Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

The Reward of Rewards

Actively working on achieving something you value is a huge reward

Call me a sucker, but I love opening my Starbucks phone app, seeing the little stars fall into the virtual cup denoting my progress in amassing enough stars for a bonus coffee. There is something very satisfying about being rewarded for an something I would do, regardless of the outcome. We do very well with rewards, sometimes, it's tangible, like a free coffee and sometimes, it's just our own sense of moving closer to something we value.

We benefit from encouragement as we work towards our goals. Think about your own experiences: Has there ever been a time when you set out to accomplish something, say, save for a down payment on a home, car or even retirement? As you watched your accounts build with every deposit, moving you closer to success, something triggered in your brain making you feel good, accomplished and more satisfied.

In the planning process, clients benefit from creating mutual goals thereby setting up a system of mutual support in moving closer to their desired outcomes. As planners, our job is to be a part of that support system, encouraging, reminding and reassuring our clients that only through their determination and disciplined efforts will they be able to reap the rewards of their dreams.

The road to success is much tougher for those who walk the path alone; without support, without the resources of objective advice and technical knowledge. That is not to say it cannot be done, it can-but it requires a great deal of work, self-discipline and constant attention. The lack of independent guidance can be a detriment in deciphering all the financial and life issues with which we are confronted.

In an effort to reach your life goals, it helps to build in support along the way-after all the path to success can be a long one. Here are a few ideas:

1. Assemble a team of trusted advisors to provide objectivity and expertise

2. Bring all stakeholders to the table to discuss the issues and objectives

3. Create strategies to implement ideas

4. Build in check points to measure progress

5. Establish what is noise vs. meaningful (i.e. reacting to headlines or media fear-mongering)

The act of achieving something you value is a huge reward in and of itself. It's even better than a free cup of coffee.