Dover Personal Trainer gives tips to positively reinforce your healthy habits

One of the biggest parts of fitness has a whole lot to do with building habits. The small daily habits that you create for yourself can compound into either very good or very bad outcomes. And how these habits come about is through figuring out how to best motivate and reward yourself.


This is based off basic psychology: positive reinforcement v.s. negative reinforcement.


Most people think that the best way to motivate is be telling themselves all the negative things that will happen if they don’t eat right or don’t exercise. This incites a few in an individual that is not necessarily healthy, especially if they beat themselves up when they don’t reach their goals. Negative reinforcement is a form of punishment. For example, not eating dinner because didn’t exercise that day and you ate a bit of something you shouldn’t have.


This is guilt tripping yourself into compliance, which will eventually build up resentment against yourself, but also against the good habits your are trying to reinforce. Think about it, how motivated are you going to be when you are being led by fear instead of hope?


However, what if you rewarded yourself positively when you’ve done something great? When you lose ten pounds, what if you went and say a movie or had a spad? What if you allowed yourself a cheat meal once you’ve reached a milestone? Wouldn’t you be more motivated to actually hit that goal if you know that at the end there is a reward for you?


While psychologists may disagree on which form of reinforcement is best, most people prefer positive reinforcement. At this point, you might not know how to positively reinforce your healthy habits, so here are some tips to reinforce those habits so they can compound and get you where you want to go!

1. Choose exercises that you enjoy– This in itself is a form of positive reinforcement. You are rewarding yourself during the actual exercise time by doing something you like to do. So whether that’s swimming, playing a sport, or just going for nice long walks make it something you enjoy!


2. Pick healthy rewards – a reward doesn’t have to mean an unhealthy snack or a cheat meal. Though that’s okay from time to time you don’t want to do that too often, what you can do, however, is pick a few healthy rewards that you can enjoy. Maybe it’s a night out with the girls, or going dancing with your spouse — try picking an activity that you’ve always wanted to do as a reward. If you do this, you won’t have the guilt associated with cheating your meal plan.


3. Get a fitness buddy – A fitness buddy is someone you can trust to keep you on track and help remind you of the positive reinforcements waiting for you at the end of a milestone.


And if positive reinforcement isn’t working for you, then try negative reinforcement; but do it right. Don’t punish yourself, but remind yourself about how you feel after not exercising: guilty, down, self conscious– and then remind yourself how you feel after you’ve crushed a workout: amazing, on top of the world, like you’re a superhero.


Okay, so you might feel a little sweaty and sore, but that’s better than feeling down and lethargic right?




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