Reward Yourself

by tinareale on January 8, 2013

How are those goals coming along for the new year? Good, I hope! Although…is that motivation and excitement you had on January 1st starting to wane? If so, don’t fret! That is completely normal! Perhaps you have found yourself following these emotions when approaching a new goal…


Anyone out there relate?

I have experienced this myself many times and see it time and time again in others. Making positive changes and maintaining the motivation to make those changes can be HARD. Really hard! A lot of times it comes with altering habits and lifestyles that can’t be overhauled as though just flipping a switch. It takes hard work, dedication, and CONSISTENCY.

The excitement over something new and the hopes and dreams for the outcome help motivate us at the beginning, but when those changes don’t come quickly we may find it harder and harder to keep that commitment and consistency going. Then, one step back into old habits leads to another and another, until we’re fighting to break those habits again.

I don’t believe that means we have to start from scratch (as we can always learn something and move forward), but I also think we can find ways to help prevent this cycle from happening. For me, I know that positive rewards along the way for small victories and successes can play a key role in keeping motivation levels high.

Figure out your main goal, then determine the steps to reach that goal. List out everything you can think of that can move towards your goal. Then use those to guide and mark your mini successes.And to keep motivation going it helps to reward those small victories along the way. Choose a healthy and positive motivator. Make it a reward. Establish what you have to do from your mini actions to EARN that reward.

Let’s say you have a goal of getting more sleep. You could establish going to bed earlier at night as a way to achieve that goal. You set a reward for hitting your bed time goal at least 5 nights out of the week for 2 weeks. Or you could have a goal to eat less processed food. You could set a goal to eat fresh fruit or vegetables with at least 3 meals/snacks out of the day. Then, you choose a reward for eating your servings of produce every day for that week. The REWARD keeps the motivation, so that scenario at the beginning of the post doesn’t have to happen. Here are a few of my personal favorite rewards ideas:

  • a manicure/pedicure
  • a massage
  • a new workout top/outfit
  • a new piece of fit gear you have had your eye on
  • a date with a friend
  • a half an hour to an hour for myself (I get Peter on board to reward me this way by taking the kids)
  • a date night with Peter
  • a special treat (I know rewarding with food isn’t recommended, but let’s be real – sometimes it can be motivating, especially if part of balance)
  • a new book
  • downloading new workout music
  • put a dollar aside for every workout or other mini goal to use on whatever you feel like!

There are tons of options! It’s all about establishing the main goal, determining the steps to that goal, and maintaining the motivation along the way. That will help you get to where you want to go.

Your Turn: What would you choose for a motivational reward?


1 Miz January 8, 2013 at 7:14 am

see now I wanna be silly and say OOOH OK IM IN FOR THE DATENIGHT WITH PETER!!
but I wont be because I really know the POWER of rewards for me.
theyre crucial.


2 lindsay January 8, 2013 at 7:20 am

thats me! and i usually reward myself with a pedicure or something that pampers me! keeps me focused.

3 [email protected] Palate January 8, 2013 at 7:28 am

I love having a something new to wear to the gym, nothing motivates me more! Though I wouldn’t pass up a manicure or massage!

4 Danielle @ itsaharleyyylife January 8, 2013 at 7:31 am

I love rewarding myself… I usually buy myself new workout clothing! that also motivates me! (:

5 Lauren January 8, 2013 at 8:01 am

I love this practical approach. I think too many people set big goals and then fall off slightly, and then give up completely. It’s so important to focus on your MAIN goal. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

6 Lee January 8, 2013 at 8:12 am

I love the mani/pedi idea. Or I usually will treat myself to some new clothes or something.

7 tinareale January 9, 2013 at 5:48 am

Or a dinner date with me! We need to do that again soon. How has it already been like a month?!

8 Haley @ The Saucy Apple January 8, 2013 at 8:23 am

I’m highly motivated by spa treatments. :) But when it comes to needing motivation BEFORE a workout, a new playlist always does the trick.

9 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries January 8, 2013 at 8:43 am

Great tips! Hmm, all of those rewards you listed are sounding mighty nice right now. ;) A massage or a pedicure will probably always be a favorite! Nothing beats a nice spa treatment every now and again.

10 misszippy January 8, 2013 at 9:05 am

Great suggestions, all of them. My reward this time through is a shiny PR that I am fired up to get!

11 Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian January 8, 2013 at 9:37 am

Great tips! I also find it helps to remind myself that it takes 21-28 days for a new activity to become a habit. Once you fall into a routine with a new goal, it may just become a habit if you stick with it long enough.

12 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf January 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

I definitely reward myself along the way to keep myself motivated. It’s so helpful to break down big goals into smaller chunks and to celebrate the successes and progress along the way.

13 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 8, 2013 at 9:52 am

I love this reminder. I know that food shouldn’t be my reward but you know how I love to go out to eat. The new workout clothing or workout music are great ideas. Reward and motivation to get in the gym! I also use a trip to a new market as a reward. New place to buy some funky (healthy) foodie tread.

14 jobo January 8, 2013 at 9:56 am

Love this and totally agree. We should reward ourselves for hard work!! And I too agree that sometimes food can be a fun motivator, within reason. hehe.

15 Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama January 8, 2013 at 9:57 am

This is more of a daily basis reward, but for me it’s computer time. As in, no sitting on the computer to read blogs/facebook/pinterest until workout is complete. Yes, I am sitting in my sweaty workout clothes right now. :-)

16 Genelle January 8, 2013 at 9:59 am

I love the reward idea. It never occured to me to actually reward myself for accomplishing goals. I might dangle a pedicure and some new fitness clothes as my reward!

17 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions January 8, 2013 at 10:27 am

This is exactly what I did with some of my goals this year! It’s pretty easy for me to fall into that unmotivated state you outline at the beginning, but I’m really serious about making my goals this year happen. I have mini goals to accomplish along the way to my main goal, and each of those mini goals has a reward attached to it. To motivate me even more, the rewards are usually things I’ve wanted to get for a long time or could really, really use (like a new purse, since I accidentally broke two in the space of like three months last year. Whoops). I really think having something to work towards other than *just* accomplishing my goal will help me.

18 tinareale January 9, 2013 at 5:57 am

It sounds like a great set up! I know those types of things and that layout always works well for me. You’re right that its nice having something extra than just the “oh, i did it” feeling. It makes it more tangible I think and can be a great reminder item of what you’ve achieved as you continue (if its something like a new workout outfit…or purse that you see often!).

19 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots January 8, 2013 at 10:35 am

if I could fund it, I would reward myself with a message every week :)

20 [email protected] Love Pursuit of Running January 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

I made sure to have a timeline attached to my goals like..”do workouts every morning for 2 months” “drink 72 oz of water everyday for two months” because I read a couple articles that say it takes 66 days to form a habit. I think the reward idea is great because it will help me get through the 2 months to help sustain the habit :)

21 Jessica January 8, 2013 at 11:01 am

Love this. I usually reward myself with new workout clothing or equipment. Somehow when I feel cute in new clothes it makes me push harder when I am wearing them.

22 Megan @ Fiterature January 8, 2013 at 11:23 am

Totally agree – a friend is starting some new goals and I was going to suggest rewarding herself. Then you wrote this amazing post and did the work for me! Thanks, Tina!

23 Olivia Hill @ life as liv January 8, 2013 at 11:26 am

Mani/pedi are always an awesome self reward. :) I like gettin’ my nails did, what can I say? ;)

24 tinareale January 9, 2013 at 5:58 am

Hmmmm??? Perhaps our little meet up (whenever we make it happen!) should be “gettin’ our nails did”. haha!

25 [email protected] January 8, 2013 at 11:36 am

My reward is usually a good book I get to read :) Or new fitness clothes!

26 Heather @ Better With Veggies January 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I love massage rewards – plus they are actually beneficial for training too! I also like to have smaller goals along to the way when I’m working toward a big one (like Ironman). That keeps me motivated when the goal looks far away.

27 Andrea @ Vegvacious January 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I like the idea of putting aside $1 per workout ==== I can see that working for me so that I can work towards buying a new pair of lulu pants or something I want, but don’t want to spend out of my everyday budget!

28 Tamara January 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I am super motivated by rewards!

I use a two-tiered system; (1) end of the week for clean eating and getting my workouts in, a sweet treat or glass of wine (not enough to undo all the week’s work..) and (2) end of a program (every 3rd month or so), a new workout outfit or new shoes (I’ve recently developed a Fluevog addiction…)

Thanks for the other ideas!

29 tinareale January 9, 2013 at 5:59 am

Love your system!

30 Nick Goodall January 8, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Haha that made me laugh, what a graphic! I used to be able to relate and I see that kind of attitude all around me to be frank, but now I’ve changed, for the better. As you say, clearly defining your goal is key, it get’s rid of the flaky resolution that has no purpose except to disappoint.

Reward is definitely something to make sure you get when you’ve completed some sort of goal, I’d just advise everyone out there to not mistake movement for achievement, otherwise you won’t get far and the calories from that reward biscuit will pile up like a landfill..

To all those who have waning goals, I wish you the best of diligence, stay consistent and watch the results pile on! :)

31 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama January 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm

A massage and/or new workout clothes are always my reward. AND so worth it!

32 Sara @ The Foodie Diaries January 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Hahahaha I love this – I laughed out loud! The only thing is, you need to change Week One to Day One. I seem to have slipped off the New Years Resolution path, but it’s nothing that a new day and a fresh start can’t change! :)

33 Allison Nimlos January 8, 2013 at 10:11 pm

I just want to say I really love the graphic! Sooo funny!

34 Bek @ Crave January 9, 2013 at 5:30 am

Mini goals and rewards is a fantastic idea! I think it’s okay to reward with food at times- especially if you’re a foodie person. I mean it’s only the stupid diet tips and stuff that usually recommend not doing that- and diets are crapola!

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