Are you having trouble making a change to reduce stress or be more healthy?

In this excerpt from Stress-Proof Your Life find out what really got me on that stupid bike and committed to a healthy lifestyle:

Here’s another thing I discovered: Rewards are very motivating! Clay again is responsible. He challenged me to exercise for at least 20 minutes every day for 100 days and offered to buy me anything I wanted if I could meet the challenge. (He knew, of course, that I would never ask for anything too extravagant!)

Exercising every day for 100 days seemed impossible, but the promise of a reward made me start. Then something interesting happened. In an odd combination of pride, habit, and desire for a reward, it became easier to get started each day. I amazingly wanted to work out. I started feeling better, and my body wanted to move.

The trick is to figure out what rewards, big and small, will encourage you to keep going. The “carrot” Clay offered got me started, but what kept me going was a daily reward of a small bowl of low-fat chocolate ice cream. I love ice cream, and I don’t often allow myself to indulge in it, so that scoop was heaven. My internal dialogue about “I don’t want to get on the stupid bike” was drowned out by “I WANT ICE CREAM!”

You may find it helpful to create a “carrot” for yourself each day. In addition, celebrating by the week and month can keep you motivated as well. Over the years, I’ve given myself many different types of rewards, from a new treadmill to a spa day.

Some days are harder than others, of course. I’ve missed days along the way. In fact, on my first try I built up 80 days and then got the stomach flu. However, missing one day didn’t derail me; I started again and made it. Over the years, I’ve built up hundreds of days. Clay has built up thousands, and yes, he’s missed a few as well. But it is a habit that works well, and it has worked for many other people, too.

Keeping your daily commitment deserves celebration and reward. As you build up days, schedule times to reward your commitment to yourself, not only celebrating the one-hundredth day, but the first, fifth, and twenty-fifth as well.

Find a carrot to get you to put your shoes on, get off the chair, and get moving—or to do whatever other actions you need to take to protect your health and wellness. Completing the 100-Day Challenge is a huge accomplishment, and it deserves a special reward.

What reward will you give yourself for performing your task each day?

How will you celebrate the milestones of 25, 50, and 100 days?

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