“Just be good and you’ll get a cookie.” “After this, we’re getting lunch!” “If I get through this project, I need a drink.” All our lives have been dotted with food-related incentives for completing tasks and goals. Though rewarding with a sweet treat can seem like a benign motivation, this habit can be detrimental to your ultimate health goals. Using food as a prize reinforces the relationship in your mind of food and happiness. While a healthy and balanced lifestyle involves occasionally eating empty calories, using nutritionally-void food as a motivator is dangerous. Junk food as positive reinforcement for your fitness goal can precipitate a negative relationship with food.
In order to meet and maintain your health goals, you must rearrange your association with food and positivity to be an association between wellness and positivity.
How to Set Goals:
The journey to a healthy lifestyle is infinite. Every day, we can strive to take care of our bodies, to nurture them with food and invigorate them with exercise. Especially if you are structuring your wellness goals with weight-loss in mind, the road ahead may seem daunting. Setting inefficient and intangible goals can deter you from achieving them. Vague goals are just dreams. Goals require an actionable path, so make sure you are articulating what you are aiming to achieve. In order to be actionable, goals have to be realistic. Creating dramatic, lofty aims that in practice, aren’t going to be maintained, is not productive. A great metric for determining if you are setting motivating goals is the SMART test. SMART is a mnemonic device that breaks down the important aspects of a goal-writing:
Specific – What exactly are you trying to achieve?
Measurable – How will you be able to determine your success in achieving this?
Actionable – In what ways can you achieve this goal?
Realistic – Is this goal something you have the resources to achieve?
Timely – When are you going to achieve this goal?
If your goals meet the SMART criteria, you are on the right track. Everything humans do is to fulfill either an intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. Though you may be intrinsically motivated to meet your wellness goals and live a healthy, enriching life, an intrinsic motivation can sweeten the pot. Enter, rewards. In this article, we will give you tangible and customizable ideas that you can use to incentivize yourself.
Fitness Goal Reward Ideas That Aren’t Junk Food
Treat Yourself To a Day at the Spa
Working out and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be tiring. It makes sense to counteract all the emotional and physical energy you spend on your wellness with a relaxing activity. After going to the gym consistently, you’re going to build up tension in your muscles. The perfect relief is a massage. Release the tension with a pampering rub. At Advanced Spine and Sports Care, we offer our patients a variety of physical therapy rehabilitation methods, including massage treatments.
Buy New Workout Gear
If you’re going to get serious about your fitness goals, you’re going to need the proper equipment. Treat yourself to that Lululemon pair of running shorts after you complete your race you’ve been training all summer for. Spring for the pricey, but stylish yoga mat. Buying yourself accessories for your workout of choice will encourage you to maintain your fitness goals.
Or Just New Clothes In General
If your fitness journey is resulting in significant weight loss, chances are your old clothes are starting to feel a little loose. Celebrate your healthy body and treat yourself to some new threads! Wearing something you love and showing off your dedication to your fitness goals will help foster confidence.
Treat Yo Self
Marry your fitness and financial goals by leveraging your health milestones to justify purchases. Been eyeing a new pair of shoes that you just have no reason to buy? Use your wish list as a carrot to motivate your health goals. The key is to set tangible expectations so you can definitively landmark your achievements. General goals like “I want to get more flexible” are hard to convert into actionable motivations. Try instead something like, “I want to be able to do the splits.” The key to any successful goal is the measurability of it, so you can analyze your success in achievement.
Equip Yourself with Tools for a Healthy Lifestyle
You put in quality time at the gym and picking nutritional meals, it’s time to put the same effort into your time off. If you are meeting your fitness and health goals, reward yourself in a way that lets you experience the fruits of your labor. Certain rewards for yourself can actually accelerate you toward your goals. If your wellness goals are more nutritionally-based, consider purchasing something that can elevate your kitchen skills. Kitchen tools, cooking classes, or a new cookbook can be the extra push you need to fall in love with your new healthy diet. If you’re more focused on the physical exercise component of your wellness, reward yourself with a fun physical activity! Working out does not have to mean a monotonous weight-lifting routine or cranking out miles on the treadmill. Spice up your routine with a spin class you’ve been meaning to try or a day trip to go hiking!
Give Yourself a Break
Reward your hard work with a day off. Think of your most dreaded chore; laundry, window cleaning, washing your car, and hire a service to take care of it for you.
When making dramatic lifestyle changes, goals are essential to milestone your progress and rewards to motivate your commitment to your goals.
Your relationship with food is a key component of your overall health. At the end of the day, feeding our bodies is about nourishment so we can live our best lives. Optimally, food is both wholesome and delicious, but the ritual of eating should be associated with fueling your body, rather than reward or entertainment. Diets tend to focus on the singular transaction of what you put into your body, rather than your approach to food overall. What we put into our bodies is extremely important, but the “why” is just as key.