You get rewarded for accomplishing tasks and sometimes those rewards may seem small, but they’re extremely motivating. If you play computer games, it’s achieving a higher level or score. Casinos use the reward motivation by providing jackpots and smaller wins. When you were in school, you were rewarded with a good grade when you worked hard. Getting that brass ring is something to work toward, but unfortunately, when you workout, you don’t get an immediate reward, since fitness takes time. That’s why you should reward yourself after a tough workout.
Be careful about what you use as a reward.
If you’re trying to live healthier or lose weight, definitely don’t use food as your reward, especially junk food or sugary treats. Instead, do something special for yourself. Buy some expensive shampoo that you’ve always wanted but didn’t want to splurge to buy. Use it to wash your hair only after you’ve worked out and given it your all. If you end your day with a workout, buy some clothing that’s super comfortable to wear after you’ve finished—but don’t wear them any other time!
Make the reward part of the workout.
If you want to visit a farmer’s market to buy healthy foods, but hate to take the time, make it your reward and go directly from the gym to the market. It doesn’t have to be a farmer’s market, it can be anything from taking the time to walk in the park or even going to the zoo. If you own a bike and it’s a day for aerobics, try riding your bike there. If you don’t own a bike and it’s close enough, make your workout a walk to your favorite place. I know people who don’t like to run unless they have a destination. Reaching that destination is their reward.
Get a workout partner and set your goals together.
Whether you use a friend, family member or spouse as your workout partner, you can both benefit from a reward system. Decide together what the reward will be and then go for it. It can be something as simple as catching a movie afterward or a first class dinner at a health food restaurant. (I know I just wrote don’t use food, but healthy food and a dinner out is a bit different.)
- Give yourself points for every workout. If you worked extra hard, double the points. When you’ve reached a specific amount, get yourself something special for achieving that goal.
- Pay yourself for working out hard. You set the price of an average workout and a tough one. When you complete your workout, put money in a jar. Have something special in mind to spend the money on and when you get enough, splurge! You’ll be amazed at how a dollar or two a workout will add up.
- Give yourself a break. Set aside a certain amount of time just for you. You can bank the time, like you do money until you have an entire hour or two to pamper yourself with nothingness.
- Use social media as a reward. Get out your paper and pencil and start logging your great workouts. When you’ve completed ten or twenty in a row, announce it on social media and wait for the praise.