So we ended up deciding to give the reward system the good, old college try anyways. When I first mentioned the idea to my wife, she was a little hesitant because our budget is kinda tight right now and it sounded like it had the potential to add up pretty quick. Then a few days later, she’s the one all excited about the idea, so … I don’t know … I never claimed to understand women… 😉
Anyways, what we ended up doing is picking up a couple of large, glass vases at Walmart along with a variety of colored, glass beads – both from the crafts department, right next to each other, in fact. And the system is actually pretty simple – a bead equals $1, and each of us has the potential to earn two of them each day. She’s splitting them up so that exercise earns her a bead and staying within her calories earns her a bead, whereas I’m a lot more concerned about just curbing my snacking and staying under 2,000 calories right now so I’m giving myself two beads a day for each day that I meet that goal. In a few weeks I figure I might change it up and incorporate exercise into the reward as well, but we’ll see.
Also, there’s a potential to get a bonus if we’re able to meet our goal for seven consecutive days in a row, so if I earn $14 worth of beads and make it through a given week, my bonus is an additional $6 to make it an even $20 for the week. Miss a day and the ticker for the bonus starts over.
As far as the actual money is concerned, I guess you could call the beads sort of a fancy IOU – it’s not practical to use actual cash right now and a jar full of paper IOUs would just look silly and not very inspiring, so instead this seemed like a neat way to track, “See, I’m doing good, and when the time is right, I deserve to indulge myself.” We don’t really know when that point will be – if we’ll both save and save up until the very end or want to dip into it once we’ve got $50 worth saved up, but that’s where we’ll kind of defer more to our budget and just see what’s possible at that point.
I guess we’ll see what happens! So far I like it because it gives me something to focus on aside from hoping that the scale looks better a week from now, and hopefully as we work through the week the bonus potential will make snacking less and less desirable because now instead of just blowing your calorie limit for the day, you’re also potentially ruining several days of discipline and forcing yourself to start back at square 1. Clearly a big portion of fighting weight loss is mental, so if this somehow manages to help keep my brain focused so that it doesn’t jump to snacking nearly as much, then that’d be a win-win for both of us!
Looking forward to posting an update in the next week or two to report how it’s working…