Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reward yourself

Changing your lifestyle to exercise for the long run or to eat healthier can be very challenging. Even tackling a 60 day or 90 day home fitness program can be very tough. My thought for today is that you need to consistently and routinely reward yourself for your commitment. So how do you reward yourself for exercising and/or eating healthy on a regular basis?

Here are five rewards I often give myself.  I hope you can use some of these ideas to motivate yourself.

#1: Have a dessert day. I try to eat well and exercise all week long. The reward I give myself for completing my workouts during the week and for eating well all week is Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. I complete my workout Friday, and then I go grocery shopping. I always pick up one small carton of Ben & Jerry’s, and I eat half of it every Friday night. It’s my little reward and guilty pleasure for working hard. One dessert night will net set you back, and in fact you are more likely to continue eating healthy if you let yourself splurge occasionally. 

#2: Buy a new outfit. At the end of every month, if I have completed my fitness goals all month, I buy a new shirt and new pants, shorts, or jeans. The best part of a shopping trip once a month after working out is that you feel great trying on the new clothes. You start to see and feel the results, and a nice new outfit makes for a perfect reward for your effort to get fit.

#3: Plan a vacation. I can’t afford a trip every month, but every few months, I try to plan a weekend getaway or bigger trip. You will find that as you develop a regular fitness routine that you will be excited to go to a pool or lay out on the beach. Reward yourself with at the very least a weekend getaway every 3 months. This is the perfect reward after completing a 90 day home fitness program like P90X. Additionally, planning a vacation can help motivate you to continue to exercise, as I wrote about here.

#4: Buy a new music album. At least once a month, I spice up my iPod with new music to which I exercise. If I’m working out all month long, I enjoy a little reward of new music, and I justify the small purchase by knowing I will use the new music to get energized for my future workouts.

#5: Splurge at the cinema. I love going to see movies, but if I try to watch what I eat of course. At least once a month, I splurge at the cinema with the biggest, most buttery popcorn I can buy. Popcorn has also been a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s not something I recommend doing every week, but splurging once a month is a great reward for your discipline. Better still: mark your calendar with the weekend that month that you get to splurge at the movies. Making it the last weekend of the month will help motivate your stick to your fitness routine all month long.

So how do you reward yourself? Let us know in the comments, and share these suggestions with others. Perhaps we will learn more creative and encouraging ways to stay committed.

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