Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Weight loss and the perpetually 10-year-old mind

I've come up with a new strategy to motivate myself to lose weight/train for the triathlon: I've made myself a star chart.  Star charts were commonplace in my household growing up; it was my mom's go-to technique for motivating my sister and I to do chores, save for things, or pretty much anything that she needed to force us to do in a really nice way.  I think that star charts resonate so well with me also because I inherited from my dad a compulsive need to log and chart progress and achievements.  My dad fulfills this compulsion through his geocaching habit; I prefer to break out the crayola and make myself an old-fashioned star chart.

So, my exercise star chart is color coded (naturally), and it includes a category for every possible method of exercise available to me: running, biking, swimming, walking, wii fit, biggest loser for wii, and all my various exercise DVDs.  I also included a category for when I stay within my daily point value (haven't gotten many stars in that category this week).  I'll be rewarding myself with triathlon gear (athletic swimsuit, road bike, babysitting $$ so I can train for the swim) and also indulgence rewards (can't wait to earn the MASSAGE!).  I'll just have to see how well it works: so far it's mostly been successful in making me feel more guilty about neglecting my exercise.  I do have seven stars so far though, and I gotta say it gives me great pleasure sticking those little sparkly stickers on my chart.

IF I had the ability to get my hands free of BABY for more than a few minutes of time, I'd love to make myself a star chart for all the other stuff that I need to do daily but dread.  At least with exercise, you eventually get the pay off of feeling better and looking better.  But what's my payoff for doing the stupid dishes?  Nothing, yet I still have to do them, over and over again, and still I find the sink full again the next morning.  I think I'd feel much more fulfilled if I got stars for doing the dishes and laundry, cooking dinner and fixing lunch, changing the baby, organizing the cabinets, scrubbing the floors, and all the other mind-numbingly tedious tasks of a SAHM.  It'd mean a lot more rewards earned, but the problem is, what can I really use as motivational awards at this point?  Indulgent food is a no-no right now, and being fiscally responsible is another current goal of mine that I can't neglect for the sake of staying motivated to clean the house.  So, what are my options for fun rewards that don't contain calories and don't cost money?  Suggestions appreciated!


GChen said...

I'm a mom, a blogger, and a Ph.D. student, and I need your help. I'm doing a study about why women blog, and you have been selected at random to participate in a short survey about what motivates you to blog and what you get out of blogging.

I hope you will take it by clicking this link. Please do not forward the link.


Thanks in advance for your help. Feel free to contact me at gmmasull@syr.edu if you have any questions.

Gina Chen
Ph.D. student
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Syracuse University

Ajay Banag said...

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