"I've had such a good week; I've earned the right to have a few drinks this weekend."
"I need to live a little, after all I ate really healthy all week!"
"This just doesn't fit in with my lifestyle; I need to be able to go out and have a few!"
…ever said any of these? There's nothing like rewarding yourself after a job well done. The ability to celebrate the wins and achievements we have in any area of life can serve as a welcome reprieve from the discipline and work we put in to get to the top of that hill, plant our flag, and say "I did it". However, when we feed ourselves a regular stream of instant rewards, we fail to ask ourselves a very important question.
Are we sabotaging our long term success?
The ability to delay gratification is one of the biggest factors for long term success in achieving any goal. It is for this reason that achieving long term goals (for example nine week, six month, and twelve month goals) can be a difficult task at times. It takes consistent follow through and the ability to delay reward until the task is done.
Yes, it's hard.
No, it's not always fun, and you may not be able to do the things you want all the time.
However, once you delay that reward, and double down on your efforts to hit your goals, you're on a fast track to success. To quote Jerry Rice, "Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't". The reward is so much sweeter, so much more fulfilling when it's taken a lot of time to achieve. The reason for this is simple…
…nothing incredible was ever achieved in a week!
Any huge, meaningful goal ever achieved took time, and it began with a few weeks of consistent follow through. Which would have meant consistently delaying gratification to keep focussed on the big picture. This is true over any field, not just limited to the realm of Health and Fitness. With this in mind, I set forth the following challenge to you:
Take your current long term goal (again, this could be a nine week, six month, or twelve month goal) and dedicate four weeks of consistent effort to it WITHOUT rewarding yourself, and track how much progress you make.
To be clear, this isn't about depriving yourself forever and only grinding along on willpower, it's about delaying rewards that make you feel alive because of what you have achieved, and continually moving towards the best version of yourself.
I challenge you not to go out on a Friday or Saturday night because "you've been so good this week", or "your lifestyle NEEDS this".
I challenge you not to go out for that weekend away in the Hunter Valley because "your body is telling you to get away and relax".
I challenge you to put four weeks of consistent effort to your goals and not reward yourself until after. I challenge you to NOT see results!
Yours in Health and Fitness,
Senior Trainer at Vision Personal Training Neutral Bay*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.