All these incentives can shape behavior: positive outcomes are desirable and attractive, while negative outcomes are undesirable and avoided.

Quadrant I Positive Intrinsic (internal) – affirmations, meaning, progress, competence, mastery, wisdom

Quadrant II Positive Extrinsic (external) – recognition, belonging, autonomy, good grades, monetary bonus

Quadrant III Negative Intrinsic (internal) – self-criticism, learned helplessness, fixed mindset

Quadrant IV Negative Extrinsic (external) – negative feedback, bad grades, putting money in a swear jar

Accomplishing a goal is rewarding in itself. Some rewards are intangible, such as growth, respect and mastery. Others, like fame and fortune, are more tangible! Consequences can be immediate or delayed. It may be more immediately rewarding to eat a doughnut, rather than exercise, so it becomes important to focus on the rewards of the long-term goal.

Everyone has their own ideas about what is most rewarding for them. Some might consider shopping punishment rather than reward! Also, some rewards are bigger than others. Select the item on the list that you consider the most rewarding and assign it 5 reward points. Select the least agreeable reward and assign it 1 reward point. Using this scale assign points to all rewards. When selecting rewards for accomplishing tasks or goals, the size of the reward should be comparable to the size of the task or goal. Provide mini-rewards for small steps forward, a big reward for accomplishment of a big goal.

Reward Ideas

  • Visiting a bookstore
  • Going to the park
  • Visiting an art gallery or museum
  • Going for a drive
  • Going to a concert
  • Going to see a movie
  • Renting a video
  • Purchasing a new book, tape or CD
  • A new gadget
  • Attending a class
  • A bouquet of flowers
  • A candy bar
  • Going out to eat fast food
  • Going out to eat at a fancy place
  • A hot bath or shower
  • Going shopping
  • Ice cream
  • A massage
  • A nap
  • Games
  • Sports activities
  • Outdoor activities
  • Crafts/hobbies
  • Visiting friends or relatives
  • Other

See also What’s the Motivation?

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

Posted in goals
9 comments on “Rewards
  1. […] next thing to consider is how to discover what is most rewarding for each individual, and find a way to work that into the […]

  2. […] right and let them know that you appreciate it-simple but very effective. Remember to also reward yourself for learning […]

  3. […] Reward yourself for accomplishments […]

  4. GTA V For PC says:

    Greetings! Quick question that’s totally off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when viewing from my iphone4.
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  5. […] to select the best ones. You made a written plan to make them SMART with specific action steps, rewards selected and target dates set. Now comes the critical part: taking action. Ideas without action are […]

  6. […] I get the task done, I treat myself to a piece of candy for a reward. Luckily, my husband takes them to be recycled, so I don’t have to do that part! I’m […]

  7. […] Feel the intrinsic rewards of the […]

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