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The wonderful rewards of work

From: HypnoBlog,

08
September
2011
The wonderful rewards of work

I packed my kids off to school yesterday for the first day of their new school year. They were excited to be back, really looking forward to seeing their friends and really looking forward to simply getting on with their job of learning.

Because while holidays are simply fantastic (and you donʼt need me to explain why), there is something about the purpose of work that I think we all need in life.

Work isnʼt always about money, as often it doesnʼt matter if you get paid for it - but itʼs certainly about reward. So how might we define reward? Well:

1. Itʼs about that feeling of personal satisfaction you get when youʼve done something well

2. Itʼs about learning something new and different each and every day, challenging and stretching our minds

3. Itʼs about interaction with others, an exchange of goods and/or ideas which means that the work you do has value to others, and thus you feel valued

4. Itʼs about that wonderful feeling that psychologists call ʻflowʼ where we lose track of time because we are so engrossed in the task at hand

5. Itʼs about having a structure to your day and life, which interestingly allows us to appreciate our holidays more

As well as seeing the kids off to their work, I am back to work too. And Iʼm really excited about it! Of course, as it always does when Iʼm at work, my mind turns to reducing weight (well I see many of my clients for this!). Now, itʼs absolutely critical that when you are trying to lose weight that you get a sense of reward from the process as well as the end result.

This is particularly important for a couple of reasons:

  • If you are overweight you will probably have been rewarded, by your mother and by yourself, with fattening food throughout your life. Breaking this pattern of ʻfood as a rewardʼ is critical to success
  • The end reward of being slimmer comes slowly and virtually unnoticeably; itʼs most likely youʼll only ever be a pound slimmer than you were last week. So often in itself itʼs not reward enough to keep you motivated week in and week out.

So, taking the analogy of work above, how might we apply these five aspects of reward and integrate them into any weight reduction programme you are on.

1. Harness the feelings of personal satisfaction you get from sticking with your individual weight reduction programme. At the end of each day take a few moments to reflect on how well you did and how much you enjoyed eating good quality food thatʼs conducive to your weight reduction, in the right quantities. Notice how good you felt after any exercise you did. Go ahead feel a little smug! (And if youʼre that kind of person a sticker chart can work wonders to cement this sense of reward).

2. Challenge and stretch your mind by trying out new recipes with a variety of flavours. One of the most common reasons people give for not sticking to their weight reduction programme is boredom. We live in a food-obsessed society - use it to your advantage by making your diet as varied and tasty as possible. When the food is really delicious and we thoroughly enjoy it we need less of it to satisfy us.

3. Interaction with others is always critical to us as human beings, we are truly social creatures. So find other people (a friend perhaps or even an online support group) to help and support you - share recipes, exercise tips and ideas to stay motivated.

4. Allow yourself to become engrossed in your new way of eating, feeling that wonderful sense of calm because you know each and every food choice is easy to make in a way that supports your ultimate goal.

5. And finally, in the same way that work helps us appreciate our holidays, eating less will mean you enjoy your food more. Yes really! Because if we eat when we are actually hungry (as opposed to just eating all the time) we can totally tune in to the wonderful flavours and textures of our food.

Reward is all about how we feel and using rewards strategically will help us achieve our long term purpose by helping us maintain our motivation and interest in the short term. As it is with work, so it is with weight reduction and many other things besides.

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