Habits and Reward

May 10, 2018

Scenario #1:  You want to buy your first house!

 

You set a goal to save the down payment.  

In order to save some extra money you forego buying that new wakeboard boat that looks super fun!  Your friends are all buying boats, but you stay strong and save for your house because that is your goal.

You also cut your $150 cable bill and go to netflix.  And you sell those unused fancy bikes and other extra stuff around the house.

6 months later you are half way to your house savings goal!  Celebration!

You're half way there!  Time to go buy that boat, buy new bicycles, and sign up for the super sports package on cable.  You deserve it!

Sounds ridiculous, right?  This would eliminate all your hard work of saving for your house.


Scenario #2:  You want to fit into your old jeans from 3 years ago!

You set a goal to lose 20lbs by summer.

In order to lose weight you forego that nightly big bowl of ice cream.  Your friends are all talking about the new Megachocoblaster Pecan Ben & Jerry's, but you stay strong because you want to lose the weight by summer!

You also cut back your lunchtime restaurant habit and pack your own lunches.  And you start walking to work.

6 weeks later you are half way to your goal.  You lost 10 lbs!  Celebration!

You're half way there!  Time to stop walking to work, stop bringing your lunches, and hit the 2-for-1 sale on Megachocoblaster Pecan Ben & Jerry's.  You deserve it!

The financial scenario #1 sounds crazy, but scenario #2 is much more common, yet equally as confusing.  Self-sabotage.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  

Where are we going wrong?
-Habits.
-Unguided delayed gratification.
-The wrong reward mentality.

-Old habits are strong and we must be vigilant in not allowing them to creep back in.  Replacing old habits with new ones rather than trying to eliminate the old ones without replacing them is much easier. Accountability is also important here.

-Delayed gratification is a learned concept.  We all have big goals and are well meaning, but when they are unguided our chances of reaching the end goal is decreased.  It's best to have a plan or a guide.

-We often have the wrong reward mentality when it comes to weight loss.  We wouldn't celebrate quitting smoking by buying a carton of cigarettes and smoking them all in one weekend.  Yet we do this with food.  We may have a daily restaurant habit or a hide in the pantry and eat cookies habit.  If we successfully replace the habit with a healthier one, we don't want to celebrate by re-practicing the bad habit.

Stay vigilant about old habits creeping back in, get a guide to help you stay accountable, and instead of going out to eat to celebrate buy a new pair of jeans that is the same size as those jeans from 3 years ago.  :-)

 

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