Reward Substitution

Here’s something we’re seeing more of in counseling sessions lately.

You’ve got a goal,  you’re working hard at it, and when you’re doing really great at it, you give yourself a super duper reward that involves violating the terms of the plan you have yourself on.

For example, you’ve lost 15 pounds, so when you go out with your homies, or you line up for the buffet table, or whatever — you eat gloriously well.  Which results in several days of penance eating, which is followed by another reward feast, so your weight loss chart looks like 2 steps forward and at least one step back.

Ooops.

To eliminate this self destructive behavior you’re going to have to find a better reward that does not involve doing the behavior  you’re trying to stop doing.

What’s something healthful you really like, that you can reward yourself with when you need/are due a reward? For me it’s a nice soak in the pool at the end of my workout.  If I did great the previous day, I live it up.  If I did really poorly, I don’t.  I love that time of day and that activity, and it’s stress-reducing, so it’s perfect.

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