Creating a Reward System for Yourself That Works

Change isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to making those ever-challenging, lifestyle changes.  Yes, making the decision to start living a more healthy and active life is the first step towards positive change, but once you’ve made that decision, you have to stick to it. That’s the hard part!!

Some people naturally love to move, but even if you don’t look forward to a nice workout, know that you can learn to enjoy the journey.  If you’re just starting out, even the smallest bit of motivation will take you far.

This is where I encourage you to set up a reward system.  Once you’ve taken the plunge and start to establish a fitness plan that will put you on your path towards becoming your most Fit, Flexible and Fabulous self, it’s important to maintain that routine that you feel comfortable with.  Don’t let the early-stage challenges derail you.  

Many fitness-minded people, including myself, find that setting goals and rewarding achievement  is a very effective strategy in the fight to stay motivated.  A thoughtfully-planned system will help you to stay on target.  

Now, before we can talk about rewards, you must first set your goals.  Take some time to ask yourself what exactly it is that you want to get out of your fitness plan.  Whether you’re looking to make a complete lifestyle overhaul or just want to feel fabulous in your cute, new swimsuit on the beach this summer, it’s important to know what you’re working towards.  Then, once you’ve determined the why in the equation, it’s time to take action and create your own reward system with incentives that will encourage you to stick to your routine and goals.  

This is the fun part, and the best part is, there’s no right or wrong way to do it.  Every person’s plan will be different.  You just have to create something that will work in tandem with your lifestyle and goals.  It’s really that simple!  

Step 1: Decide How Often You Should Reward Yourself.  

There really is no right or wrong to deciding how often you want to reward yourself.  If you’re unsure, try setting monthly goals and incentives for yourself.  Longer-term goals will help you see just how much you’ve accomplished, rather than focusing too much on the differences from one day to the next.  

Different systems work for different people, and yours will depend on how motivated you are and how much extra incentive you need to keep going.  Maybe, if you’re just starting out, you do need a reward every time you exercise.  Though, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this, I do encourage you to do whatever it takes to keep you motivated and moving, and I applaud you for recognizing that you are worth it.   

Step 2:  Decide What Each of Your Rewards Will Be

Make sure that whatever rewards you pick are motivating to you.  However, try to avoid choosing food as a reward.  You don’t want to get in the habit of associating food with exercise, and certainly not as a prize; that’s an unhealthy habit.  Think more along the lines of a new pair of sneakers, a mani/pedi or even a vacation or holiday!  

If you’re setting weekly goals, you could reward yourself with some new music, go see a movie with friends, get a new workout DVD or just relax in a nice, long, bubble bath.  For monthly rewards, I like to splurge, just a bit – something like a massage or an indulgent facial.  Even if it’s a facial or hair treatment I give myself in my own bathroom! You might also buy a cute, new workout outfit to keep you motivated.  Again, it’s all about your personal taste and what truly feels like an incentive to you, personally.

Of course, my favorite rewards to think about are the ones that I have set for reaching my larger, overall fitness goals.  I love to travel, so for these, I like to plan in a day trip (or even just a few hours) to explore nature somewhere or see a new part of a familiar city.  Remember, you’ve earned it, so don’t be afraid to think big!  Whatever you choose, make it something just for you.  

The most important thing is to stay motivated, never let your setbacks keep you down, and keep working toward the life that you want to create.  See your vision and live it in reality! I truly believe that anyone and everyone can find their most fabulous self with a little guidance and encouragement.  I believe in you, and you should too!  XOXO