Rewards Help Sustain Change

Written by Tessa Torgeson in collaboration with Clarity Counseling

Waterfalls Photo by Trish Tallakson

The end of January is slowly approaching. Hopefully, you are continuing along the winding path towards change and your New Year’s resolution.

If you feel discouraged, or have fallen back into old habits, try to be gentle with yourself. No matter how hearty we Midwesterners are, this time of year can be difficult, especially with the recent cold fronts in Fargo. Do not give up.

Instead, slowly steer back to the path you paved and recommit to the healthier lifestyle. Perhaps something was not working–perhaps the change seemed too challenging or overwhelming. If this is the case, it might be time to call for support of friends, family, or Clarity Counseling.

Change, like life, is a journey and not a destination. Thus far, we have written about small starts and visualizations. In the last part of this series about change, we are focusing on giving yourself rewards.

Rewards enhance your likelihood of sustaining successful changes in your life. Rewards make your lifestyle change real and they are fun! You keep moving forward, and rewards give you positive reinforcement for having the courage and motivation to change!

This begs the question, what is a healthy reward? It is important to connect your reward to your motivation for changing. You want to find rewards that reinforce this lifestyle change and affirm the qualities you enjoy about the change. Also, strive for a reward that is within your financial means.

We will continue with our example of striving for balance.  Your primary motivations for changing are that you feel stressed, anxious, have high blood pressure, do not get to see friends or family as much as you would like, or have time for hobbies. Hopefully, working on building healthier habits have helped you feel calmer, see friends more often, and begin working on hobbies you enjoy. These are natural benefits for the changes you are making.

A reward is an extra gift you promise to give yourself for successfully making the change.  For example, if you have saved up enough money and have enough vacation time, plan a vacation or even a weekend getaway in nature. Few things are more rejuvenating and majestic then cascading waterfalls such as in this photo by Trish. If that is not an option for you, perhaps you could schedule a “stay-cation” time in Fargo for relaxation and enjoying yourself. Get a massage and go to a nice dinner with a friend or significant other.

Part of enjoying your reward is remaining present in the moment and letting yourself feel the joy of healthy change. Disconnect from your phone, work, e-mail, and the internet in order to truly reflect upon your journey.

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