Bribery Works for Me

Posted January 19, 2014 by Prairie Wife -

Raise your hand if you took the whole month of December off from working out and eating healthy. Don’t feel guilty, wave that sucker around! I have come to the realization that in December there are just too many temptations, and not enough time, to stick to my normal workout and “healthy” eating routine. I am trying to stop beating myself up about it. Yeah it always takes a few weeks to get back to where I was, to lose those few extra pounds of Christmas cookies, and to get my muscle tone back…but really taking 4 weeks off isn’t the end of the world. While I did make some fresh New Year’s resolutions this year, my workout/health resolution was the same as every year. To get back on track.

Everyone is different, and I get that and while the following works for me you might need to tone it down or amp it up depending on your weight and health goals. I’m just going to share what works for me here on the Prairie Homestead.  I officially lost all the weight from Cowbaby months ago, and my routine for the last few months is what I needed to do to keep myself at my bodies happy weight (give or take a few pounds). I have had to cut back a little on my portion size since I am weaning Cowbaby and no longer need an extra 500 plus calories a day. But, I find that my appetite normally diminishes as his number of feedings go down. Living 30 minutes out of town means we hardly ever eat out, and I cook most of my meals and treats from scratch (homemade cookies have no calories). So really my main focus these last few weeks has been getting back into my workout routine, and I am here to say I am barely squeaking it in. And sucking at it…

It is just not realistic for me to go to the gym, so I normally work out by running outside down our dirt road or DVD’s, even 20 minutes on the Wii Fit counts in my book. My goal was to workout 20-30 minutes at least twice a week and shoot for three times. I added 10 minutes of yoga everyday because I have been feeling especially vulnerable to the winter blues and yoga really helps combat the symptoms of SADD for me. I know right? Two days a week for 30 minutes should be a piece of cake. But in all honesty it’s been really hard for me. Weather has a lot to do with it, it’s been freezing and windy. That means running is out and I have to spend more time getting the kids to and from school. Excuses excuses I know…So, I decided to do what I always do when I need to do something but am struggling with motivation…I use self bribery (this is probably not the correct term but you know what I mean).

I first learned about this technique from my 8th grade teacher (and one of my favorite people) Mr. Taylor. One day during class he told us how in college he had a class he didn’t like to go to. So, he decided that if he went to class, he would get to go get a slice of pie (or maybe it was cheesecake) at a local café as a treat. I filed the story away for later use, in 8th grade I still relied on my parents for motivation and bribery. I started to really use self bribery on myself after I had kids. Nothing sucks out your motivation faster than weeks of no sleep, and a screaming colicky baby.

For example, when all my chores are done on housecleaning day, I throw Cowboy W in front of the TV and enjoy my cup of tea and magazine guilt free. When I was trying to lose the baby weight from Cowboy W the Keurig was brand new, and <strong> man did I want one</strong>. I could have just gone out and bought it, but instead I set up a goal. Workout three times a week for three months, and I can get it…I’m sipping my fresh Keurig brewed cup of coffee as I type this. This year I planned to get back on track during Christmas break, but  when I realized that I had gone yet another week without meeting my goals, I decided it was time to get real and use my secret weapon of self bribery.

The kids Cowgranny gave me a gift card to one of my favorite stores (TJMaxx) for Christmas, I couldn’t wait to spend it (and maybe a little more). The Cowboy and I are headed on two trips without the kids this Spring, and I am chomping at the bit to get some new clothes. I want to look as good as I can as we head out on our vacation, and March is only weeks away! So I hit myself where it hurts the most, no buying any clothes for myself until I workout 6 weeks in a row at least two times a week and do 10 minutes of Yoga a day. Spending freezes are always good self bribery for me, it makes me more conscious when I do go shopping again and it gives me time to make up a list of what I really want (I’ll be sharing that with you next week). This time I have a gift card to dangle in front of myself too!

I am proud to say that I am into week one of my 6 week challenge and no problems yet. I was actually into week 3 but then I skipped a few yoga days. For self bribery to work you have to be honest with yourself…It’s probably not really motivating to hear that I am back to square one right?  But hey, if I stick to it this time, I’ll still have plenty of time for all my online orders to get to the Prairie Homestead before we have to head to the airport!

Check out our Health and Motivation Board on Pinterest for more tips and tricks

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