Vacations: The Perfect Reward?

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.

More Fun – By reaching your goals, you’ll be in better shape for your vacation. You’ll be able to play more, do more fun things and last longer without crashing when the sun goes down.

Look Great – No need to say much else here except that it’s always more exciting to go places when you’re confident about how you look.

Cost Flexibility – Trips don’t have to cost a ton of money. Like any other reward, you can spend as little or as much as you like. As long as you’re giving yourself something to look forward to, the vacation reward is doing its job.