Motivation Articles

Vacations: The Perfect Reward?

Planning a Quick Trip Can Hold the Answers

284SHARES

You’ve tried every reward you can think of to keep yourself motivated. You’ve coaxed yourself with new clothes, rewarded yourself with nights out or days off, even promised yourself a new CD if you would (please, please, please) just get up this once, lace on those shoes and go jogging this morning in the rain.

Hopefully, the rewards are working. They can be great complements to motivation that you’ll find in supportive groups, inspiring stories or future goals. But the rewards can get even better.

Here is the reward that could put your program over the top. In fact, it may possibly be the perfect reward: the VACATION.

Road trips, weekend getaways, junkets to Vegas, beach weeks, island excursions, bike tours – whatever you call them, whatever you do, vacations hold major attraction that can be used as motivation that lasts for months.

Many rewards are gone almost as soon as you get them. Trips leave something behind to remember – souvenirs, memories and pictures. Plus, the anticipation of a trip can keep you focused on your goals through even the toughest times. Imagine how consistent you’d stay if you were able to look forward to playing volleyball on the beach, sailing on a lake, hiking to a waterfall, shopping on a Miracle Mile, or just spending time alone with your spouse or significant other.

Why are vacations so motivating? Besides our obvious need to "get away from it all" or to discover new places, vacations have a number of built-in motivators that make them the crown jewels of rewards:


Awesome Visuals – Visual motivators are the most effective type of motivators around. And pictures of vacation spots are usually some of the most beautiful and enticing you’d ever hope to see. Find a favorite picture of a favorite place and plan to go.

Fixed Deadline – Deadlines turn wishes into goals. If you have a departure date, you know exactly when your goals need to be met.

Anticipation – Rewards should be something you look forward to and drive you to act. We’ve all looked forward to vacations for months before they happen. What else holds that kind of power?

Social Rewards – A vacation is the perfect time to reconnect with friends and family. Or you can spend the whole time meeting new people and being a social butterfly. It’s up to you!

Memories – Not only will you remember the vacation, but you’ll also fondly remember what made the vacation possible (reaching your goals). This type of positive reinforcement will help you motivate yourself for the next round of goals.
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About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

Member Comments

  • I am going on a three-day vacation next month. Keeping my goaks at a normal track. - 5/16/2013 7:38:51 AM
  • RACHEL094
    Heading down to Miami and The Keys in March and hoping to be 15 pounds less by then. Looking great is just a bonus to losing weight...I want to be able to walk all over with my kids and not feel tired! I don't want to dread the holiday pictures coming back only to see me hiding behind somebody in the pic...I hope to be front and center!!!!! - 1/10/2013 10:15:14 AM
  • Hmmm... makes sense. I will reward myself with a weekend away if I keep my nutrition and fitness goals for the next 2 weeks. - 7/13/2012 3:24:22 PM
  • Vacations are HUGELY motivating for me! Here's how I am working it out as a reward: I have set up an online savings account that is only for travel savings. I get to transfer $25 to it each Saturday if I have met these conditions during the previous week:

    1. stay within calorie range at least 6 days
    2. exercise at least 150 minutes
    3. avoid sweets at least 6 days

    I'm staying honest with myself--there have been one or two weeks when I didn't abide by the eating standards, so no $$ was transferred those weeks.

    Saving $25 per week is a stretch for me, so I'm having to be frugal with things like clothes & eating out. I value frugality, so it works for me!

    There's the short-term reward of seeing the savings grow & anticipating the trip--& each trip will be a long-term reward! I'm hoping to take an international trip every year or so. I'll be staying with friends or relatives in most cases, so $1,000 will be a reasonable budget for many of these trips.

    Meanwhile, I'm losing weight & fitting into my clothes better, which is super-rewarding in itself of course! Win-win. :-) - 7/13/2012 1:38:40 PM
  • I'm planning on a vacation as my ultimate reward for reaching my goal weight! Europe, here I come. I won't start planning it until I actually get there though. :) - 7/13/2012 8:29:25 AM
  • good - 2/13/2012 3:55:41 PM
  • Maybe it's the teachery side of me, but I think with a reward there should be the real possibility of not getting it unless or rather until you've actually reached your goal. Is anyone going to cancel a holiday that's been booked and paid for or pay more for it to be rescheduled just because they haven't reached their goal? I doubt it. And if you reward yourself without haying earned it, what kind of message does that send? I agree with CAMILLAPARIS that a holiday can be a great motivator, but a reward? For rewards you should choose something without a fixed date, something you can do spontaneously if and when you reach your goal. - 12/18/2011 3:17:41 AM
  • I think it is a great motivator vacations even a daycation or a staycation can be fun and your goal doesn't have to be to reach a certain weight. Your goal could be anything you want to achieve.
    it is important to recognise the goals that have been met and celebrate all the little victories. - 6/17/2011 3:38:14 PM
  • I dislike this article and the line of thinking. I think it should have cautioned against putting your life on hold until you reach a mythical weight goal and unhealthy pressure to look great on a deadline. Motivator and Reward are not interchangeable words. Getting in shape for vacation is a great motivator, but life is too short to make yourself "earn" your adventures. Additionally, being a healthy balanced person is learning to roll with the punches. Sometimes you will fail, sometimes your body won't cooperate with your efforts. Why tie all that negativity to your fun time? - 6/7/2011 3:09:44 AM
  • I agree, nothing like a vacation to a beautiful place to get you going - 4/19/2011 1:27:17 PM
  • AVERYSILLYGIRL
    Vacations--even short ones--can be expensive. One thing I'm trying is to be a tourist of my own town. Whatever your town has to offer can be fun and a way to get some time to yourself: museums, historical sites, flea markets. Take a stroll through a different neighborhood. Find a new (safe!) path around the lake.

    I know, I know...this may not compare to Vegas or Paris or Sydney. But, in the absence of the option to travel, there might be good things right around your corner. - 3/22/2011 2:32:16 PM
  • I agree with Mike and took a short inexpensive vacation this year. We exercised a lot in the process. We came back refreshed and invigorated. - 9/2/2010 5:53:18 PM
  • I might just have to work on saving some money for a vacation . My sil lives in CO (we are in PA) and I have only been out there once for her wedding, which was a whirlwind since we weren't even planning on going out in the first place (I had a 5 month old baby, a 2 year old and an almost 5 year old). We decided like 3 days before the wedding to drive out with dh's grandparents. It was a great trip, but I wish we would have had more time to site see.

    Dh would love to fly out again and plan to again soon. Maybe this would be a great motivator for me to save money and lose all my weight. - 8/27/2010 7:07:03 AM
  • ALICOTTER
    You forgot the wonderful frustration of being charged 33% to 75% more because you are a single person. - 7/28/2010 11:25:31 AM
  • This is exactly what I've used as rewards and as my motivation on my journey to be healthier. I made a commitment to taking 12 trips this year, and being thinner on each of them! - 6/30/2010 4:35:30 PM

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