Intellectually, I am a competitive person. All my life I've strived to be the smartest in class, have the highest grade on tests, most prepared, best project, neatest binder, etc.
I am soooo internally motivated toward intellectual perfection, altho I am no where near it in reality.
I would bust my proverbial butt (and still do workwise) to get that gold star!
However, physically, I am NOT competitive AT ALL!!!
Reward systems designed to incent me to exercise, lose weight, participate in a sport, go to the gym, etc. don't do anything to get me to do those things!!!
This is sooooo opposite of my dh and dd's - they are all life long physical activity lovers and college level athletes. One will make a remark about being better than the other in some physical activity and BOOM! We have a full-fledged competition right on the spot to see who will win!
Their attempts to get me in on this action have been like cooking spray on teflon. The more they use, the more their comments slide in one ear and out the other.
I've tried setting up reward schedules like others have posted about: lose 5 lbs, get this, lose 10 lbs, get that. Only added to my stress level.
So I've taken a different approach....
Instead of withholding rewards until I accomplish some physical task/goal/feat, I'm being nice to myself every day. I call it giving myself a 'Gold Nugget'.
The size of the nugget depends on how I feel. The more cheering up I need, the bigger the nugget.
Example: Tuesday I was really down cuz my middle dd went back to college and my oldest dd was going back to college the next day. After having them back in the fold for a month, I was feeling emotional and lonely already!!
So I took myself and dd and got a pedicure. AHHHHHHH!!!!!
Today I also took it easy on myself during the day (instead of rushing around the house like a mad-woman cleaning up, doing laundry, doing errands, etc.) I made sure to take snack/lunch breaks and drink, drink, drink. I took a short break to read my novel.
By late afternoon, I was in a good enough frame of mind to get out and take a walk by myself!
I don't do much of ANYTHING by myself, so this is NEW behavior!
So I am using rewards as a PUSH strategy instead of a carrot PULL strategy. Instead of me chasing endlessly after those unattainable carrot rewards and feeling like a constant failure, I'm being my own fairy godmother
giving myself nice things/experiences. They encourage me to take baby-steps and do what I can to improve every day.
Even at 53 I can learn some new tricks!!