Yes, physical stamina and a killer body might seem like the best ways to reward yourself for those demanding daily workouts. But if you’re new to working out, getting those physical rewards might be a little ways away. To set yourself up for success and create a habit of working out, you should give yourself some immediate rewards. The key is to develop ways to make working out second nature, so it becomes something you are less likely to skip or give up on all together.
Here are a six ideas for creating a reward system that keeps your workout motivation high.
1. Reward yourself DURING the workout
A common fallacy about rewarding yourself for exercising is the rewards can only come post-workout, but this doesn’t have to be the case. How so? Instead of forcing yourself to endure a boring and tedious workout, reward yourself by doing something you love somewhere you love. For example, working out with friends in the great outdoors might be a way to bring joy to the workout. Also, begin the workout with a mindful stretches. This will help you be present while outdoors, or with friends, allowing any negative thoughts to fall by the wayside.
2. Pay yourself
Even though this may sound silly at first, know putting a dollar amount to your workouts is definitely one way to reward yourself for getting sweaty. Consider tossing a dollar (or five) into a jar after every workout. Once you’ve earned $100, treat yourself to some awesome new workout gear like running shoes or fashionable workout clothes. Not only will this make you look great and feel more confident — everytime you wear the new item, you’ll be reminded that you achieved your goal and can do it again!
3. Do nothing … Literally
How does an hour or two that’s yours and yours alone sound? Sweet, right?
Rest and relaxation can be an excellent way to reward yourself for your hard work. Set aside a certain amount of time to just watch television, read a book, or simply take a nap. Taking a nap two hours post-workout is a great trick to enhance your muscles’ recovery process.
4. Track your accomplishments
Sometimes all the incentive you need is to acknowledge your progress. Even reaching the smallest of milestones should be worthy of feeling proud. When you set a goal that’s out of reach, you might get discouraged you’re not seeing dramatic results within a few weeks. A good way to track your progress is to keep a journal to jot down notes after every workout. Record what exercises you completed and how each routine makes you feel physically and mentally.
6. Satisfy your sweet (or savory) tooth
Food doesn’t have to be the enemy of fitness. Of course reward yourself by fueling your body with delicious, healthy foods but also occasionally treat yourself to your favorite dessert. The key is to remember that fitness is, above all things, about discipline and accountability. In other words, should you be eating an entire sleeve of Oreos after every workout? Probably not, but you should absolutely treat yourself to one (or a few).
Creating rewards for working out is a powerful tool in creating internal motivation for working out. Rewards are individual and help you to transition to new challenges and routines. Choose the reward that is meaningful to you and integrate it into every workout for the best success in sticking to your powerful new habits!
Want more ideas? Check out Develop Good Habits – “155 Ways to reward yourself.”: https://www.developgoodhabits.com/reward-yourself/