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This article aims to look at the concept of self-credit – Pausing, giving yourself a big up and then rewarding yourself for the progress you have already made.

If you are anything like me you are constantly working on a to-do list.

If you are anything like me you are constantly ticking items off a to-do list.

If you are anything like me you are constantly adding items to a to-do list.

If you are anything like me you are always looking at the next challenge.


So the question is “When does it end?”

Chances are, it doesn’t.

So the next question is “ Well how can you ever win?”

Chances are you already have. But you have just forgotten or discounted that particular challenge and are already on to the next one.

Imagine a race where you can never win. You keep running and running and but the finish line keeps getting nudged forward. That could get pretty demotivating eventually, right? Well, that’s what myself and a few people I have been working with lately have been doing.

As someone who spends a lot of time in the future by planning and organising my calendar, I rarely check the past. I do use an app called idonethis where I log what I have learnt and what I would like to learn in the future and then the app sends me emails 3 months or a year later telling me what I did on that day. It’s cool to be reminded of your progress to see how far you have come but I’ve noticed I don’t give myself enough credit for it. I discount my own progress as just a part of the journey.

That constant desire for innovation, new, next can add some unnecessary pressure to the journey so let’s look at how using the present can help relieve some of that pressure and bring in some positive vibes.

If you reward yourself either in the moment or after a milestone then your brain gets trained to think that your work gets rewarded. If you keep doing this regularly, your brain will link pleasure to completing the milestones or tasks which will help motivation for the next challenge.

What is Self-Credit?

As mentioned at the top of the article, self-credit is about pausing, giving yourself a big up and then rewarding yourself for the progress you have already made.

Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go ~ Unknown

There may be some hesitancy here and you may be thinking “I haven’t got time for this, there is work to be done” but recognizing what you’re doing right doesn’t mean you then become complacent and stop wanting more progress.

Success (however you define it) builds incrementally over time and you don’t tend to notice it most, if not all, of the time. When was the last time you told yourself, “Well done me, great job”?

How to Give More Self-Credit

On paper, the how is pretty simple – just give yourself more credit. But, life moves on, distractions pop up and shiny objects entice us away. So to keep it front of mind, one of the main methods to not forget is to do some sort of scheduled reflection such as a weekly/monthly/project review or journaling. Acknowledge your progress, efforts and give yourself a pat on the back. Smile, even.

Gratitude is quite popular in the personal development world at the moment and it serves 2 purposes. It keeps us grateful for what we have and not what we don’t have but also keeps us in the present rather than the future-focused mindset which can put added pressure on ourselves.

My current coach has also suggested appreciation alongside gratitude. This aligns with self-credit because it is more about being appreciative of yourself as opposed to things, people or other external concepts. He said to think of 3 things I appreciate myself for. “I appreciate myself for fighting against my perfectionism to get this article finished”, for example.

Think of other ways you can remind yourself that you deserve a little more credit. Keep in mind that any progress is progress and to only focus on progress, not perfection.

When to Give Self-Credit

Self-credit can be given at any time but it’s usually a case of remembering to do so. Doing it as part of a morning routine or evening reflection can be useful but it can also be done after every task, week, month or milestone. Maybe on significant days such as your birthday or around the time of New Year.

I use quarter reviews as working in 90-day sprints suits me when it comes to reviewing and planning but I am considering reducing this to monthly to keep a better focus and also ensure the self-credit becomes a more frequent occurrence.

The more regularly you do it, the more positive you will feel about your progress and the more motivated you will be to crack on. The more credit you give yourself the more you will start to believe it.

Break Down Goals Into Milestones

A lot of medium and long-term goals are quite a way out in the future. By breaking them down, they not only feel less overwhelming but the milestones can be a chance to acknowledge and reflect on progress.

As part of this year’s goal setting, I decided to add a milestone section where my long and medium-term goals were broken into a few important stages. For example, a few of mine were to log 100 coaching hours, create and run a workshop in Las Palmas and to rent a place with a private bathroom in Medellin. The last one will happen later in 2018 but the other two I have already accomplished so rather than just tick it and move on, I decided to give some self-credit and…

Reward The Milestones

I did a productivity boot camp back in 2017 when I was living in Medellin and was given a handout which had loads of productivity tips on. Being a nerd on the topic I was aware of, and using 96% of them but one of them was about rewarding yourself. This stuck out to me as I realised I never do this. And I still didn’t do it until recently when I was reminded by Bridgett Tulloh of all that I have accomplished so far.

It’s ok to have the drive and strive but stop being so hard on yourself all of the time. Balance it out with a bit of self-credit and reward.

How to Celebrate and Reward Yourself (Without Alcohol)

I guess one of the classic celebrations is to pop open some champagne or to have a party. That’s all good but I tend to prefer rewards that don’t involve alcohol. Although my recent article, Drunken Soulitude was about alcohol, life is all about finding the balance. So, here a just a few ways you can reward yourself:

  • Take a day off. A real one. With no internet. No phone. No work.
    • This one can be especially tough for business owners, managers or solopreneurs like myself, Your mind is always whirring but it is one of the best things to recharge the batteries.
  • Massage or other therapy
    • This is one of my favs. As self-credit for achieving a couple of my milestones, I treated myself to a chiropractic deep tissue massage. It was bloody painful but I loved it. This method is a double win because it improves your physical health too.
  • Treat yourself
    • What’s that thing you have been eyeing up lately? Maybe a trip, gadget or item of clothing. You worked hard to get to the milestone so why not indulge?
  • Do something from your smile list
    • Eh, what’s a smile list? This is something I have been doing for years now – making a note of everything that makes me naturally smile. (I have a whole document called Emotion Logs where I also make note of other things that trigger various emotional reactions – Read more about Emotion Logs) This data also really helps when making career and life choices.
  • Take a bath
    • Chill out like. Doesn’t have to be romantic with candles and rose petals. Just enjoy the peace and calm for a change. Lob in some Epsom salt for added benefits.
  • Meet a friend
    • Someone you have been meaning to catch up with. Someone who always leaves you happy. Hang out and chill out.
  • Go for a meal
    • This could combine Treat Yourself and Meet a friend or you could just go to that restaurant you have always wanted to try.
  • Whatever else you love doing and haven’t done in a while

As well as giving self-credit, most of the ideas above also come under the bracket of self-care. If you are taking care of yourself then you can continue to get shit done. If you keep hammering it, there is a real chance of a reduction in productivity and even burnout.

Look at it this way – If you were employing someone and were constantly giving them tasks without taking a break you’d feel a bit harsh right? And what if whenever they finished a task and came to you, you said nothing. No acknowledgement, no praise just “get on with the next task bro!”. Shit boss eh? You wouldn’t do it to someone else, so why do it to yourself?

Give yourself permission to take a break. If you can’t bring yourself to give yourself permission then allow me…

I give you permission to take a break!

What are your milestones?

How would you like to reward yourself?

I’d love to hear how you guys give self-credit and reward so feel free to comment below.

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I help people get to where they want to be quicker than they would have done on their own.