I use to work at a summer job with two girls who started a regular workout routine for themselves. They bought the new flashy sneakers and wore the layers of colorful tank tops. For the workout routine they would go for a long walk during their lunch break. And after every walk they would each return with a bag of chips to eat. These two girls were quite a bit overweight, and, sadly, I judged them for this way of viewing their health. I thought how pointless the whole routine was. Now, as I look back, I see that these co-workers of mine were on to something. When trying to build the more straightforward type of habit, like flossing or sticking to a running schedule, reward has been proven to be a crucial part to the process. My good friend reminded me of this lately when she ended a long run with a stop at the local gas station to buy a bag of Swedish Berries.
I like treats, as you may know if you’ve read my earlier posts. I know what treats I like and enjoy them on a weekly basis. What I haven’t realized yet is how to use these “treats” at the most opportune times. From now on I’ll be more deliberate about making a nice cup of tea after writing a blog post, for example. Tonight, I’ll be enjoying a delicious root beer float after completing my long run for the week (it’ll be dairy-free and low-sugar but a treat for me nonetheless!) 😉
As Tom and Donna would say…”Treat Yo Self!”
Do you apply the “reward” principle with your own habit-formation? What types of rewards are meaningful to you?