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Exercise……..Finding the right motivation


Remember to check out my review of the Withings scale, that measures Weight, Fat %, and BMI.  Yeah, it does it all……and will keep you on track.  Also, enter to win a free one for yourself.  You’ll looooooove it. :)


Oh, and did you see the winner of the Zeo Sleep Manager?  Go here to see if it was you.

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Let me share a secret with you. Unless I have rewards, I don’t normally meet my exercise goals. It’s annoying that good health isn’t a good enough reward…..but that’s just me. So at the beginning of 2012, my husband and I (yes, he’s doing this with me) sat down with blank calendars and a pen in hand. We decided that we needed weekly rewards for meeting our exercise and nutrition goals for a month or two because after the long list of other things that we have to stay motivated to accomplish each day, our ‘naturally motivated reserve’ is drained. So on each Saturday of our calendars, we wrote down little rewards that we would get, as long as we have eaten well that week (stayed under our calories and such) and have also worked out at least 2 days a week (for at least 30 minutes) for him and 5-6 days a week for me. Haha…..I know, he gets off easy but he drives an hour to and from his surgery rotation (PA school) and sometimes stands for 12 hours assisting with surgeries. So maybe that’s part of his workout?? Anyway, 2 days is about all he can fit in. And well, let me be honest……I wouldn’t be doing 6 days (more like 3-4) except Alysa told me I had to! :) And then every day we mark our calendars with an ‘X’ if we ate healthy and then add an ‘E’ for exercise. And then at the end of the week, if all goals were met……….we win our reward.



I know, I know……….we can’t win rewards for the rest of our lives. But until regular exercise and healthier food choices are more of a habit, we need rewards to jump start us.


Do you want to know some of our rewards?

  • new shoes for him
  • 25 minute uninterrupted back rub for me (from the husband)
  • new workout clothes for me
  • new cologne for him
  • a new haircut for me
  • new bike pedals for him
  • no dish duty for a week for me. for any meal. none. (my husband has to do them….ha.)
  • 5 finger shoes for both of us (we found some for $40 at yay!)
  • movie night (like, at a real theater. Not just in our TV room after the kids go to bed.)
  • and more



And look what came in the mail recently. Yep, we just got these little lovelies (5 finger shoes) last week. I know they’re for running but I really wanted them for indoor workouts and yoga. And maybe bike rides and short jogs. The price was right and they are pretty cool kicks. (And if your first thought is that my feet look like alien feet, don’t worry, I agree. Ha.)



If you want to try giving yourself rewards like we do, you can make them all free or throw in some spendy ones. It just depends on the budget. The ones like ‘no dishes’ or ‘back rubs’ are nice and free but won’t work unless you have a partner that’s willing to do a little work to help you meet your goals. But it works both ways. He has ones that I have to help him out with too. But the free ones are fun! We also seemed to throw in some things that were on our “want” list but can’t justify buying without a reason (i.e. birthday, anniversary, etc.) But we decided that setting aside some money to pay for these rewards is an investment. The return is good health. And that’s worth it until we get back on track.



Anyway, we have all of our rewards in place and it’s been working. Eating well? Check. Exercising for at least 30 minutes? Check.



**I have to tell you something that kept me motivated this last week. I was outside running and began running up a hill………..which was killing me. I kept running (slowly) and kept telling myself, “this feels better than the crappy way I’ve been feeling lately”. I repeated that about 15 times until I was up the hill. Success.



Exercise is mostly mental. And dang, it feels so good when you’re done.



How’s it going for you? If you got off track for a minute…..jump back on and go get ’em!


P.S. I actually made time to paint my finger nails last night. Does a fresh coat of paint make you instantly feel like a lady? It does me. And has added an extra few dollars to my Feelin’ Good in 2012 account. Try it.


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Kim N. says:

    My husband just finished the army’s PA program…they actually did a study with the PT students about the average weight gain of the PA students during the two years because it’s so crazy! He’s ready to go gung-ho on the getting back in shape, and being in the military will make that easy for him. On the flip side, I ended up having two babies during that two year program. I now have three boys ages 4 and under, so it’s going to be a challenge! I do appreciate your posting all the “getting healthy” motivation. (PS…Surgery rotation is a bear! Though they made my hubby’s easier because our last little one spent a month in the nicu at birth, so they were nice and cut him some slack so he could be home helping me more.) The PANCE is on Monday, and then he’s done…thank Heavens!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh my word Kim, you guys have had tons going on during PA school, thank heavens it’s almost over. (And 2 babies during PA school is saintly. You are super mommy!) So tell me, what were those results of PAs and weight gain? Maybe it’ll make my husband feel better! Haha! ;) PA school is busy though and lots of late nights studying with snacks and caffeine. Ick.

      Okay, HOORAY, the PANCE is on Monday? You guys are literally almost done. We’re just nearing that. (He’ll take the PANCE in April.) Yay for you guys!!!!!!!! Good luck! :)


    2. Kim N. says:

      I think the average was about 20 lbs.!

      But in good news, hubby passed the PANCE, so life is great! (Even if he does have to be away for a few months right now for more military training.) I had someone ask me how it felt to be the wife of a PA-C… I said, “SO much less stressful than being the wife of a PA student!!” :) Hang in there, April will be here before you know it! I’ll be sending good thoughts your way!

  2. Lori says:

    I used to run all of the time but since my 7 and 4 year old were born (yup 7 and 4 now) I used the “too much” excuse. I decided to get back in gear and have been going for about a month. I have been doing the “Couch to 5k” program and I feel great. When I finish it (it is a 9 week program) I get to buy new exercise clothes. Nice ones. Not even on sale. Plus I will do the darn 5k. It has been a great motivator for me. I have to have a carrot to dangle or the early morning weather keeps me in bed.

  3. Christine says:

    I would exercise every single day to not have to do dishes.

  4. Magen says:

    So smart! My husband has been so great about exercising lately…he has even taken up yoga on his off workout days. I need to get with the program. Maybe he’ll agree to this rewards program with me…he has nothing to lose!

  5. Daly@Write a Bio says:

    I was blessed with a ridicilously strong motivation to do exercise or participate in any kind of sport. but your way of motivating is excellent!

    Whatever works for you and puts you into that routine is good!

  6. Mariana Brito says:

    What a great idea!!!
    How didn´t I think about that before???? LOL.
    Tks :DD

  7. Kara says:

    I love this idea! Now I just have to figure out the rewards. I think new running shoes will be in there somewhere along with a massage. My husband might be motivated with a tee time for every week he stays on track.

  8. nebuchudnessar says:

    Love the shoes (even if they do look alien-ish)
    Great ideas to keep you motivated… must do something similar for me :)

  9. nicci says:

    where did you get those shoes?
    they would be great for my daughter who has built up painful calasu doing karate barefoot

  10. Jennifer says:

    I went to a big family dinner on Sunday, gorged on all the good food and haven’t been able to get back on track since. And I was doing so well sticking to my calorie counting and exercise plan… I hadn’t gone over on calories even one time. Maybe I need some rewards. Do you know how far I would run to not have to wash dishes for a week? haha.

  11. Claire Jain says:

    Yay five fingers! I love mine. You’ll be so glad you got them. I am also totally going to try to motivate myself to keep going just like you did getting up that hill. Brilliant way to push yourself. Also, ditto about the fingernail polish!

  12. Jackie says:

    I would do almost anything for a week without doing dishes. Seriously.

  13. Chelsea says:

    I absolutely LOVE this idea! My boyfriend and I have been looking for ways to keep each motivated and this would totally work for us because we can’t keep ourselves accountable :)

  14. Jennifer says:

    I think rewarding yourself is a great idea! I’m trying to lose weight with a couple of women at work & I’ve decided if I meet my monthly goals I get to reward myself. This month I found a really cute totebag that I can’t wait to get! Best of luck to both of you!!

  15. Leanne says:

    Love my Vibrams!! Yours are cute! My DH and I both wear them for running, I also wear mine for general fitness/pilates. Just be sure to ease into using them for treadmill and street running.They are so much better for you than shoes! Good Luck with your goals!

  16. Erin @ Small and Simple Things says:

    I want a pair of Vibrams! I think rewards are a great way to go. Perhaps I will sit down and do the same thing.

  17. Julie says:

    I got myself a pair of Vibrams last spring. I LOVE them. Be careful running in them too far to fast! I got peroneal tendinitis because I went gung ho in them WAAAAY too fast. You have to ease yourself into running in them. I use mine mostly for Yoga/general fitness and I do my distance running in my Saucony’s.

    Love how you and your husband are supporting each other and incentives is ALWAYS a good motivator!

    Way to go!

  18. Shelly says:

    I am the same way and definately need a reward! Back in September my husband proposed to me that if I will run 6 days a week, starting at 1 mile per day and increase by 1/2 mile each month, for 6 months, I get an iPad! Let me tell you that is what has kept me going, (I have wanted an iPad for a long time but couldn’t justify the cost!) and I am 43 days away from meeting my goal!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh my gosh…..that’s awesome! And how funny, that’s exactly what my husband wants after he meets his big long term goal. We’ll see how much we can save up by then! :) But I love that we’re not the only crazy ones earning gifts for exercise. Cool!

  19. Kimberly Curtis says:

    I love this idea!!! My husband and I are both trying to loSe weight. He lost 65 lbs last year.he is very dedicated and committed. I am not. I fall off the band wagon easily.
    This would be a great incentive!

    Trying this next month!!

  20. lena says:

    great incentives. you’re blessed to have a supportive partner.

  21. Amanda Joy says:

    I can’t handle the Vibrams, but my husband likes his. We are waiting for the Zero Drop New Balance shoes with the Vibram Sole. It’s about the same as the five fingers, but the in between the toes…yuck.

    1. Ashley says:

      Ooooh, I haven’t heard of those. I’ll have to check them out when they come out.

  22. stacey says:

    I have a couple of pair of vibrams too! One pair are designated for running and the other for everyday use. Amazing how comfortable they are! I hate running on the treadmill not only because it is so boring (even with music and tv) but because I apparently am not a straight path runner and often find myself stepping to close to the side of the belt. Using my Vibrams help me stay intune with where i am on the belt. I also like that they are not as bulky as regular tennis shoes leaving more room in my gym bag. I also use them for outside running but only for short runs. I haven’t built up my distance running in them yet. Afte 5 miles in them I can feel my legs getting fatigued rapidly. Happy Running.

    1. Ashley says:

      Oooh, that’s a good idea to have another pair. And yes, I’m a wanderer too on the treadmill. In fact, I almost tripped and fell while on one yesterday. I should give the Vibram’s a try on the treadmill. Thanks! :)

  23. Shandra says:

    That’s a great idea! I wonder if I could get my hubby on board with this too! And I agree with Teri. Freshly painted nails make you feel great, it’s just sad that it chips and comes off SO fast!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, you have to go read what I wrote under Teri’s comment. I found the best polish that last for a couple weeks. :)

  24. Natalie says:

    I’ve been really wanting to get back into shape and into running. I love running 5K’s, but can’t get my butt in gear to get ready for one. (I “chickened out” of several races last year.) So …. to get me motivated, my husband said if I ran five 5K’s this year (2012), he will take mt out to dinner ANYWHERE I want to go. I already found one for March, one for April, and two in July. I know, food shouldn’t be what motivates me to exercise, but I do have to do a lot of work to get my reward, so I think it’s ok this time. Good luck!

    1. Ashley says:

      Yay…..go get ’em!! Running an actual race feels so good. It’s like meeting a goal you never knew you could. Just remember, it’s okay to run slow and steady. I’m always at the back of the pack…..but I always finish. And that’s what counts! Good luck!


  25. Teri says:

    I’m so glad you found a good motivator for your workouts! For me it was not wasting the money I was spending on a personal trainer every week! :) Now, it’s going to be losing this baby belly (I had my first baby last month)! And I totally agree with you about the freshly painted nails. Too bad I haven’t found a polish that will stay more than two days on my fingernails!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh my word, I need to share a whole blog post about this gel nail polish I found. It stays on for a couple WEEKS! It’s a little more pricey……but is totally worth it. I actually wrote this post (for BlogHer) on Monday so that coat of paint was painted on Sunday night. Today’s Thursday and it looks exactly the same. No chips and still shiny. Cool huh?


    2. Shandra says:

      That’s awesome! I need to read that post!

    3. Teri says:

      Um, hook a sistah up! What’s the name of the nail polish?

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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