Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Rewards

Welcome to another edition of Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays where we take a moment and say, “yeah, it’s better to be here than not to be here.” I definitely need this reminder at least once a week that, no matter how much things suck, they could be so much worse. I could not be here. You could not be here. But we are, so let’s just take stock.

This week’s theme is Rewards.

You know when you set a goal, work really hard to achieve it and are rewarded for your hard work how great that feels? I’m feeling that and loving it this week.

After completing my 9th marathon in Philly this weekend, I’m definitely basking in the glory of my medal, the ultimate Reward for a runner.

Proudly displayed on our medal rack! (Nice rack! hahahaha, I kill me)

Red says it should be made of gold. I think it’s made of blood, sweat, tears and carbs. There’s nothing quite like feeling the weight of a medal around my neck after a hard-fought path to the finish line. Don’t get me wrong, Philly was beautiful and I fully expect that I will do this race again in the very near future. But the whole journey to Philly was a struggle.

I struggled with making the time between studying, working, being a wife and a sibling and a friend and making time to run. I struggled with my Ulcerative Colitis for the better part of the training season and learned some serious humility in the process. I struggled with my diet, which had to be modified to account for the changes in my disease. I struggled with every single cold virus that went through NYU this Fall. I struggled with finding a balance between wanting to do it all and knowing that I can’t do it all. I struggled.

And yet, with my medal firmly placed around my neck and my husband holding my hand, there was no better feeling in the world. I had struggled, yes, but I had conquered. And I had the Reward to prove it: my shiny new medal.

I love a good post-race medal photo!

Rewards are so important to give to ourselves and others. It’s acknowledgment, encouragement and praise all wrapped into one “You did it!” momento. Some people Reward themselves with food, clothes, a trip, sleep, a day off. Other people Reward us with presents, cards, words of praise, flowers, a foot rub. (Isn’t it just the best when someone else Rewards you?) Whatever it is that you do to Reward yourself for accomplishing a goal, it is imperative that you celebrate.

Be proud of what you’ve done! Show the world how awesome you are! Let people know you’re working toward something and when you’ve reached it, share that, too! Reward yourself and congratulate yourself for the accomplishments in your life.

I didn’t always celebrate myself the way that I did other people in my life. You know where that got me? Nowhere. I felt ignored and my accomplishments unacknowledged. I learned to open up and let people know I was working really hard at some task and when I achieved it, I was going to mark the occasion.

Sometimes it’s a high-five. Sometimes it’s a party. Sometimes it’s a medal around my neck. No matter what form it comes in, that Reward will keep me working hard toward newer, and maybe harder goals. And that’s the key. Rewards keep us moving forward.

So, next time you think that finishing a “little” 5K isn’t something worth Rewarding yourself for, think again. Grab a new sparkly headband and mark the occasion. Reward yourself (in a productive way…) and celebrate how awesome you are! Or maybe Reward someone else for their accomplishment. Everyone loves a shout-out, even if it’s on Facebook or Twitter. Go ahead, Reward a stranger at the finish line with a high-five. I bet you you make them smile.

BTAT: Rewards. Pass it on.

Now go out and run!