Even if you have a strong reason for making a lifestyle change for weight reduction or general health, it can be tough to stick with it. On a daily basis, though, while you’re in the thick of things, rewarding yourself in little ways for minor achievements can go a long way.
Feelings of pleasure and excitement all come down to dopamine. When something significant is about to happen, the dopamine levels in your brain rise, giving you a rush of joy as you complete the job. As a result, motivation and productivity improve. Use this piece of science to your advantage by rewarding yourself in tiny increments as you progress toward a larger goal. Your brain grabs on to tangible proof that your exercise or good eating habits are worthwhile, increasing your odds of sticking with the program. Don’t be concerned about getting reliant on the benefits. Your drive will become intrinsic over time, and your brain will connect your hard effort with a rush of dopamine. From then, just working out or eating healthily will be enough of a reward in and of itself.
The Psychology Behind Positive Reinforcement
If you want to learn more about operant conditioning, read on. Positive reinforcement is the addition of a pleasant stimulus following action, allowing you to maintain good habits. When a good outcome or reward occurs after an activity, the particular response or habit from the action is reinforced. One of the most straightforward methods of recalling positive reinforcement is to picture it as something completely different. If you think about positive reinforcement in these terms, you may find it easier to come up with examples of it in the actual world. When it comes to positive reinforcement, it can be pretty easy at times.
For example, if you hold the door open for someone, you can get praise and thanks for doing so. Having that confirmation serves as positive reinforcement, which can help you stick to the habit in the future. In other cases, someone can purposefully use positive reinforcement to teach and maintain a specific behavior to improve it. For example, when a dog shakes its trainer’s hand and pauses for five seconds, the trainer rewards the dog.
Operant conditioning, also known as instrumental conditioning, is a learning technique that uses rewards and penalties for behavior. An association is formed between a conduct and a result (either negative or positive) for that conduct via operant conditioning.
For example, when lab rats push a lever while the green light is on, they are rewarded with food pellets. On the other hand, they get a slight electric shock when they push the lever while the red light is on. Consequently, kids learn to push the lever while the green light is on and avoid pressing it while the red light is on.
However, operant conditioning is not limited to experimental situations such as teaching lab animals. It also has a significant impact on daily learning. Reinforcement and punishment occur all the time in both natural and organized contexts, such as schools or therapy sessions. Operant conditioning is based on a basic premise: reinforced actions are stronger and more likely to happen again later. If you tell a humorous tale in class and everyone laughs, you’re more likely to repeat it in the future.
If you raise your hand to ask a question and your instructor compliments you on your courteous conduct, you are more likely to raise your hand the next time you have a question or remark. The previous action is reinforced since it is followed by reinforcement or the desired result.
Ways to Reward Yourself
- Get yourself some breakfast.
- For 15–30 minutes, read a book you like.
- Enjoy a pizza delivery.
- Purchase a piece of new exercise music.
- Watch one or two episodes of a program without feeling guilty.
- Have a spa day at home.
- Turn off all screens for one hour and enjoy the calm and quiet.
- Organize a gaming night with your pals.
- Make something creative by painting, crocheting, or sewing—whatever appeals to you the most.
- Take a bubble bath or a lengthy shower.
- Get a pedicure or a manicure.
- Diffuse your favorite essential oil.
- Take your vehicle to be detailed.
- Fill up your diary.
- Purchase a freshwater bottle.
- Take in the dawn or sunset.
- Prepare a delicious dessert.
Now that you understand why rewarding yourself is essential, you must know how to do it correctly. Choose the appropriate incentive to assist you in developing the habit and reinforcing your success. You want to utilize the reward to increase your momentum, so you can take more action and achieve tremendous success in the future.