had a full week of stars for cleaning, we got to have a junkfood party!

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My strategy for myself for term papers (which I’m writing a lot of right now) is to work on the paper for a set time (hour) and then play video games for a set time (hour, half hour, etc.).

HOWEVER, as I get into my semester I’m learning that instead of focusing on time, I need to focus on measurable goals. So I might write a rough draft, then play video games for an hour; edit rough draft, video game again.

I hope this helps :slight_smile:

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Me too! On top of that I use to write the boring task on my bullet journal* so I have the mini-reward to cross it of the list and I feel slightly more motivated to complete it.
Sometimes I set a countdown and dare myself to finish the task before time’s finished. I found a youtube timer with a huge bomb explosion some times ago XD it was fun but it would have been better if it had the ticking too, because it was a 20 minute timer that I set on the tv in the other roomand I forgot about it like 5 times lol.
*my BJ is UGLY but it works.

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