Woman smiling with confetti falling. Reward yourself and you'll accomplish more

Should You Reward Your Fitness Progress?

behavior change fitness mindset goal achievement goal setting goal setting research goal structure progress Apr 07, 2023

Here’s a mindset tip for you:

You should reward yourself once in a while. And not just when you reach the finish line. 

When you set smaller goals and rewards for achievement along the way, you are reducing overwhelm, lowering pressure, and raising your perception of what you can actually accomplish. 

In fact, in psychological research, researchers call this setting “sub-goals” – and it works!


Rewarding Your Progress


When do you normally reward yourself in the process of something? Is it halfway or at the end?

We’d guess you said at the end. 

And why is that?

Because you only feel worthy of reward at 100% completion? OUCH.

This mindset doesn't leave much room to feel midpoint progress. 

It doesn't help you assess that you are on the right track. 

And it certainly doesn't help you stick with anything for very long.

This approach means you are less likely to achieve your goals since the only way to achieve them is by remaining consistent for the long term. 


Shift Your Mindset About Rewards


Here’s another way you can think of progress rewards. 

Consider things in terms of how you might talk to a child. 

Do you think it's fair to tell a child that they will receive an ice cream cone after a 10-hour car ride if they are well-behaved, or do you think it’s more inspiring for them to get little rewards along the trip?

A small reward after a big trip might not be incentive enough, and the child might forget what’s waiting for them at the end because the trip is so long. 

Keeping that in mind, what if you switched the plan, and instead of just setting a reward at 100% completion and success of your goal, you set it at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%? 

What do you think might happen?


Smaller Goals Come With Rewards


When you set smaller goals and rewards for achievement along the way, you are reducing the potential of feeling overwhelmed with the big end goal, lowering the pressure of having so many small habits and tasks ride on just one single outcome, and also raising your perception of what you can actually accomplish.

We’d be willing to bet that when you repeatedly succeed in things, no matter how big or small, you have more belief in yourself in future tasks, right? 

And we know that self-efficacy (the belief in oneself to achieve something) is a huge factor in goal attainment. 

So take our word, and set more reward checkpoints for yourself! 


How to Achieve Your Fitness Goals


Are you looking for more guidance on setting realistic and achieving them?

The KJO Coaching team would be thrilled to help you along the way. 

We specialize in helping busy, high-achieving women improve their health, physique, and mindset by taking a personalized approach to helping them learn how to make fitness work for their lives. 

You won’t find any cookie-cutter workout plans here. 

Click here if you’re ready to prioritize your health, fitness, wellness, and mindset so you can spend less time worrying about what to eat or how to get enough workouts in.

You can get a head start on your fitness goals by taking our FREE 5-day self-sabotage workshop.

This workshop will help you figure out the why behind your cravings, all-or-nothing thinking, and other psychological barriers standing in the way of your health and fitness goals. 


Gain access here.


Connect with us!

Email: [email protected]

IG: @kjocoaching



Huang, Szu-chi & Jin, Liyin & Zhang, Ying. (2017). Step by Step: Sub-Goals as a Source of Motivation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 141. 10.1016/j.obhdp.2017.05.001. 

Hi, I'm Kasey!

I coach, mentor, write, and teach with one main focus: Build strong bodies and healthy lifestyles, starting with your mindset.


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