Rewarding Myself

Some of the best teacher’s best tricks are positive incentives. Students will work hard and follow rules much easier when there is a reward in the end, or some sort of recongnition. Eventually, their behavior becomes habit, and the incentive can be taken away. I consider myself an expert at positive incentives. I’m pretty confidant that if my students remember anything about me (pu-leeaase, I’m sure they remember EVERYTHING), it will be my rewards programs…. and the fact that they never saw me without high heels and a coffee cup.

EVERY picture of me that my students drew looked like a blonde stick figure in stilettos holding a cup of coffee.

My most popular incentive was “Ms. M’s Money” * I gave out “money” (which looked very similar to real money with my face on it), out to students for various reasons. They may get a buck for neat handwriting, 2 bucks for helping to clean up, five dollars for being the quietest in the line, 10 dollars for helping a friend, etc etc. The best part was that they never knew when I’d give out money. Basically, I would have to “catch” them being good and reward them with “money”.

The students also had their own wallets that they saved their money in, and each morning they could spend their money on a myriad of things!

If you find the mistake you get $10 Ms M. Dollars!

A few other incentives I used was a “Fantastic Hat” (The hat Mickey Mouse wears in Fantasia), that I gave out to someone being fantastic. Bruce, the reading shark was given to the best listener at story time. There was the “American Idol” microphone for the “best” singer after our morning songs, the “mathematician” award, and the list goes on and on….

Fantastic Hat


As an adult, I sometimes need my own incentive program or rewards chart.

Like most brides, I have been trying to get into great shape for the big day. I was on a pretty strict regimen of working out most days, and eating healthy-ish (No Chips, thanks to lent), up until my Bachelorette party weekend.

We ate all of my favorite foods (Everything Mexican and spicy, and lots of hot fries), drank too many margaritas, and washed it all down with cake and donuts.

Anytime I take just one day off from the gym it takes all of my willpower to force myself to go back. I was incredibly unmotivated once I returned to NYC, so I decided to give myself a little incentive. Last Thursday, I made a deal with myself:

Everyday that I workout I get a present.

I decided this present could be anything from Starbucks to a new pair of shoes. I would just spread out the expenses, and not allow myself extra coffee, lunch out, or ANY shopping unless I’d been to the gym.

Thursday I had a delicious vegan lunch during my lunch break with Zoey, and I went to the gym the second I got off work. Check!

Friday, I threw my back out….. And as you know from Lemons into Lemonade, I then shopped unit l dropped.

I was feeling REALLY guilty that night. I had already failed on my great rewards program plan. I had to do something about this, I had  to make things right. At 10pm I hobbled down four flights of stairs, limped 5 blocks to the gym, and sat in the sauna and read for half an hour.

I figured sweating it out was as close as I could get to a workout.

The wedding is now 54 days away, and my back is starting to feel better, anyone have a better idea for workout motivation?

Maybe I should just hangup a calendar and place a shiny sticker on each day I workout… and then go shopping.