We all know, or we at least all know that we’re supposed to know, that health is its own reward. And yes, there’s (almost) no better feeling in the world than that post-workout adrenaline rush, or the feeling of being sore in a good way the next day. It’s confirmation that you worked hard, that you did something good for yourself, that you are making breakthroughs. Add those feelings up over a period of time and you get that glorious, energetic, my-body-is-a-well-tuned-machine feeling. Lethargy be gone! Fat days a distant memory!
Yep, those feelings are INCREDIBLE. I adore especially the more general, long-term sense of well-being that you earn by consistently working out over a period of time. However, that’s also the hardest one to accomplish, and it’s not tangible or immediate enough to motivate me on a day-to-day basis. What is tangible enough is a simple rewards system, designed and administered by yours truly. Getting sweaty just tastes so much better when there’s something concrete waiting at the end. It could be a latte, some me-time, or a new yoga mat–the item itself doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s external to the workout itself.
The rewards that have most helped me meet my fitness goals really have more to do with the way they’re earned, rather than the items themselves. In my experience, an escalating rewards structure, in which weekly goals earn a small reward, and accumulated, consistent weekly success vets a bigger reward, are the most motivating. So far, my schemes have earned me all sorts of delightful items, from a bottle of my favorite kombucha to new pair of yoga pants; from a downloaded episode of Mad Men to the lovely MacBook I’m typing on right now (the grand grand prize for many months’ worth of goal-meeting, and a sorely needed replacement for a dying laptop).
The prizes don’t have to be expensive, nor the payout system complicated. I often incorporate items in that I know I’m going to need to buy anyway (such as my MacBook), so it doesn’t turn into a huge cash outlay. Also, once I get into the routine of meeting weekly goals, the act of meeting the goals becomes enough in itself. Consider the rewards just a jumpstart on your fitness dead battery. After all, health is its own reward. But why limit yourself to just that?