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Traditions, and Rewarding Yourself for Just Being You

Tuesday October 12, 2021

Some people work really well with a system of rewards for things like productivity or progress on various goals. IF they do this, THEN they get that, says their personal system.

To me though, automatic, unearned rewards also need to be part of normal life. I find that I operate best with a good baseline level of life-sweetness which is always on.

I’ve also found that traditions are a really nice way of framing this kind of work.

New Traditions for a New, Upgraded Normal

Here are some of the things I look forward to that are more like weekly traditions now.

You could say that creating, modifying, and observing traditions is a big part of how I reward myself for just being me, and it helps a lot.

First, every Tuesday I check out a digital movie from my public library account. This means it will be returned on Friday. So it’s nice to watch it a little bit each day until the weekend. I really look forward to this because there are some pretty great films available. This new tradition has a noticeably positive effect on the middle of my week. (I’m currently watching The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot)

Second, on Saturdays and Mondays I add new JustWatch titles to my various account lists. JustWatch is a nice service that lets you see what’s just been added to Netflix, Paramount Plus, Hoopla, and many other services. On Saturdays I review titles from Monday-Thursday, and on Mondays I review titles from Friday-Sunday. This makes my watch lists pretty long and also fresh, which I’ve found is really good for my energy levels overall. This new tradition has a nice, temporary fun energy effect, similar to opening a small gift.

Finally, I look forward to cleaning and organization tasks on the weekend. I have a lot to do still, in pushing this tradition forward, but I notice that it makes my weekdays feel a lot better. Sometimes it’s physical cleaning, for example cleaning off a work surface or organizing a bookcase. And sometimes it’s digital cleaning, like reorganizing some folders on my work computer. This tradition has a very noticeable energy accrual effect in the short- and mid-term.

These three examples are all in addition to family traditions, like holiday observances, or Taco Tuesdays, or making a donut run on Friday mornings.

But most importantly: I’m always updating these. I tweak my traditions over time and keep a file with notes relevant to each one. The value of this kind of ongoing refinement is very easy to understate.

Conclusion

Those are some examples how I use traditions to set a rewards-baseline for enjoying a better week.

Do you have any traditions that are just for you?

What works, and what needs tweaking?

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