I think it starts when we are young. I literally rewarded Adela for her semester of good grades and responsible behavior by promising a weekend full of fun food and activity. High on her list was pizza, slushies, and black licorice. Thankfully, she also valued spending quality time with me and Jovani but in retrospect I wonder how our self-reward habits start. For me, food and alcohol were pretty much the only thing on my list beside a good book. It made trying to diet and not drink simply feel like restrictive deprivation.
So, how do we reward ourselves? Here is a hack: Make a list of rewards you know are pleasurable and a list of things you would like to try. To do this, follow these three steps.
On the podcast I read my personal rewards list. I am also including a picture here. I’m an introvert whose love language is acts of service. I have noticed that these items are always in flux. They change with the season I am in. I also need to be open to things that might be fun and I need to try.
Your brain is still going to offer food, alcohol, or your unhealthy habit as a reward for a job well done or for making it through a difficult day. However, over time, you will find your brain looking forward to these new, healthy habits as you find yourself less attracted to the pantry or binging a TV series. You just have to teach yourself that these activities are fun and pleasurable too. We have to learn to trust God that in our healthy changes we will find more joy and peace than ever.
In the words of the Apostle Paul from Romans 15:13, NIV, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Journal prompt: What is on your list of things you can reward yourself with? What is your plan for including them in your self reward habits?
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.