Gym motivation trick: Treat yourself

Note: This method is still in the development and refinement stages.


I once read that you should reward yourself with a treat after completing a certain number of accomplishments. Say, for example, going to the gym and doing cardio.

Sounds good, right? A while back I decided that my reward would be a pro-level pedicure, as payback for trotting mile after mile, day after day. All I needed to do was make it to the gym five days in a row.

It turns out that the power of the pedicure is not enough to compel me into the gym.

Here’s what happens, usually on Tuesday: I get home from work, change into gym clothes … and then lie on the bed. It feels good to splay out, iPad in hand. Maybe I’m catching up on Facebook, or playing PopCap’s new strangely addicting version of Solitaire, which thankfully times you out from playing too many games in a row. The gym does not sound good.

“Screw pedicures,” I say. “You already take good care of your feet, and you can cut your own damn toenails.”

So I have to upgrade my goal treat. A massage would be great … but too pricey if I start hitting my goal regularly. Then again, this whole treat thing is probably supposed to be done only at the beginning of the process — when you’re trying to develop the habit, the enjoyment of which eventually becomes its own reward.

Meanwhile, the only way I persuaded myself to go to the gym yesterday was by vowing I would text photo proof-of-attendance to my trainer. So basically, I’ve moved to fear as a motivator.


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