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Why We Never Really Reward Ourselves 

Reward vs. Punishment

„Today was such a hard day, I’ll go and have some ice cream and chips on the couch.“, „I’ve just managed to eat healthy the entire week – let’s have a chocolate bar!“, or „Sometimes you just have to treat yourself!“ while eating the triple WHOPPER or Big Mac. „Be nice and you’ll have ice cream!“
I think there’s nothing more to say: Do we really „reward“ or „indulge“ ourselves in doing so?

For me, a reward is something I want to reach after working hard for it. Additionally, it can be something I treat myself to cheer me up when I’m down.
It’s similar to the Olympic Games or other competitions: If you do very well, you can win a medal, and you can enjoy being celebrated.

But nowadays, it is as if we confuse rewards with punishments. Do you think a medal winner feels guilty about winning a medal afterward? A quite rhetorical question: No!
Do you have a bad conscience after your reward called „chocolate bar“, „bag of chips“, „bucket full of fries“, etc.? A rhetorical question as well? 😉

That's my reward: Travelling all around the world :)
That’s my reward: Travelling all around the world 🙂

So what’s my point you ask?

I just want to tell you one thing: Ask yourself what is really a reward for yourself! Do you really indulge yourself with something you feel worse afterward? Isn’t it much better to indulge yourself with something making you feel better than before? Does it really make sense to celebrate your child’s birthday at McDonald’s because he/she has been so nice in the last weeks? Is it just me seeing the ambivalence?

We must learn that a reward has to be a reward and not a punishment: If you’re on a diet, isn’t it more reasonable to reward yourself with the big basket of fresh fruits you usually don’t buy because it’s too expensive? If you had a hard work week, isn’t it better to go and have a day off at the spa or sauna instead of that pint of ice cream on the couch?

Do you dream of an epic voyage? Then go and put some money aside each week instead of buying all the little stuff you really don’t need. Do you really want to reward yourself? Then go and get yourself something that makes you feel better and not remorseful. Those who know me a bit better, also know that I love this quote:

Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.


Traveling is my personal reward: Even if I don’t feel like having to reward myself because almost everything I do is something I love. Even though traveling, experiencing new cultures and people is simply so good for me – no more words needed. 🙂

What is your personal reward? How do you handle this? Do you love traveling as much as I do?

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