Wednesday, July 8, 2015

That's The Point...

I'm not using this chart...but I really should...because it is AWESOME!!!
I know we've all heard before how much rewarding ourselves can really pay off towards helping us achieve our fitness and health goals, right? I just did a Google search for "rewards for working out" and got back a bajillion results.

Don't believe me about it being a bajillion? That's just a small snip of the results!

But for all the talk about how good rewards can be, I've never gotten it. I've set up plenty of rewards over the years. If I skip the candy jar this month I can get a new nail polish. If I don't stop at See's all month I can get some new socks. I've even participated in challenges that have a money pay-out from a group putting funds into the pot...but you know what? I never actually GIVE myself the reward even if I earn it!?!? How silly is that? But at the end of the period I just kind of say "eh, I don't really need to spend money on that thing". So I don't. And then over time, the rewards just don't mean anything because it's just a bargain I'm making with myself. Until now...Let me explain.

I've been in a slump, ya'll know this as I've talked about it several times. I haven't been putting in my training and I've given myself way too many excuses to cut short or go slow or skip entirely. And it was really starting to get me down. I started talking to my hubby about feeling like I needed someone to really push me. He says "like a trainer? aren't those expensive??" And of course they are...they can be quite we talked about the reasons that I felt like I was struggling. And then together we came up with a plan, and I was willing to give rewards one more try to see if it would actually work to keep me motivated this time. With him being my accountability, I would have to earn points for incremental rewards. Here's what we came up with.

Doing a full workout at prescribed paces - 3 points
Doing a full workout but not at prescribed paces - 2 points
Doing a partial workout (not full time/miles or paces) - 1 point
Cross-training of any kind - 1 point

I have to earn a minimum of 10 points each week to get my reward so it gives me a little bit of wiggle room; but not much (as I learned recently...more on this in a moment). I have regular reward intervals set up, the first two are two weeks apart, and then after that it goes to three weeks in between. And my reward goes up in increments. So the first one was $10, the second one will be $15, the third is $20 and so on. Then the final reward if I earn 160 points total (over the 16-weeks of my program) I get $100 for a new Skirt Sports outfit. (YAHOOOOOOO - and the Fall 2015 line will be out so I can get all the pretty new designs!!!)

So is it working?? YES!! Let me tell you a quick story. The week of June 22-28 was the final week in my first two-week reward period. And it ended up being a crazy week...I skipped my Wednesday workout because I was sick with the plague (okay, it wasn't actually the plague, but it sure did feel like it!). And then on Friday I was still sick and needed to go to my Mom's to help her pack for her move to Utah so I didn't work out that morning either. Thennnnn on Saturday when I should have done a run, I did a very easy walk with my Mom & Sis as it was Mom's last time joining us for a walk before she left on the plane later that morning and I wanted to spend the time chatting with her. So I had already missed 4 points that week and only had 8 points. That meant I needed to earn at least 2 more if I wanted my reward. My plan was to make it up on Sunday morning. But you know what they say about the best laid plans...

I woke up and was still just so sick...and I didn't run. In the morning light I was basically thinking "whatever, so what, so I lose 10 lousy bucks, who cares. i'm sick, i'm tired." And I told my husband pretty much that same thing to which he basically responded along the lines of "sweet - 10 bucks I don't have to pay out!! too bad you won't get your reward, honey...that's a real bummer". Just imagine that last bit said dripping in sarcasm. So I sat there and thought about it all day and I just couldn't let him have the satisfaction of me not earning my reward!!! (And just so you don't think that my hubby is a total jerk, he knew that saying those things would get under my skin and that I would refuse to let it by being all oh bummer about it, he totally nailed exactly what I needed to get it done. That tricky little stinker!!! He knows me so well...) So at about 7:00 PM in the middle of cooking dinner I strapped on my shoes and hopped on the treadmill. I had to do 4 miles at an easy pace, and I had to stop to stir the food every once in awhile, and I took a longer break to actually eat dinner. But I actually finished that 4 miles (not always at an easy pace though as I walked the last mile pretty much after eating dinner, so I only collected the 2 points) and I collected my definitely not lousy 10 bucks!!! And the satisfaction I felt at earning that money cannot be beat!!!! Yeah, it's $10 and I could pretty much spend that anytime I want without it being a "reward"...but it was so much more than that. It was that it had momentarily slipped out of my fingers but I ended up saying no-way-unh-uh I am not going to LOSE it when it is that close!

So, yes, it is totally working!! Last week I actually earned 13 points and didn't even need to do my Saturday run, but I did it anyways just because I wanted to and could and I didn't want my stupid lazy brain to let me off the hook.

I finish my second reward period this weekend and am well on track to earning my points...but I won't get too cocky just yet because we've seen how those best laid plans can go. *wink*

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