Fitness for the Motivationally Challenged Post 2

August 25th, 2011 · No Comments ·

Reward Yourself

This is a method where you add something pleasant to your workout to reinforce or strengthen your behavior. For example, after every workout you treat yourself to a relaxing massage or a soak in the hot tub. It doesn’t really matter what the reinforcement is as long as it helps you strengthen your routine of exercising regularly. However, keep a few things in mind:
The reinforcement should be something that can be sustained over a long period of time. This means that things that are financially expensive, or counterproductive like ice cream, should not be your first choice.

The reinforcement should also be something that you are not frequently exposed to. For example, if you have a hot tub at home, it would not be a good reinforcement to reward yourself to a soak after a workout if you can do it anyway without the workout, or if you already do it frequently. So choose something that you are not exposed to frequently.

The reinforcement needs to take place as close to your workout as possible. So, rewarding yourself on Saturday for a week of regular exercise would not be as effective as a reward right after your workout.

Slap Your Hand

I know this sounds somewhat juvenile, but its not as far out there as you may think. This basically is the use of unpleasant consequences to modify your behavior. For example, speed bumps and traffic tickets are a form of punishment that is designed to modify your driving behavior. So, a proper punishment for not exercising regularly could be to withhold something that you like. Keep in mind as we go along that the best way to keep you on track is to combine more than one of these techniques. For example, planning to go jogging or bicycling with your family regularly would be combining the positive reinforcement of spending time with your family, with the punishment of losing this time if you didn’t participant.

Removing the Negative

This technique is very similar to the positive reinforcement (reward) method except that you are removing something instead of adding it. For example, as you continue to exercise you may be removing pounds from around your middle. Another example would be a type II diabetic not needing to take medication anymore (as a result of regular exercise) to control their blood sugar. So, to utilize this technique think of something that you will be better off without, which will help reinforce your exercise routine (many medical conditions fit nicely into this category).

Be a Kid Again

Remember when you were young? Remember how you loved to run and play with your friends? Activity and exercise were a joy. In fact, it was much harder to sit still than to exercise. This technique involves remembering your previous joy or love for doing things physical and removing the barriers that keep you from enjoying exercise now. Look at your situation and life to determine what is standing in the way of you starting to exercise or play sports again? Once you are able to remove these barriers you will be able to rekindle the joy you once had in physical movement.

Tags: Nutrition & Health Promotion