Sunday, February 19, 2012

Your Brain on Goals: Sticker Shock!

I'm not afraid to admit that I've never really gotten past the most basic form of positive reinforcement: the smiley face sticker. It's the best "atta girl," pat on the head, teacher's pet reward that I can give myself every day. A simple little thing, but sometimes those little things make a big difference, you know?

If you're familiar with my Four Champions of Change (data, consistency, accountability, and intention), then you know all about the power of calendar stickers! In fact, giving yourself a smiley face (or a gold star, a butterfly, a ladybug, or SpongeBob, whatever makes you smile) for each day you hit your mark, you're taking care of TWO Champions: data and accountability. You're collecting data about your daily behaviors towards better health and being accountable to yourself every day. 

Sticker criteria is easy: I can earn two stickers a day. One is for hitting my nutrition goal and one is for getting in my workout. I don't have to be perfect to get a sticker, just make progress. Most of the time a sticker means I hit the bullseye because I like to aim for 100%. But, sometimes a sticker means I did as well as I could given the circumstances. In the middle of a party weekend I might eat over my calories or stray from my plan a little, but I will give myself a half sticker if it could have been worse. :)

January was a sticker-happy month!
I use my Healthiest Year Ever calendar to track my progress
(and have my 25 Foods to Eat Every Week below it)
I took a look at my calendar this week and smiled at my sticker shock: my wellness goals are going pretty darn well. January was chock full of stickers. February has stickers almost every day, too!  It's so much fun to see my progress build over time and see a visual reminder of the good things I have done for myself. Seeing that reminder not only makes me proud, it motivates me to keep that little parade of stickers going.

If you're looking for a cheap, easy, and rewarding way to track your wellness progress, get yourself a pack of stickers, a Healthiest Year Ever calendar, and go to town with the positive reinforcement. Seriously, you'll be much less likely to skip a workout or eat something crummy when all those stickers are smiling at you.

Get out there and get healthy today. And, earn yourself a sticker!

No comments: