Reward Yourself

When you work anywhere that gets you exposure to a lot of people every day you’re there, you’re bound to run in to some interesting people. Last year, among all of the others that I encountered, I got the chance to meet and be on a first name basis with one of my city’s top weight loss gurus.

The most memorable thing about talking to him wasn’t anything he said to me, it was something I saw on his Facebook page.

“Eating is emotional. When you reward yourself for certain accomplishments with food, you’re perpetuating a problem in your eating habits that is to eat your feelings and then you end up with extra weight.”

Okay, pause.

One of the most common things I see as motivation for people to achieve something is the incentive of a new dress to wear at a goal weight, or a beer at the end of a marathon, or a hot, delicious meal after a long day. Giving yourself a pat on the back somehow, something positive to look forward to, has been with us for probably about as long as we’ve had brain function (No, don’t worry, there’s no evolution and progression speech waiting here in this post). When you take that away, what happens?

The idea, I think, is that once you start rewarding yourself for something, anything, it’ll devolve into smaller things and you won’t be able to stop. It will create a problem for you, because you’re not putting in enough effort to be able to earn that reward.

But by god, if you want to reward yourself with a huge ass cupcake for getting through the month of November, writing 50,000 words and struggling through most of it, you should not feel bad for doing so! (I have pictures, too!)

Don’t get caught up in the rewards. Get caught up in what you’re doing, and when you accomplish something especially difficult, then feel free. Play a game, get lost in a book, head out and see a movie.

That’s something different too, small rewards compared to big rewards. Finishing a deadline and getting something done that you wanted, you can relax, and do it how you want. When you overdo it, you’re going into excess without really accomplishing much, rewarding yourself big for little things and throwing off the balance.

Obviously, there’s a difference between off time spending and rewarding yourself, but the point I’m trying to make is not to lose sight of what you really want versus the other exciting things. Don’t let something else cloud your vision. With a lot of work comes the ability to play, but you need to put the work in first to earn it, otherwise you may be at a risk of falling off track.

Typically, the only rewards I give myself are to play a game for a while, totally veg out, but sometimes, like last night, I wanted something to make the last day of a hard month sweeter.

As always, use caution and moderation, but enjoy what you can, when you can.

-The Novice Wordsmith

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