Motivation Strategies

Remember to Reward Yourself

How to Pat Yourself on the Back

1KSHARES
Everyone likes a pat on the back every once in a while. And there’s no better time to get one than when you’re out of your comfort zone, challenging yourself to improve, nervous about whether you can succeed.

Most people approach changing their health habits from a position of "pain". They constantly nag themselves, berate themselves and expect nothing but perfection, no matter how much progress is made. Tools of the trade are guilt, doubt, shame and self-flogging. Instead of celebrating the 24 pounds they’ve lost, they see the six they still haven’t lost. Sound familiar? To people used to beating themselves up, it may seem like the best way to get motivated. But consider this: if you attempted to motivate an employee like that, how long do you think they’d stick around? How successful would they be?

Let’s do it differently this time. Try to approach your goals from a position of "possibilities" instead. Find ways to use regular rewards to pat yourself on the back and give a word of encouragement. Instead of focusing on what you do wrong, try paying more attention to what you do right. While straight talk and brutal honesty are often good for getting your butt moving, for sustained motivation, the positive approach will keep you from burning out.

Rewards create a feeling of doing something you want to do, not just what you’re forcing yourself to do. Even the smallest of rewards can work wonders as you travel from milestone to milestone, pound to pound, and mile to mile.
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1KSHARES

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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 guess I really need to brush up on this subject especially since I have Crohnes Disease. That way I might feel better more of the time. - 6/25/2014 4:18:38 PM
  • I do reward myself with food sometimes ! Before I lost weight I would think of treats as a staple not a reward and would mindlessly eat cookies or candy bars. Now I do think of them not as their own food group but as a treat ! I like the one about the mystery bag too. Buy little things and put them in a bag for later to grab one out ! If your anything like me you will forget whats in the bag ! - 10/8/2013 8:58:32 AM
  • Great, great article, Mike! It's just what I needed today! I've set rewards for major goals but never thought about rewards for things like consistencies or small achievements. Achievements are achievements! I've learned on SparkCoach how important the WooHoos are to me because I go through and get all three WooHoos every day at the end of the program! I never knew I loved those "atta-girls" so much! Thanks, Mike! - 5/21/2013 5:20:02 PM
  • Mike, you write the best articles on Spark People! Thanks for the great ideas. :-)
    Jan - 5/17/2013 11:06:43 PM
  • I just set up my own rewards system! :) Yey! - 3/20/2013 11:22:57 AM
  • This article is just what I needed! Thanks! - 2/19/2013 4:46:24 AM
  • This article has helped me with the idea of rewards. Thanks Mike. I think I will reward myself with a trip to the bookstore to spend a half hour reading and browsing. Finding the half hour will be difficult but it is a very meaningful reward for me. I will start with a reward for consistency. Can't wait to see how it works out. - 10/18/2012 6:36:52 PM
  • I reward myself with a new song for my work out playlist every time I work out. - 9/21/2012 12:44:08 AM
  • PS - and when that DOESN'T happen, as it hasn't for a while now, feeling strong and healthy is a reward too. Being able to run for the bus without passing out, carrying the 40lb bag of dog food past the check-out clerk who is half my age, saying "no" to a treat because I really don't want it, those are all great rewards for me. - 9/13/2012 8:43:07 AM
  • Just seeing the numbers on the scale get smaller is reward enough for me :) - 9/13/2012 8:39:24 AM
  • Can't believe this one is not on the list -
    Post an updated picture of yourself and hear the comments from fellow Sparkers!

    And I DO use food as a reward. I eat at the low end of my range and "save" calories for emergency invites for the week. If I have these left over, I either feel happy enough making fast progress OR I will use these for my own special treats. Once it was going out for a few pieces of sushi, another time a special coffee that I haven't had forever....I think it not only rewards, but also makes all these foods possible just not as often. - 9/8/2012 5:39:05 AM
  • WACKKA
    Ditto on that. I still don't know how to redeem the 500 spark goodie points. And what happened to the previous spark goodie points I won several times? HELP!!! - 8/19/2012 11:21:20 AM
  • hello, i am new here.
    I don't really understand this goodie thing.
    does it mean if I have 500 points & i purchase a treadmill, will a treadmill be delivered to my house, or is it just "pretend" purchasing? - 8/19/2012 5:25:43 AM
  • I love the list of reward ideas! Thanks!
    - 7/28/2011 10:11:26 AM
  • thanks, it was a really helpfull article. I was little demotivated, it waken me up and I m there again to get my goal. - 7/28/2011 2:24:12 AM

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