Day 297, How Can We Reward Ourselves For Task Completion?

Day 297, How Can We Reward Ourselves For Task Completion?

 
Ultimately, only what you think about what you do will affect your mood.
 
~David Burns, M.D., Feeling Good
 

Thursday Morning

 

Rewarding Ourselves For Task Completion

 
When we complete a task, we can check it off in The Journal or JV Life Tracker.  That is a reward.  We can give ourselves extrinsic rewards.  However, what we tell ourselves about completing the task also affects our mood.  Later, I will examine some disempowering thoughts we may have about our completed tasks.  Then I will present the antidotes to those thoughts.
 

Progress on Cognitive Behavior Principles

 
All month I have been applying cognitive behavior principles to my life.  Today, probably for the first time, I noticed there were cognitive distortions I had not experienced the previous day.  That is progress.
 

Progress on Tasks on my List

 
I had a challenging day yesterday trying to locate my birth certificate, so I can obtain my Colorado drivers license.  Near the end of the day, I determined it was still in Utah.  I thought I had brought it to Colorado after my father’s funeral.  We moved right after my return, and the stress must have scrambled my memory.  I had vividly imagined bringing my birth certificate to Colorado, but I had not actually done it.  Later, I was unable to distinguish my imagination from what had actually happened.
 
However, now that my birth certificate has been located, I can get it soon and make progress on getting my Colorado drivers license.  I completed my study of the Colorado Drivers Handbook.  That was a task that took longer to do than I initially anticipated.  I could dwell on that or celebrate getting it done all the more.
 
I am also making progress at getting my things moved from Utah to Colorado.  I have a mover and a date scheduled for the move.  My mother is going to supervise things on the Utah end, so I do not actually have to go to Utah.  I have a storage facility lined up.
 
My chiropractic treatment is also coming along.  I still have some pain, but I can tell that progress is being made.
 

Reward-Seeking Behavior

 
I have also done some study about schizophrenia and addiction.   According to this article, individuals with schizophrenia are more prone than the average to the use of addictive substances.  Antipsychotics can help reduce their desire for some addictive substances.  Schizophrenia is related to bipolar disorder, and I even take an antipsychotic.  I have been wondering how the effect of my disorder and treatment on my brain’s reward center affects motivation.
 
Atypical antipsychotics, like the one I take, have less of an effect on the brain’s reward center than the older antipsychotics.  My medication can apparently reduce my desire for addictive substances, which is advantageous, but does it affect my reward seeking for things like money?  I think it probably does, which may be one reason I have not been motivated to find employment for the past 20 years.  The thought of money has not lit up my pleasure centers.  Fortunately, I have not needed employment, but what if I did?  Does my medication inhibit reward-seeking behaviors needed for survival?
 
I do not have the answer to these questions.  However, I do feel vulnerable.  Rather than get overly concerned, I am going to do my gratitude practice.
 

Preparing For My Day

 
5-10 things i am grateful for:
  • locating my birth certificate in Utah
  • cherries being in season
  • reduced pain in my back and neck
  • new clothes that my neighbor gave me
  • harmony between me and my husband
 
morning comments, feelings, ideas, moods, and empowering questions:
Ultimately, only what you think about what you do will affect your mood.
 
~David Burns, M.D., Feeling Good
 
mood and energy:
 
0-100
comments
mood:
85
feeling relieved after locating my birth certificate yesterday
energy:
70
reasonably good, but am not able to exercise a long time
 
accomplishments:
 
accomplishment
reason it is important
next action(s)
1
finished the Colorado Drivers Handbook.
Driving
Review if needed.
2
made progress at getting my documentation together for my drivers license.
Driving
Finish.
3
had a great talk with Mom about cognitive behavior principles.
Relationships
Send her a list of cognitive distortions as per her request.
4
offered to help my next door neighbor with her computer.
Service, Relationships
Give her my phone number.
5
got the toilets serviced and inspected
Maintenance
Change the lightbulbs in the main bathroom.
 

Rewarding Ourselves for Tasks Completed

 
I thought about Dr. Burns’ comment and have been paying more attention to what I think and feel about what I do.  Sometimes, even after a big accomplishment, I do not find joy in it.  This could happen because I tell myself one or more of the following:
 
  1. That took an awfully long time to do.
  2. That has been on my to-do list for an awfully long time.
  3. I am still not done yet.
  4. Look at all the other things I did not get done while I was working on that.
  5. I made a mistake while doing that, or a mess, etc.
  6. Someone else could have done a better job.
  7. That was not done perfectly or maybe not even close to perfectly.
  8. Doing that task is not getting me anywhere.
  9. I only did that task because I had to not because I wanted to.
  10. I ate a good meal, but it was at the wrong time of day.
  11. I did not do my tasks in the right order.
  12. I had to beg my husband for help on that task, and it was not worth bothering him.
  13. I did not do as good on that this time as I have previously.
 

Antidotes

 
You get the point.  Any of these can steal the joy from completing a task.  Let me think of antidotes for each of these.
 
 
Complaint
Antidote
1.
That took an awfully long time to do.
During which time I gained mastery in doing that thing through the Success Mechanism steps.
2.
That has been on my to-do list for an awfully long time.
All the more reason to celebrate getting it done.  I overcame all the reasons for my procrastination.
3.
I am still not done yet.
Sometimes one task leads to another, and that is just an opportunity.
4.
Look at all the other things I did not get done while I was working on that.
If this was high priority, then making the other tasks wait was a good choice.  Instead, let me be grateful that this task is done, even if some other things had to wait.
5.
I made a mistake while doing that, or a mess, etc.
That is all part of the Success Mechanism steps and gaining mastery.  I can be grateful if the mistakes are repairable.
6.
Someone else could have done a better job.
They may be more expert.  I am gaining mastery that they may have already gained.
7.
That was not done perfectly or maybe not even close to perfectly.
Maybe it is good enough.  How many times is this worth doing?  How much time is it worth taking to do it perfectly?  I may want to save my efforts to master other things.
OR
I can keep perfecting my mastery on that task if it is worth it.
8.
Doing that task is not getting me anywhere.
No experience is wasted.  Everything I have ever done sums up into what I am now.  Mastery in the basics combines to make me more masterful in the big things.
9.
I only did that task because I had to not because I wanted to.
I can change my attitude and decide I want to do what I have to do.
OR
I can have others do that task instead, if mastery in that task is not important to me.
10.
I ate a good meal, but it was at the wrong time of day.
If my appetite is getting ahead of me, it could simply be the result of taking a larger dose of thyroid.
11.
I did not do my tasks in the right order.
The sky will not fall in if this happens.  I may even discover a better order for doing things.
12.
I had to beg my husband for help on that task, and it was not worth bothering him.
Maybe it was worth it.  I can be grateful that my husband helped me and I can influence him to do so. Influence is one of my top values.
13.
I did not do as good on that this time as I have previously.
I can only do my absolute best once in a lifetime.  I cannot realistically expect to do better every time I do something, even though I value constant and never ending improvement.
 
With these antidotes in mind, maybe I can overcome the negativity I sometimes feel once a task is completed or even if I stop working on it before it is 100% complete.  It is time to do more celebrating and increase the joy.
 
Listing my accomplishments, as shown in my Preparing for My Day exercise, probably enhances my mood because it reinforces the value of what I have done.  I put next action(s) in the list, which sometimes leaves me the impression I am not really done.  However, that is often the nature of things.  One task completed leads to another.  That is often the door of opportunity.

 

Friday Morning

 

Prayer

 
 
 
Morning Prayer
 
Lord,
 
When I complete a task, it is time to celebrate and increase my joy.  However, I want to avoid indulging in addictive substances, including sugar, as a reward.
 
Knowing that the reward center in my brain may be plugged by my medication, what is the best way to take pleasure in simple things such as the completion of tasks?
 
I have explored some of the thoughts I think upon completion of tasks, and I can see how they can take the joy out.  I attempted to find an antidote for each one.  However, I have not tested these antidotes yet to see how effective they are.  Let me work on that and let my readers know how well they work later.  They may also think of effective antidotes for their own disempowering thoughts.
 
Lord, I have been extremely
blessed lately.  My husband and I are creating more and more harmony in our marriage.
 
I learned from Dr. David Burns’ yesterday that wives who reward their husbands for good behavior rather than punishing them for bad are more successful at their marriages.  That has been my tactic lately, and it seems to be working.  Giving rewards rather than punishments is more joy producing also.  It is much better for my mood.
 
Anger and punishment did not work very well in the home I grew up in.  I want my own home to be different.  There must be a better way.
 
Help my readers to find vibrant joy in all the tasks they complete.  Help them to find vibrant joy in the process of completing them as well.
 
Amen.
 
If you would like to join me in this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
KaeLyn Morrill
 
 

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