Do you reward yourself?

December 7, 2007

Do you reward yourself for staying to your plan?

It’s more common to reward yourself when you lose a pound, but I don’t believe in that. I’ve spent too many weeks slogging it out, exercising like crazy and dieting myself silly and the scale didn’t budge to believe in that. I think we need to focus on our behavior, what WE actually DO each week. I can remember cheating in a given week and still losing, and others where I was the perfect dieter and the scale didn’t budge — or worse, went up. Clearly, I am not a fan of measuring my progress on a daily or weekly basis by the scale.

But I do think taking time to pat ourselves on the back is important. It’s pretty easy to pass up. For me the question is where do you find the time? For some – the money? For me, we’re not rich by any means, but buying myself a small present won’t break the bank. Even when I didn’t have as much, it was pretty easy to add up how much I’d have spent on junky food and put that money towards a small gift.

The idea being to take the time to say to yourself “Hey, I did something good here”. We’re our own harshest judges and worst critics, and the internal voice is often pointing out the small flaws and not the bigger success. Sometimes you have to force that positive reinforcement. And while we may get compliments, and if we’re lucky a present from a friend or family member, the reality is we need to get our OWN inner voices clapping and jumping up and down with pride at our accomplishments. It’s that little voice that’s often saying the critical stuff – we need that same voice to pay us a compliment once in a while.

I have not been rewarding myself recently. Years ago I had about a 15$ range, and usually bought a CD (that I would then listen to at the gym). I was pretty religious about getting a treat (not food) every week, although sometimes I put 2 weeks in one if I wanted something that was $30. Nowadays I listen to stuff on my Ipod and between me & my DH we have tons and tons of music so that’s not really the right approach. I’m also not sure I really need something every week now, the way I did before (when I was doing really hard-core dieting & exercise).

But I think periodic gifts to myself are a good idea – a pat-myself-on-the-back thing. Stuff I want, but don’t really need. If I really need it, the truth is I’d buy it anyway, and so it doesn’t have the same pyscological impact.

I had my first idea for what one of these things could be recently. I drink a lot of tea during the day when I’m home. I make a big pot & take it into the office but it gets cold pretty fast and it’s less good cold. What would help would be an insulated pitcher. I started looking a few days ago and finally found one this week, and bought it for myself.

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Now when I drink hot tea hours after I made it, I’ll be able to remember I earned that after coming back on track for a month.

Do you reward yourself? With what? How often?

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