One of the reasons people find weight loss challenging is because it doesn’t happen overnight. Most people like instant gratification. It’s normal to want immediate results and reward. The problem is that permanent weight loss takes patience and persistence. To tap into your natural inclination for instant reward, motivate yourself by connecting your progress to rewards. Here are a several ways you can keep yourself committed to exercise.
Pay yourself to stay motivated.
Money may not be everything, but it can be a motivator for some. Give yourself a dollar for every day you work out. Collect it in a jar, envelope or regularly deposit it in a special account, but only use that account for fun, personal rewards. I know someone who gives herself a dollar for every mile she runs and she uses her earnings for fun, frivolous purchases. If you want to be super focused, only use your exercise funds for exercise rewards: buy new fitness gear or gadgets, download some workout music, a healthy cookbook, or use it toward running a 5K or participating in an outdoor adventure.
Treat yourself when you hit milestones.
Most likely you have a few goals you want to meet. Maybe it’s a certain number of pounds you want to lose every two weeks, or a distance you want to run. It could be a dress size you want to be or old jeans you want to wear again. Use those milestone goals and connect them to rewards. Slip right into those pants that were once tight? Buy a new outfit. Lose a milestone of five pounds? Book a massage. Turn those favorite things you love into rewards that give you motivation and incentive to get out of your bed and into your workout.
Treat your feet.
Pampering yourself doesn’t have to be a day at the spa, although it could be. (hmm, now I thinkingJ) Be kind to your feet because of all they do for you —walk, run, hike, and bike—with a relaxing pedicure. You’ll leave with sparkling toes in your favorite seasonal color, smoother skin, and feeling more relaxed. Make your toes look cute and get a great foot massage at the same time. (I’m still trying to find a good foot reflexologist since so much of what happens in our bodies, starts in our feet. We have 52 of the 206 bones in our body in our feet!) If you stick to your workouts, get that pedicure once a month. It’s a reward and another way to treat your body well.
Schedule a photo shoot.
I can’t tell you how many women tell me they avoid photos like the plague and they feel bad their kids will have no documentation of them (their moms) while they were growing up. Well, your photos can be casual or professional, or with the family, but a photo shoot can make you feel like a million dollars if you have made improvements in your body and now you get to show them off. It’s tangible proof of how far you have come! Photos can track your progress, accomplishments and final results. (Think of those before and after weight loss photos!) Use upcoming holiday photos as your inspiration to stay committed to your workouts. Imagine how good you will feel to send out holiday cards with a whole new you on display!
Sign up for a competitive event.
After you have reached milestones, hit goals, lost weight and increased your endurance and strength, reward yourself by seeing firsthand how fit you have become. Sign up for a bike ride, a 5K or other competitive event and show off your fitness for yourself and others. Being in a group setting with like-minded fitness enthusiasts is inspiring and energetic. It’s friendly competition against others and competition against yourself to see how your fitness level has improved.
There is no way exercise will be drudgery for you if you connect doing it with the rewards you love. You will get all the many benefits of exercise and all the rewards of your own creation. Try it and see if it works for you!