How can I use rewards to improve my health behaviors?

Sheri D. Pruitt
We know from behavioral science that a new behavior needs to be rewarded frequently in order for it to become a permanent habit.

To reward yourself for changing health habits:
  • Decide on the reward before you start to make changes in your behavior.
  • Determine when and how often you will treat yourself.
  • Include your rewards on your monitoring chart and post it where you'll see it every day.
  • Make sure that your rewards occur frequently in the beginning. For example, don't spend a month exercising before you get a reward. Small, frequent treats, such as a brief chat with a friend on the phone or taking the time to watch the sunset, are especially important in the beginning.
Living SMART: Five Essential Skills to Change Your Health Habits Forever

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Living SMART: Five Essential Skills to Change Your Health Habits Forever

The myriad of books and programs that encourage people to stop smoking, get organized, spend less, or exercise more tend to focus on what or why to change, but rarely explain how to change. Living...

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Wellness is a difficult word to define. Traditionally wellness has meant the opposite of illness and the absence of disease and disability. More recently wellness has come to describe something that you have personal control over. ...

Wellness is now a word used to describe living the best possible life you can regardless of whether you have a disease or disability. Your wellness is not only related to your physical health, but is a combination of things including spiritual wellness, social wellness, mental wellness and emotional wellness. Wellness is seen as a combination of mind, body and spirit. Different people may have different ideas about wellness. There is no single set standard for wellness and wellness is a difficult thing to quantify.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.