Everyone likes getting things, right? Especially for a job well done. As a therapist working with kids, it’s AMAZING the progress that they make for the promise of a piece of candy or a sticker. Those things are apparently like gold!
Rewards also give you something to look forward to and help keep you motivated. There’s nothing that helps me knowing that as soon as I hit a goal, I get something that I’ve been looking forward to.
I used to use food as a reward. Like, “oh, you went to the gym – it’s okay to get that burger and fries.” I highly recommend that you DO NOT do this! It’s definitely a slippery slope, especially if you have ever had an eating disorder. What ended up happening for me was that I would “treat” myself to the burger and fries, feel guilty about it, and then end up in a restrict/binge cycle.
Instead, reward yourself with things you like and that you’ll find useful, and also make you feel good. Like feeling pampered? Go get your nails done. Just PR in a race? Treat yourself to a massage (I’m sure those muscles are sore). Do you like to cook? Go grab a new cookbook.
How you sort out your rewards is completely up to you. Since my main goal is weight loss, I have my rewards set up every 10 lbs. However, you want your rewards to be in line with your goals (duh). Are you trying to shave a few minutes off your half marathon time? Are you hammering out the last few pages of your dissertation? Simply trying to make it through your first 5k? Set goals up to motivate yourself along the way. Start small and make them bigger as you go along. Let’s say you decide to take a cruise when you’ve successfully completed a dissertation. You don’t want to take that cruise when you’ve only done a few chapters!
To give you some context, here are the remaining things on my rewards list. I have 60 lbs left to get to my goal weight, so I have 6 rewards left. I didn’t include the other rewards that I treated myself with (but you can find a list here) so these obviously are a little larger than you’d want to start out with:
10 lbs lost: Massage!
20 lbs lost: Haircut (and color!)
30 lbs lost: Spa day. It’s been a while since I had one.
40 lbs lost: New tattoo (I’m obsessed!)
50 lbs lost: Designer handbag
60 lbs lost: Shopping spree! I’ll need to replace everything that doesn’t fit!
It’s also perfectly ok to shift rewards around – I did. I end up buying myself new clothes periodically anyway (because I truly need them…apparently you have to wear appropriate clothes to work, and yoga pants don’t count!) and a new phone case because mine bit the bucket. If you do that though, just make sure they are still appropriate to your goal!
Make sure you have a fun way to track your progress, too. Some people keep track of their goals on their phones, some do theirs on paper, and others track in a more creative way. Point is – definitely track. You’ll need some sort of visual motivator to help keep you going. Pinterest has some cute ideas, especially the marbles in a jar!
Share with me: what do you reward yourself with?