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Vacations: The Perfect Reward?

You’ve tried every reward you can think of to keep yourself motivated. You’ve coaxed yourself with new clothes, rewarded yourself with nights out or days off, even promised yourself a new CD if you would (please, please, please) just get up this once, lace on those shoes and go jogging this morning in the rain.

Hopefully, the rewards are working. They can be great complements to motivation that you’ll find in supportive groups, inspiring stories or future goals. But the rewards can get even better.

Here is the reward that could put your program over the top. In fact, it may possibly be the perfect reward: the VACATION.

Road trips, weekend getaways, junkets to Vegas, beach weeks, island excursions, bike tours – whatever you call them, whatever you do, vacations hold major attraction that can be used as motivation that lasts for months.

Many rewards are gone almost as soon as you get them. Trips leave something behind to remember – souvenirs, memories and pictures. Plus, the anticipation of a trip can keep you focused on your goals through even the toughest times. Imagine how consistent you’d stay if you were able to look forward to playing volleyball on the beach, sailing on a lake, hiking to a waterfall, shopping on a Miracle Mile, or just spending time alone with your spouse or significant other.

Why are vacations so motivating? Besides our obvious need to "get away from it all" or to discover new places, vacations have a number of built-in motivators that make them the crown jewels of rewards:

Awesome Visuals – Visual motivators are the most effective type of motivators around. And pictures of vacation spots are usually some of the most beautiful and enticing you’d ever hope to see. Find a favorite picture of a favorite place and plan to go.

Fixed Deadline – Deadlines turn wishes into goals. If you have a departure date, you know exactly when your goals need to be met.

Anticipation – Rewards should be something you look forward to and drive you to act. We’ve all looked forward to vacations for months before they happen. What else holds that kind of power?

Social Rewards – A vacation is the perfect time to reconnect with friends and family. Or you can spend the whole time meeting new people and being a social butterfly. It’s up to you!

Memories – Not only will you remember the vacation, but you’ll also fondly remember what made the vacation possible (reaching your goals). This type of positive reinforcement will help you motivate yourself for the next round of goals.

More Fun – By reaching your goals, you’ll be in better shape for your vacation. You’ll be able to play more, do more fun things and last longer without crashing when the sun goes down.

Look Great – No need to say much else here except that it’s always more exciting to go places when you’re confident about how you look.

Cost Flexibility – Trips don’t have to cost a ton of money. Like any other reward, you can spend as little or as much as you like. As long as you’re giving yourself something to look forward to, the vacation reward is doing its job.
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Member Comments

Thanks Report
nks... Report
Excellent Report
Good article Report
I love vacations, but after the 1st day, i'm ready to go home. The fun is in the planning. I get home sick to quickly Report
I think this would be a great motivator! Report
I love vacations because for us they almost always include visits with friends along the way-we have an old dog now (photo) so our vacations are driving so he can go with us. It also keeps us closer to home. We are reasonably active so self-guided walking tours are a highlight especially when architecture is involved. Report
I'm not a big vacation person, too many expectations. I don't like to just relax. But a day trip to go hiking or something can be nice. Report
Planning vacations always put me in a good mood. I have a family vacation coming up at the end of the month and it's going to be in NYC so I know there is going to be lots of walking in store for us. I want to do a bunch of site seeing and a little shopping and I don't want to spend it feeling tired. Report
I am going on a three-day vacation next month. Keeping my goaks at a normal track. Report
Heading down to Miami and The Keys in March and hoping to be 15 pounds less by then. Looking great is just a bonus to losing weight...I want to be able to walk all over with my kids and not feel tired! I don't want to dread the holiday pictures coming back only to see me hiding behind somebody in the pic...I hope to be front and center!!!!! Report
Hmmm... makes sense. I will reward myself with a weekend away if I keep my nutrition and fitness goals for the next 2 weeks. Report
Vacations are HUGELY motivating for me! Here's how I am working it out as a reward: I have set up an online savings account that is only for travel savings. I get to transfer $25 to it each Saturday if I have met these conditions during the previous week:

1. stay within calorie range at least 6 days
2. exercise at least 150 minutes
3. avoid sweets at least 6 days

I'm staying honest with myself--there have been one or two weeks when I didn't abide by the eating standards, so no $$ was transferred those weeks.

Saving $25 per week is a stretch for me, so I'm having to be frugal with things like clothes & eating out. I value frugality, so it works for me!

There's the short-term reward of seeing the savings grow & anticipating the trip--& each trip will be a long-term reward! I'm hoping to take an international trip every year or so. I'll be staying with friends or relatives in most cases, so $1,000 will be a reasonable budget for many of these trips.

Meanwhile, I'm losing weight & fitting into my clothes better, which is super-rewarding in itself of course! Win-win. :-) Report
I'm planning on a vacation as my ultimate reward for reaching my goal weight! Europe, here I come. I won't start planning it until I actually get there though. :) Report
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About The Author

Mike Kramer
Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.