8 rewards that keep me motivated to achieve my goals

2018 has been a tough year so far.

Mainly because I’ve set myself some major life goals to achieve and I’ve been hammering at them hard.

Setting hard goals for yourself is a good thing – if you don’t go and build towards the things you truly want to achieve, nobody’s going to do it for you.

But it can also be difficult to stay motivated and keep going.

8 rewards that keep me motivated to achieve my goals / Cake + Whisky

Regardless of your goals and the obstacles you run into to achieve them, I find a reward-based approach to be helpful in keeping your spirits and motivation up.

Setting up a reward ‘programme’ before starting to tackle a new goal, no matter its scale, has two major roles:

  1. Give you the day-to-day motivation to carry on
  2. Allow you to aknowledge important milestones, especially when you’re not fully in control of the goal being ‘achieved’ (e.g. getting a new job or a new client…)

The rewards you choose should not only be a reflection of the scale of the goal/milestone itself and how much achieving it challenged you, but also be things that truly make you happy.

So, of course, they will be different for everyone…

But here are a few ideas of the rewards and treats I found helpful to keep me motivated to achieve my goals.

8 rewards that keep me motivated to achieve my goals / Cake + Whisky

To keep you going on a daily/weekly basis (e.g. to exercise, to file your work expenses every week…):

  • An episode of a series you love

    Pairing an activity you want to indulge in with one you tend to put off is incredibly effective. TV is a very helpful tool to use when working on physical or repetitive tasks that require little brain power.

    Since January, I’ve set this rule that I only watch reality TV programme whilst exercising. And truth be told, Queer Eye and Grace & Frankie are the best thing that’s ever happen to my physical health!

  • An indulgent bath

    When you’re caught up in the most intense, work-heavy phases of goal achievement, it can be very easy to forget to take care of yourself – both physically and mentally.A truly indulgent bath caters for both, giving you a chance to take some time for yourself, pamper and relax.

  • Baking time

    Along the same lines, I tend to do a lot of baking when I’m stressed or am working towards achieving a big goal. The reason for that is simple: for me, baking is the ultimate way to relax. It allows my mind to stop buzzing and rest.Your ‘relaxing time’ might not be baking time – it might be reading, or playing an instrument, or craft projects… Whatever it is, adding some more of that activity into your schedule as a reward is very beneficial when building towards a goal.

  • A nap

    Being quite introverted, having to deal with interaction-heavy environments and situations is a very demanding challenge for me, and the best way to reward myself afterwards is with extra sleep.

    Depending on the nature of your goals, achieving them might be putting a lot of pressure on your body and/or your mind and allowing both to rest is essential to avoid burn-out.

 

To celebrate reaching a milestone:

  • Fresh flowers

    Despite how much I love them, I rarely treat myself to fresh flowers. But a friend recently brought a bunch to me, and it’s be so good at lifting my spirits up.So, I’m going to take the risk of sounding soppy and silly and say that sometimes, something that’s pretty and a little bit useless is an excellent idea.

  • Small treats that would make achieving your goal easier or more enjoyable

    There something extremely motivating about a new gym kit when you’re trying to make exercising a habit. Or great stationary if your goal involves a lot of writing. Or quality boxes if you’re trying to meal-prep more.

    It’s some sort of ‘back to school’ effect, when the idea of using new, better tools/equipment just makes you excited to get up and dig right in!

8 rewards that keep me motivated to achieve my goals / Cake + Whisky

To celebrate achieving a goal:

  • Tickets to a show/event

    If your goal has a set deadline, booking tickets for an event you’re excited to attend for right after is an excellent thing to do.Getting close to deadlines can be a stressful time, but having something positive to look forward to as well makes the dread easier to handle.

    And by the time the event actually rolls around, you’ll be in full celebrations mode, making it even better than you anticipated!

  • Significant ‘treats’ you rarely indulge in

    Things that you enjoy but don’t really buy for yourself because it feels too extravagant, or doesn’t feel like you’d get a lot of use out of.Now is the time to treat yourself. You deserve it – you’ve worked hard to achieve those big goals.

    And it’ll also be an excellent reminder than you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.

Don’t even think about ‘punishment’

Because you didn’t manage to reach your goal fully doesn’t mean you haven’t moved forward with it.

I’m sure you already feel bad enough about this without needing to put extra pressure onto yourself with a punishment.

Instead, take some time to analyse what hasn’t worked out and why, so you can learn from this experience and do better moving forward.

… And on that note, I’m off to buy myself some shoes to celebrate achieving the biggest goal I had set for myself this year!

Do you find it hard to remain motivated when working towards a big goal? What helps you carrying on? 

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8 rewards that keep me motivated to achieve my goals

10 tips to make the most of your trip to the farmers’ market

The first time I visited London’s Borough Market, I remember coming back home empty handed.

There was simply too much to take in, too many possibilities in front of me and I couldn’t make a choice.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

The first time I visited Barcelona’s world-famous Boqueria market, the same thing happened.

And then, right before Bastille Day, I was lucky enough to attend a private tour of the Borough market with demo chef Luke Robinson, who showed us around and shared his top tips to shop around the market.

And that’s when it hit me: buying produce at the farmers’ market is not as obvious as it appears and a few farmers’ market tips go a long way to find the best produce and make the most of your trip!

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

1. Go early

The early bird gets the worm. This is especially true at the farmers’ market.

The crowds much more sparse, produce is fresher when it hasn’t sit in the sun/cold for a few hours and you’ll also avoid the risk of the produce you really wanted to have run out.

So check the opening hours, take a big nice latte along and head on down early & bright!

2. Plan ahead

Whether you want to go all in by doing all the meal planning heavy-lifting ahead of your farmers’ market trip is entirely up to you. If you go for this option, make sure you compile (and take to the market!) a grocery list.

One thing you definitely want to think about beforehands though is the quantity of produce you’ll need and whether any impulse buy is a good idea.

How much will you’ll cook that week? How many people are you feeding? Do you want to (and can you) freeze any leftovers or will they need to be eaten soon?

Asking yourself those questions will help you make sure you buy enough food without wasting any of it.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

3. Shop around

At the market, it’s quite often the case that a few stalls offer the same type of produce.

If that’s the case, it’s always a good idea to take a stroll around to check for freshness, quality and prices before you start shopping.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

4. Follow the seasons

One of the main advantages of shopping at the market is the availability of fresh, local, seasonal produce.

It’s no secret that seasonal produce tastes better and, more often than not, is cheaper than out of season alternatives.

But while we’re all roughly aware of fruit & vegetable season, fish, meat and even flowers (!) have seasons too, and markets’ merchants are always happy to show you what’s good at any point in time.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

5. Trust the queues…

Most farmers’ market rely on regulars’ customs.

Which means the people around you most likely know their way around the market, and therefore know who has the best meat/fish/vegetable/bread…

6. … And your nose!

When it comes to finding the best produce, your nose is your best friend.

Fish shouldn’t smell fishy. Fruit, especially berries, melons and tomatoes should be fragrant. And I am still to meet anyone who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread…

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

7. When in doubt, ask!

Farmers’ market merchants are knowledgeable professionals and you should absolutely make the most of it.

Want to know what’s truly sensational this week? Unsure about which cut of meat to choose or how to cook it? Not sure you can quite fillet a fish on your own?

Don’t be shy and ask way! You’ll be surprise how much helpful advice, useful services and inspiration you’ll get that way.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

8. Don’t be scared to try something new

While you should definitely not buy each and every alien thing you see at the market, a little something new here and there never hurt anybody (and absolutely helps keeping the creative juices flowing!).

Heirloom varieties, uncommon produce, rare spices, there are many ways to think outside the box and you should take full advantage of it!

9. Look out for special events

On top of their regular schedule, some markets also hold special events that are always worth taking a look at.

From weekly cooking demos (if you’re ever near the Borough market on a Thursday…) and tours, to annual events and Christmas specials, make sure you keep an eye out for those as they’ll allow you to see your local market with fresh eyes!

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

10. Always reward yourself with some celebratory baked goods!

Because let’s face it, if you don’t come home with a freshly-baked all-butter croissant, a crunchy baguette or a bag of artisan doughnuts, have you even really been to the farmers’ market?

What’s your top tip to make the most of a trip to the market? Answer on a croissant-filled brown paper bag or in the comments below!

More London adventures & tips

A local’s guide to Angel Islington

5 things to do in London before summer is over

30 regional French dishes you must try (& where to eat them in London)

What to do in London when it rains

Exploring London’s Bankside

10 tips to make the most of your trip to the farmers’ market