When you’re trying to make a lifestyle change for weight-loss or even for overall health, it’s difficult to keep going even when you have a powerful why or reason. But, on a day to day basis when you’re in the thick of it all, rewarding yourself in simple ways for small accomplishments can go a long way.
Why? It’s all about dopamine. Dopamine spikes in your brain when something important is about to happen and gives you a surge of pleasure as you accomplish the task. This in turn increases motivation and productivity. Use this piece of science to your advantage by giving yourself small rewards along the way to a bigger goal. Your brain latches on to the physical evidence that your workout or healthy eating habits are worth it, and increases your chances at making the routine a habit.
Here’s an example of creating positively associated habits in your mind:
If you’re worried about becoming dependent on the rewards, don’t be. Over time, your motivation will become intrinsic, and your brain will associate your hard work with a surge of dopamine. From there, just working out or eating healthy will be its own reward.
Need some more examples of small rewards? We’ve compiled a list below:
Not all of these will appeal to you, and that’s where you get to be creative. Reward yourself with the things that motivate and appeal to you. This will ensure that even the small rewards are enough to get you off the couch and moving.