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  • Writer's pictureMaria Stefanidi


What exactly means to reward yourself?

Whenever you finish a project or a dissertation-related task, or a long, intensive, and productive study period, or when you just make progress toward your goals no matter how small... well, it's time to find ways to reward yourself!

Don't forget to pat yourself on the back after a productive session of focusing, learning, and writing.

It all comes down to recognizing and rewarding yourself for a job well done!


But wait, why would you want to reward yourself?

I wholeheartedly believe in rewarding yourself after completing a task related to your dissertation. The truth be told, it's much easier to deal with a heavy workload if you have something to look forward to.


Every time you tell yourself "Thank you," your subconscious mind is inspired to keep studying and working so you can get all you need to finish your dissertation.

When you reward yourself, your brain generates favorable emotions, concluding that your efforts are rewarded.

To put it another way, rewards make you happy, which in turn motivates you to work harder.

When you treat yourself, your brain releases a chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine has a positive effect on your mood. As a result, you become more motivated and energized about completing the task at hand.

The task will be more enjoyable to complete because it makes you happy. Your rewards are what motivate you to keep going. Your rewards are the pleasures that spur you on to achieve your life's goals.

As a result of rewarding yourself, your sense of self-worth and self-control rises.


Because of all the effort you've put in, you've earned your rewards!

Furthermore, you risk becoming burned out if you don't reward yourself or take a break.

You'll lose your motivation and feel out of balance if you skip rewarding yourself in the short term.


How to reward yourself - Things to consider when you do!

  1. RELEVANCE - Your rewards should be in line with your goals. In other words, you must select a reward that is compatible with your goal. You don't create a reward that undermines your goal. So, if your goal is to finish your literature review chapter and you meet your weekly goal, there's no point in spoiling yourself by spending the next ten days watching a whole series on Netflix. If you do this, your reward will not help you achieve your ultimate goal.

  2. EXCITEMENT - Pick a reward that motivates you. Everyone's different. Some people want technology gadgets; some are motivated by time spent with friends, and still, others desire new stationery supplies (that's me!) The rewards need to be at least able to drive you so that you're looking forward to achieving your goals. It's pointless to select a reward that doesn't make you want to receive it. That's how a reward should be - exciting and rewarding, and you're looking forward to receiving it!

  3. EASY AND INSTANT - Make your rewards simple and quick to achieve. You want to reward yourself as soon as possible once you've put in the effort. Waiting a week for your reward is just too long. The faster you receive your reward, the more effectively you can reinforce your brain and convince yourself that you're being rewarded for the actions you've taken. When you put in the work, you want your mind to believe that you'll get something in return. So, give yourself lots of little rewards!

  4. MATCHING - entails selecting the appropriate level of reward. Small rewards correspond to small tasks and goals, while it's better to save the more significant rewards for after you've completed a very difficult or time-consuming assignment. You don't want to reward yourself by watching a two-hour movie just because you spent 25 minutes reading a few journals. Similarly, after three days of hard work, you don't want to reward yourself with just a cup of coffee. In other words, select the appropriate level of reward to reflect your hard work and progress.


50 ways to reward yourself during your dissertation journey

  1. Make yourself a cup of delicious coffee

  2. Go for a walk outside

  3. Put on your favorite song

  4. For 15 minutes, look up something you want to buy on the Internet

  5. Dance

  6. Organize your workspace

  7. Spend an hour with a friend or loved one over a cup of coffee

  8. Think, what can you buy yourself so that your work becomes more enjoyable?

  9. Reserve a table for breakfast in a hotel

  10. Get an indoor plant or a flower box

  11. Spend a few days at a great resort and relax

  12. Allow yourself to take a short nap if you need to. A well-deserved break after a long day's work can be just the thing you need

  13. While enjoying a steaming mug of hot chocolate, relax with a good book

  14. Relax at the beach or go shopping on a day off

  15. Redecorate your office

  16. Do a fun activity with your kids

  17. Listen to a motivational podcast; it's a great way to start your day!

  18. Take a 30-minute break and do nothing at all

  19. Sing

  20. Draw or doodle

  21. Organize your wardrobe

  22. Go to a bookstore

  23. Spend some time writing a letter to someone you haven't seen in a while

  24. Clean your car

  25. Write in your journal

  26. Get a good night's rest

  27. Buy a lottery ticket

  28. Enjoy the view at dawn or dusk

  29. Invest in a new hairdo

  30. Take time to work on a hobby you enjoy

  31. At the end of a studying session, relax and watch your favorite TV show

  32. Put a puzzle together

  33. Try Sudoku

  34. Allow yourself for half-hour to play on your smartphone games without interruption.

  35. Spend an hour on Skype with one of your favorite people

  36. Head to the sea or mountain depending on where you live

  37. Stock up on new stickers for your planner if you're a planner addict

  38. Pick a series you want to watch on Netflix and watch the first episode

  39. Enjoy a cup of tea and a magazine for a half-hour in peace and quiet

  40. Perform a workout

  41. Listen to an audiobook

  42. Enjoy a glass of wine

  43. Take a break from cooking for the day and order takeout

  44. Relax by lighting a scented candle

  45. Create a photo slideshow screensaver on your desktop

  46. Meditate

  47. Look for a new ringtone

  48. Give yourself a pass to browse Pinterest for an hour

  49. At the end of the day, write down your top three accomplishments, no matter how big or small, and celebrate!

  50. Spend time with your pet by taking a walk or playing together,


Always remember

  • When you achieve a task, make a big deal out of it and celebrate!

  • Rewards, no matter how small, can be powerful motivators

  • It'll make a massive difference to your dissertation journey and your life in general if you learn to reward yourself for your victories, big or small.

I hope you enjoyed your reading!

If you want to create and prioritize your own reward system for your dissertation journey, you can book a Discovery Call with me, and we'll discuss it together.

Have an amazing day!

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