Rewarding Yourself when Quitting Tobacco
Learning to reward yourself for the changes you are making in your life is an important part of quitting tobacco.
Why Rewards Are Important
You are taking important steps to improve your life. The changes you are making take a lot of time and energy. People are motivated by different rewards, so it is important to think about how you can reward yourself. Knowing what is motivating and rewarding to you will help you continue to be successful in meeting your goals.
Rewards can sometimes be difficult to complete. There can be a sense that rewards are not important or rewards are only deserving when the goals have been fully accomplished. However, rewards are an important part of the behavior change process. So it is crucial to think of rewards as necessary to maintaining the changes you are making in your life.
You may find that using different size rewards for different goals is helpful. For instance, you may want to reward yourself in a small way for meeting a goal in a day or in a week, but maybe you want to set up a bigger reward for a month of meeting your goals and perhaps an even bigger reward for a year of meeting your goals.
How to Use Rewards
The following is a list of practical tips for using rewards in quitting tobacco:
- Decide ahead of time what your rewards will be so that you are motivated by them
- Know exactly what you need to do to earn your reward
- Set reasonable goals for yourself
- Don't give yourself a reward until you determine that you earned it
- Set varying time frames for accomplishing your quitting goals, such as:
- 1 week
- 1 month
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 1 year
The following is a list of possible reward ideas, both big and small. Remember it is only a reward if it is rewarding to you. So if nothing on this list seems rewarding, then come up with some of your own ideas.
- Take a walk
- Go out to dinner
- Watch a movie
- Ask your family (or friends) to treat you as a king/queen for a day
- Get a massage
- Take a long bath
- Save the money you were using on tobacco products for a bigger purchase
- Create an award certificate for yourself (if you have children, they might like to help with this)
This information has been approved by Amy Lukowski, PsyD (November 2011).