Are You Celebrating Your Progress The Right Way?
We all work hard both in and out of the gym to accomplish our goals and it is important along the way that we acknowledge this and reward ourselves. One of the best de-stressing strategies and pieces of advice we give to folks is “treat yo self” with rewards or “healthy you time.”
It’s really easy to celebrate our successes by eating treats, having some drinks, or just going out and making some not so healthy choices, but at the end of the day, does rewarding ourselves this way make us happier and more successful in the long run? NO! We want to figure out a reward system that will not only carry us closer to our goals, but that will be meaningful to us and instill behavioral changes in the long run.
Your Rewards Should Help You Stay On The Right Path
Think of rewards as mile markers that will help lead you the right direction. The right path is usually one that pulls you out of your comfort zone, challenging yourself to improve and sometimes making you nervous about whether or not you will succeed. When you make your way down this road to success, you deserve that little pat on the back to reassure yourself that what you are doing is worth it!
Approach Your Goals From A Place Of Possibility
It is easy to berate yourself and focus on the negatives during a change process. Instead of focusing on how far you have come, it’s easy to dwell on how far you still have to go. The goal is to do it differently, from a position of possibilities. We must find ways to use rewards as a pat on the back and source of encouragement, focusing more on what we do right vs. what we do wrong. Rewards are in place to get you feeling that you are doing what you WANT to do, not what you are “forcing” yourself to do.
Types Of Rewards
There are two main ways to reward yourself:
Extrinsic: Coming from the outside – i.e. Getting a massage, receiving praise from a friend.
Intrinsic: Coming from within – i.e. How it makes you feel (proud, successful, happy, motivated)
Both types of rewards are necessary and will help you along the way towards achieving behavioral change. Extrinsic rewards are more “in the moment” gratification, whereas intrinsic goals change the way you feel long term. It is important that you write down your successes and how they make you feel as a lasting reminder to come back to.
How Do I Set Up A Good Rewards System?
- Be sure your reward matches effort/output. Don’t over reward yourself.
- Choose some benchmarks and “reward levels” for consistency along the way.
- Make sure the reward is meaningful to you (what feels better, new shoes, or a night dedicated to just YOU time?)
- Small rewards along the way can be more meaningful than waiting for that one large goal at the finish line.
- DON’T use food as a reward. It is a slippery slope that everyone should stay away from.
- Involve other people with your rewards or celebrations, tell more people about it.
- Remember that the focus here is behavioral change, not just getting a reward.
- Be honest with yourself. Compliment yourself when necessary, but also hold yourself accountable.
REMEMBER, the process doesn’t have to be perfect and nothing good in life ever comes easy. Set goals, create a plan, be kind to yourself, and reward yourself along the way! These new behaviors become habits and they will change your life for the best!