An effective reward is something that is desirable, timely, and dependent on meeting your goal. The rewards you choose may be material (e.g., a movie or music CD, or a payment toward buying a more costly item) or an act of self-kindness (e.g., an afternoon off from work or just an hour of quiet time away from family). Frequent small rewards, earned for meeting smaller goals, are more effective than bigger rewards that require a long, difficult effort.
But the second you get old enough, people say that relating to animals is juvenile and they try to talk you out of it. I know a lot of people who grew up on farms and were given a piglet or a calf to raise. They loved it and cared for it, like any kid would. And then one day the parent has the animal slaughtered and says, “Toughen up. This is what it is to be a grown-up.”
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL