For the past several weeks, I have been leading a Bible study using my book, So You’re Not Wonder Woman. The most popular desired life change in our group is weight loss. One of the Wonder Women in the group said she ate to reward herself. And not only that, it seemed like food was the only really rewarding thing in her life. We brainstormed with her for calorie-free rewards and we prayed that God would be her reward.
We Need Rewards
But in thinking more about rewards, I realized I am in need of more of them in my life, too. Can you relate? I have been so enjoying using Things as my task list on my iPhone. I get great satisfaction from checking off my tasks one by one. While I look forward to checking off my tasks, I feel much less inclined to do the things I have to do every day that are checkmark-free (e.g., teaching, laundry, meals, clean up). In years past, I so desired a reward for completing some task that I grabbed a treat whether or not I was hungry. I no longer eat as a treat, but I’m hungry for rewards just the same. Strangely, my children don’t praise me for each lesson taught, every meal made, and every load of laundry folded. My husband, though often complementary, also can’t keep up with my voracious appetite for positive feedback.
Although it’s true that I ought to be content with God’s approval of my service, I find myself so frequently looking for a reward anyway. Unfortunately, the rewards I seek often draw me away from the schedule that I prayerfully developed to deal with numerous demands. The schedule works and when I don’t use it, I don’t.
A Better Reward
So I decided to try something simple this week. And it wasn’t a new brownie recipe! Though since I keep talking about brownies, here’s a guilt-free recipe:
I decided to add my scheduled activities and regular chores to my task list. Now I have things like “Make lunch and clean up” and “Give kids a bath” in Things to check off. Knowing that I can check it off and subsequently add it to my task log for the day encourages me. I may be disappointed by not getting to everything I had planned. But by recording even routine activities, I see how very much I accomplished anyway. Of course, I would like it even better if I got applause and whistles for each checkmark. Hm. I may be on to something here!
This method of rewarding yourself can be just as effective using any other electronic (the HomeRoutines app is great for this!) or paper task list of your choice. If you have a hard time getting through rush hour traffic, a boring meeting, or your kids’ bedtime routine, add it to your list and check it off with pride. Brownies are good, too, but add to the waistline and the weight of guilt for many of us.
As a fat-free alternative, checkmarks are a delicious treat. Try them and let me know if they suit your tastes.