Saturday, November 4, 2017

Self-Bribery

A simple trick to make exercising a habit.

David's tea: a treat I use to bribe myself to exercise :) 

I’ve mentioned this before, but I hate dislike strength training. I can rationally acknowledge its benefits, but for the past year or two I have found myself skipping workouts, to the point where they become so infrequent that I end up quitting altogether.



This is bad. It’s especially because this means I am ignoring workouts prescribed to me by a physical therapist.

I have hypermobile joints and frequently have shoulder, back and chest pain. After working over a year with doctors, physical therapists, and a chiropractor, I found that the best way to alleviate pain is to work on my posture and core strength. So why would I skip these exercises?!

For most people, I think skipping/quitting workouts is pretty common. At the end of a long work day, you just want to relax, maybe watch some Netflix and eat dinner. You definitely don’t feel like getting sweaty spending time doing additional work.

I think for me, I end up trying to ignore the problem. When I don’t feel like doing something (like working out), l tell myself that I don’t need to do it. That the problem will go away on its own. I know deep down that this isn’t true, but when I am tired and just want to hang out with Craig, my brain usually goes for this silly logic, and I end up skipping the workout that night.


All I want to do is be lazy and watch Stranger Things with this guy!


Over the past month, I have finally gotten on a good routine where I have consistently been doing core workouts.

The trick I used: self-bribery. 


First, I set a goal of at least two core workouts per week. I printed out a calendar of October and wrote out when I would do my workouts.

Next, I thought about one thing that I really wanted that I probably would feel guilty about buying for myself.

This ended up being David’s tea. They have so many amazing flavors! I sometimes just snoop on their website and pick out tea flavors that I would like to try, but I can’t justify a purchase, especially since there is usually a $10 shipping fee.

The only way I could buy myself tea was if I completed every single workout in October.

Choose something that is a little reward that you can enjoy and use for delayed gratification. In today's world it is so easy to just buy whatever you want online, but by forcing yourself to "earn" something, it allows you to enjoy your progress and hard work and celebrate in a small way. 

Finally, I told Craig about my plan (to make myself accountable to someone) and every night after I completed the workout, I crossed it off the calendar.

And it worked! 


Now that I have gotten more used to doing these workouts,  I am starting to see benefits of increased core strength, and I no longer feel the need to bribe myself to get them done.

Sometimes it just takes an additional, external push to motivate yourself to do something you would rather avoid.


As a side note: David's tea released its winter flavors right at the end of the month. I was way too excited to try the new flavors!! I ended up getting Sleigh Ride, Caramel Shortbread, and Walnut Orange Scone. They taste amazing. If I had to choose my favorite, it would be Walnut Orange Scone, but to be honest, they are each uniquely great. :)