Rewards should be about the same “size” as your habit. If you do one sit-up every day and always have a full bowl of ice cream afterwards, you might be forming the wrong habit.
Because mini habits are no problem even with exhausted willpower, rewards aren’t actually as important as they are with traditional habit formation. But I still recommend rewarding yourself in healthy, non-damaging ways for better enjoyment of life and to encourage further progress. They’ll reinforce the behavior.
Rewards are perhaps most relevant when you are consistently overachieving your mini habits. In this case, you’ll want to reward yourself for the extra effort to encourage more of that type of behavior. When I’ve been overachieving a lot, I often grant myself a bigger reward (like seeing a movie in theaters), and I make sure to mentally connect that activity to all of the progress I’ve made.
But to be honest, I don’t track my rewards like I do my mini habits. It hasn’t been necessary, and I like to simplify my objective as much as possible. For me, it’s easier to reward myself in general because I’m doing a great job with my mini habits. I consciously take guilt-free breaks, for example, because I can look back on my progress and be satisfied with it.
Rewards to Consider
- Allow yourself to eat a small piece of chocolate (guilt-free!)
- Fix a delicious post-workout shake (it can be healthy! Fruit tastes good…)
- Play your favorite game
- Play your favorite sport
- Watch something that makes you laugh
- Spend time with family/friends
- Watch a TV show
- Watch a movie at home or at the theater
- Read an “escape” book
- Spend time with friends
- Take a nap
- Go out to eat
- Do anything else you enjoy
- Have sex (It’s okay, kids can’t read italicized text)