Setting rewards for hitting a goal – whether that goal is health-related, educational, professional or otherwise – can be a helpful tool in achieving that goal. Rewards can be anything from a quiet, relaxing afternoon at home to yourself, or a pedicure – to a luxury vacation somewhere exotic or a big-ticket item purchase. Anything that’s beyond the norm can qualify, if it’s special to you.
I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it here on the blog as of yet, but it is rather difficult for me to assign myself rewards for hitting goals. The reasons behind this difficulty are three-fold: 1) ideas for “things to consume” or “experiences to participate in” have to occur organically for me (and I’m horrible at remembering what I want), and building a list from my memory at any given time proves impossible; 2) when I do think of something I want, I tend to go after it immediately without any thought of attaching it as a reward; and 3) I have a history of lacking discipline, and waiting to go after what I want is, well see reason #2…
Important Aside: Let me just say here, I totally get that this qualifies as a FIRST WORLD PROBLEM. If assigning rewards to goals is a hurdle in my life then, well, my life must be pretty awesome!
Lately I’ve been feeling much more lively about producing content for this blog. I get “good feels” from the videos I post – perhaps it’s the old college filmmaking education I exited from a long time ago coming back to haunt me – and at the moment I’m feeling especially driven to achieve improvements in the quality of these videos. So I find myself spending hours and hours looking for other weight loss bloggers, watching a lot of other YouTubers, researching filming and lighting techniques, and digging through online forums for equipment reviews. And of course along with this there’s the inevitable: “Oh, if I had this (insert equipment here), I could make my indoor shots look better”, etc.
So it occurred to me over the weekend, while I was out at Best Buy perusing the point-and-shoot digital cameras, that instead of just buying one merely because I want it, why not use this as an opportunity to earn something for achieving a goal? And I have a long list of videography-related items that I’ve been adding to my Amazon wishlist recently – why not set some reasonable targets to get those items in my possession? Hallelujah! I just resolved reason #1.
Now to overcome the second two reasons… this is where the challenge really comes in. So I’ve had my eye on this particular digital point and shoot camera for a little bit now. Now that I’m hiking, and heck, just getting out of the HOUSE a lot more, I’m finding using my iPhone to shoot photos and videos to be less-than-ideal for reasons of quality, battery life, and not dropping it in a frickin’ LAKE. So after doing a more than reasonable amount of research, I’ve 99.9% settled on this model from Canon, the PowerShot S120.
On Saturday, when chatting with my boyfriend about camera options, I mentioned that I could use this purchase as a reward for hitting Onederland. Because this camera is kinda pricey, and I’m not earning money at the moment, I think it would make a more-than-adequate reward for the epic achievement of getting under 200 lbs. And I’m SO CLOSE, people! I weighed in this morning at 203.2 lbs. I can TASTE IT, it’s so close! But still a couple weeks away, in all likelihood.
…And then Sunday morning I woke up and got it in my head that I would go to my local camera store and look for an in-person model to handle, and MAYBE if I liked it, go ahead and pick it up to use on another park outing that afternoon. Huh?
This thought clashed with my resolution made JUST THE DAY BEFORE to use it as my Onederland reward! My impatience was busting through. After being confronted by my supportive and reasonable boyfriend about the swift shift, I took the opportunity to reflect on my discipline challenges.
Discipline is one of those important personal tools that I never adequately learned growing up. To be completely frank, my parents were awful at it. I would be scorned for a bad activity and grounded for, like, a week, but then the grounding would be quickly forgotten by later the same day. And when things got hard in school, or in an activity I was pursuing, I was never pushed to overcome.
My therapist and I talked briefly about parental neglect in our sessions, and I never really felt I had an issue with neglect in the form I imagined it to classically take. I was fed and had a roof over my head, and even though there were some darker aspects to my childhood, part of me thought I had it relatively good! But I can now admit that this consistent lack of regulation and positive pressure really did a number on me. It has deeply affected me in the pursuit of my education and career goals, the activities I explore, and my health. My wherewithal is nowhere near where I’d like it. So parents out there, take this to heart: if you can, be at least somewhat consistent with your discipline and help your children push to achieve their goals in a healthy way – it really matters!
But I’ve learned that I DO have a sense of self-discipline, I just need to stretch those muscles, and to cultivate it. Hello, perfect opportunity! So as I drove away from my house yesterday – maybe to the camera store, maybe directly to the park – I made the decision that NOW is the time to focus on discipline with these purchases. The camera will wait until I see that “199.8” (or less!) appear on the digital scale, and not a moment before! And I’m backing that up by posting this here. I’m not completely out of my element here – getting out of the house to exercise when I don’t necessarily want to is one way I’ve been strength-training these self-discipline muscles over this last half-year, so I definitely have a good start. I can’t wait to share all the awesome photos and videos this camera can capture, ONCE I’M UNDER TWO HUNDRED POUNDS!!!