10 Rules of Motivational Rewards

Rewards can help keep you motivated to exercise. However there are 10 rules to think about when choosing how you will reward yourself for reaching your fitness goals – which we know you will!

  1. Choose something you really want and won’t need until you reach your goal. Not a good idea to reward yourself with new running shoes when you reach X weight but you’ll need them to run the race regardless.
  2. Don’t use food, candy, or other treat. This reinforces the specialness of the unhealthy food or eating behavior.
  3. Pick something that will keep you exercising after you’ve reached your goal. A new workout outfit, shoes, a new piece of equipment, or a new class.
  4. Pamper yourself – you’ve earned it!
  5. Enlist your workout buddy in a dual reward – take a trip together, try a new class, etc. Make both of your success part of the reward but only if both of you are really motivated to get the reward
  6. Choose a realistic reward and goal. An outfit or swimsuit size and style you wore 10 years ago may not be realistic anymore. Make sure your goal fits who you are now.
  7. Set smaller goals and smaller rewards for milestones along the way. For example if you goal is to lose 50lbs which should take about 25 weeks or 6 months. This may be too far in the future to be motivating. However setting a weekly workout goal and weekly reward for making it can keep you moving forward. Add in a monthly goal, too.
  8. Make sure to give yourself the reward. I am famous for this – I’ll say I’m going to get a new outfit from the money I’m saving by not drinking a cola a day however I forget to put the money aside each day/week and when the time comes for the reward I have no money in my outfit jar. Make sure to follow through with yourself!
  9. Record your feelings in your journal. Many are motivated by intrinsic things (the way they feel inside) rather than extrinsic (things outside of themselves). If you find prizes don’t do it for you recording how well you felt after a workout, better sleeping patterns, or less stress may be just what you need to see your progress and claim your reward.
  10. Don’t cheat and on the other hand don’t be too harsh on yourself. I know this sounds contradictory however the former will derail you again and again because by cheating you are telling yourself you aren’t serious about your goal and the latter derails you by creating inflexible parameters which don’t take into account all the positive changes you’ve made and circumstances that might be out of your control, like a life change or illness you didn’t see coming.

How to Get Motivated to Exercise

So many of us have great intentions to exercise but don’t do it! We are going to be exploring how to get motivated to exercise! Now that we are past the 4th and the indulgences of the holiday let’s get down to business. Exercising in the lazy days of summer is hard! Many of us want to exercise but we want to lounge in the water or sun more. So the question becomes how to get motivated to exercise.

1st – Revisit your fitness goals – Why do you want to exercise in the first place? What do you want to be different about your life?

2nd – Look at your current schedule – Schedules change with the seasons but many fail to realize that of their own. What has changed on your to-do list, time demands, and attention needs. Adjust your workouts around these new demands. It is also a good idea to begin planning for fall when your schedule is likely to change again. Don’t spend too much time on fall – just begin to consider how you might need to re-adjust.

3rd – Adjust any exercises needed – do you love to run outside but the heat prevents a good workout? Or are you a pool swimmer but can’t seem to bring yourself to stay inside on a wonderful sunny day? Find alternatives – you can come back to your favorites when the season changes.
Check on your diet – Summer is a classic time to indulge. Where can you focus your healthy eating behaviors and work on your unhealthy ones? This is not a time to beat yourself up – instead practice the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time aim for good eating behaviors.

Motivation is a combination of things and changes depending on your needs. Be considerate to yourself as you re-evaluate and re-motivate your exercise. Fitness progress is not measured in one-time shots – it is measured over time – the battle is consistency. Take comfort knowing as long as you are still exercising (even if it looks different than 6-months ago) you are still moving toward your goals.