Last time I reported on my stationary biking, I was using Street View (Google Earth) to travel the roads of County Cork in Ireland. I travelled a long way with this method of motivation.
I have since found a new way to motivate myself and track my progress. I use the ‘earn a free coffee’ card from a popular restaurant and stickers I have rescued from unused address labels. I get quite a few cards since I drink a lot of fast-food tea.
Each time I use my stationary bike, I earn a sticker. I put the date and the time travelled on the back of the card. When I have earned eight stickers, I get a small reward, usually a new eBook.
Sounds like kindergarten, but for me it works to keep my motivation.
To pass the time on my bike, I read, or edit one of my books-in-progress.
If you are having trouble with motivation toward exercise, this little method might help.
These days, most stores and businesses invite you to join a rewards program. There are various programs for air miles rewards, points to collect to earn sets of dishes in grocery stores, store dollars to earn gift cards and point systems to earn store merchandise. I think I will develop my own system of rewards, to recognise the work I do to try and improve my wellness.
I expect some of the significant, long-term rewards of exercise, healthy eating and weight-loss will be:
physical rewards – these, of course, are the most worthwhile rewards. Since I started stationary cycling in January, my blood pressure is down, my blood sugars are under control, my bad cholesterol is lower and my good cholesterol is up. These may not be directly due to the cycling, but my dietician says my exercise is at least partly responsible. Also, my stamina is up. I am more likely to go shopping, do a bout of house cleaning or volunteer to get the mail than I was a year ago.
years of life – the very best reward for my program of wellness will be more time – more time with my husband, time to watch my son grow and build his life, more time to spend doing the things I love.
days of good health – a healthier me will mean fewer days of illness. The reward may be one less cold to drag me down, stronger bones so I don’t break anything if I fall, and better balance so I won’t fall at all!
Since I have diabetes, exercise, weight-loss and proper eating will help me to avoid so many bad problems associated with this disease.
The longer-term health-related benefits of a wellness program aren’t always easy to grasp. Although wellness is so important, more tangible, short-term rewards may be more motivating.
My approach is to reward myself and remind myself at the same time. Ways to ‘count’ those positive actions:
gradually fill a small jar with buttons
add a nickel to a piggy bank
sharpen a pencil from a bundle of dull pencils
add a bead or a piece of macaroni to a string
put a magnet on the refrigerator
As I’ve said before, I find stickers to be both a reward and a good way to keep track of my good behaviors. Stickers are inexpensive. I also save and use the stickers and stamps I receive in the mail as promotions.
My rewards program will be to add stickers to a card, the way I do when I collect rewards at the grocery store. For cards, I am using the stack of extra business cards I have accumulated over the years. Each time I do something positive towards my wellness (eat a vegetable, drink milk, go for a walk, and so on), I’ll add a sticker to my card. When I fill a card so none of the printing on the business card is visible, I will reward myself. For example, the card I am working on now will earn me a new e-book. I write the reward I am working towards on the card so I will be motivated to work harder towards my various goals.
There are lots of inexpensive items I can work towards with my rewards program:
a new e-book
a yard of material for a new sewing project
a ball of yarn
a bar of home-made soap
a scented candle
a trip to the salon
a new bunch of stickers!
I’d encourage you to design your own rewards program. It will help you keep track of the positive changes you make and it will teach you to reward yourself with something other than food!