Wellbeing Wednesday video: Taste of reward to boost motivation

My mum, bless her, felt so sorry for me re my delayed move to Westport, Co. Mayo, that she booked us a glorious couple of days there this week.

It (again) exceeded my already high hopes for my future home town and I’m now home, re-enthused about even the most boring of administrative steps that will help me with this change.

Whether you’re working with a large, small or medium goal, what taste might you give yourself of the reward that will come at the end of this particular journey?

It might be buying an item of clothing or similar to wear when you get to wherever you want to get to.

It might be a literal taste with an item of food or drink that you’ll save until you reach your goal.

Anytime we anticipate a reward, we create dopamine (associated with feeling good and motivation). As we keep our promises to ourselves and follow through on little and large rewards, we boost our motivation even more. So as well as enjoying our little taste of the ultimate reward, the anticipation of the larger reward means we’re supporting our brains to help us do more of the things that will actually reach our goals.

I do it automatically now like thinking, ‘Right, when you finish drafting this blog post, you can enjoy those Chilli Heatwave Doritos. They’ll probably never create a taste sensation to rival Cheesy Wotsits but these Doritos are vegan and delish’.

Other things are thinking about meeting up with friends or even phone calls. I realise some people dread phone calls so obviously, choose things that will motivate you to keep going rather than sabotage your progress.

How do you build little rewards into your day and your goal setting?

This little flying visit was a reward and coming home is a reward, too – reuniting with the excellently cared for in my absence MagnifiCat, catching up with friends, my own bed etc.

You might want to make a list of lots of little, medium and large things that you naturally look forward to. Some of my rewards would be torture for others – one of my friends just told me that she was remotely mortified by me just hearing about it (see toy train tour below).

Similarly, some things that motivate others would really put me off. As with so much in life, the better we get to know ourselves and what works for us, the more we can put these little tools in place to support ourselves.

Walking nearly 9 miles both days was a delight for me as I was familiarising myself with streets I hope to one day live on and the town and Quay themselves. Others might hate walking.

The train tour was something I’d hoped to do the day after moving which, having got so close to Exchange, I had thought would be this week or next. Rather than have to wait until it starts running again in spring (I’ll probably be moving over winter now), I invited (dragged – she enjoyed it, too) my mother along and we waved happily at smiley people we chugged (drove) past.

I told her it was up there with my all time happiest moments and less than a minute later, realised that in my toddleresque excitement to see the train, I had left my bag on the bench in the centre of town [dramatic recreation pictured below].

Amazingly, someone found and kept it for me (which, of course, made me adore Westport even more). But, before managing to get this delightful news, the ‘train’ driver, having witnessed my enthusiasm, did something I imagine he normally did for small children and asked if I wanted to sit in the driver’s seat.

Other little rewards were being able to buy myself some goodies at the divine Wellness Centre and chat to the lovely Lisa (who was instrumental in the return of my bag. So grateful) and Nicole.

Something else I’d forgotten (had done the interview a while back) about but which was a lovely surprise was my book, 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing (White Owl, 2017) and tips for anxiety and insomnia etc being featured in yesterday’s Sun newspaper.

I met some delightful people and caught up with others. I didn’t meet everyone I’d hoped to see but know I will in the future.

I’ve returned home both relaxed after a couple days’ break and have more Westport memories, maps etc and photos to keep me focused and on track.

What do you use to keep yourself on track? Maps? Photos? Messages? Something totally different?

I also use my Sankalpa when I do yoga nidras to help me visualise the future I want rather than worrying about what I don’t want. Yoga Nidras, while deeply relaxing most of the time can help us boost dopamine production by up to 70%. Some days, just as we’re more flexible, strong or have more stamina for our physical practice, our concentration might be not as great or it’s more challenging to relax. As with everything, it’s a practice.

If you’d like to try one, you can do so HERE.

I’d love to hear what helps you stay motivated and on track in the comments below or you can email me.

Big love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor

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