Last semester, I kept hearing Boy in Black tease his sister about how many gold stars she was getting each day. At first, I thought he was joking.
But it turned out he wasn’t. Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter had set specific goals for the semester and a system of rewarding herself by putting stars on the calendar each day when she did something specific towards each goal. The stick-on stars came in five colours, so she had five different categories. Working out, for example, got a gold star while trying a new recipe got a red one.
Since my daughter is already incredibly organized and self-disciplined, it’s hard to know how much the stars on the calendar made a difference, but by the end of the semester, she had achieved her goals. She’d worked out five times each week, for example, and successfully defended her thesis proposal.
By the time this semester began, we’d all gone from teasing her about the stars to wanting behavior modification charts of our own. So she printed out calendars for all of us, put them in folders, and bought us packets of star stickers. We were instructed to choose five goals to match the colors of the stars.
I decided to wait until February 1 to begin my chart. February is always a difficult month for me, so I figure that maybe the stars will help motivate me to take good care of myself. The categories I've chosen give me credit for things like playing the piano, taking a walk in the woods, and meditating. I admit that it was a little disconcerting to pull out the calendar and realize that we had an extra day in February this year (like the month wasn’t long enough already!), but I hope that filling the days with stars as I achieve my goals will make February easier.