If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Friday, January 9, 2009

Reward System

I believe in rewards and I believe strongly in giving rewards after you have accomplished your goal (it may be hard to believe but I know many people who think starting with a reward as an incentive is the way to go--rarely are they successful). Professionals advise choosing a reward that is not contrary to your goals. For example if you goal is to write every day don't reward yourself with a day off. Likewise, if your goal is to lose weight don't reward sticking to a diet with ice cream. Again this seems like common sense, but many people (myself included) have fallen victim to faulty reward systems in the past.

I have a new "healthy lifestyle" plan that I'm putting into effect and have been trying to think of a good reward system. I'm currently considering allowing myself to buy books off of my very long wish list (which, while momentarily shortened by Christmas presents has suddenly increased again due to help I received from the fabulous K8 on Jane Yolen and now I not only want to read her books but also want to reread the major YA sci fi in my life). I was thinking I could buy a book off of the list for every two weeks of staying on the plan.

But here is the problem. I have other plans, both work and life related, that will clash with book-buying as a reward. For instance I have plans to write a certain number of papers and grants this year and obviously reading fiction is a counter-productive activity for those plans (if you think about it, increasing time spent pursing a healthy lifestyle is counter-productive for writing papers and grants--so really my goals are at odds with each other to begin with). I also have plans to reduce the number of items I own--obviously this will be hampered by book buying. Lastly b and I have been on a fairly strict financial diet, so again the purchasing of books--not such a great idea. Now many of you may recommend I substitute buying with borrowing but there are two problems there: (a) borrowing is time-limited and I then feel pressured to read, which further reduces my time writing and (b) I really like buying books, which is why it is a reward.

So I'm thinking I may have to step away from books as reward and go to blogging as reward. You see I truly enjoy blogging and reading blogs but this activity does get in the way of both work-related and health-related goals (luckily it has no effect on financial or minimalist goals). So I need to come up with a formula (every day I write for work I'm allowed to post? every day I stick to the health plan I'm allowed to read blogs?) that will puts my blogworld firmly in the reward category.

If you don't hear from me you will know I'm offtrack. Of course if you don't hear from me it may also mean I'm so on track I have not time to post.


Seeking Solace said...

Wow! Cheers to you!!!!

Are you on the actice academic? If you want to contribute, when you have been "good" please do! Email me at seekingsolace.blog@gmail.com to join!

k8 said...

Book buying is one of my greatest weaknesses. There's always the library, though. And, one of the best parts of academia is having access to a university library system. If you have an education department at your university, there should be ya books at the library. If not, there is always inter-library loan!

btw, Diana Wynne Jones has some good YA sf titles - A Tale of Time City, Hexwood, Archer's Goon (which Neil Gaiman claims is one of his favorites), and others. She also writes fantasy.

Julie said...

Your reward system sounds like a good one. I also reward myself with books, even when I don't deserve them:)

Your health plan sounds good, too. Another thing I should do!