Please consider this suggestion, no matter where you are in your weight/fitness goals. You set aside one or two pages in your journal. (You are keeping a journal, right? One where you write about your health goals, your workouts, how they feel, your diet, what you are learning about food and exercise?) On the top of one page, you write Rewards 1, and on the other, Rewards 2.
Under Rewards 1 list the things you’ve noticed you’ve earned through your hard work. My list includes fitting in the bathtub and airline seats, being able to cross my legs, my knuckles reappearing on my hands, beginning again to resemble the other members of my family, getting to the top of the stairs without little stars floating in front of my eyes. My blood pressure returning to normal. My blood sugar under control. Later, it was swimming a mile without stopping. And lately: nailing that Teaser position in Pilates.
Your rewards may be big or small but it’s important to write them down so you never forget what you’ve earned.
Rewards 2 are the presents you’ll give yourself for meeting your goals, whatever they are. I strongly encourage you to reward yourself. Looking forward to your gifts to yourself can really keep you going. Try to make the reward something other than food, please. My rewards include new shoes, a massage, a pedicure, a day off, a movie, new workout clothes. I gave myself presents for meeting all sorts of goals — like being able to cross my legs, and swimming a mile without stopping.
When I look back on my Rewards 1 list today, I can never imagine myself giving up my new habits. It’s probably the single greatest influence on my year-long-and-counting maintenance.
My latest Reward 2? In exchange for nailing another advanced Pilates exercise, I bought a beaded hip scarf for belly dancing class last night. Oh yeah..
When I’m low, or blue, and I’m just sick of having to work hard at staying healthy, I get out this list and remind myself that I didn’t fit in auditorium seating, and had to sit out the museums in Paris when I went there with my family. And these memories prod me to flush the bag of chips and get back in the pool.
Count your rewards, kids. You’ve earned them!