Hendricks Regional Health Blog

Give that Girl a Gold Star!

Posted by: Aimee Ketterer   |   Monday, April 18, 2011   |   Latest Articles   |   Back to Blog


Deep down, Iím still a six year-old. Iím easily motivated by the simple things in life, like ice cream, a shopping trip, and yes, my first-grade teacherís favorite, the coveted gold star.

A few years ago I made a decision. I was staring (okay, glaring) at the calendar, and my 40th birthday was looming on the horizon. Milestone birthdays stink and it was time to do something drastic. I needed to reclaim my youth, transform myself and try something totally new. For the first time in my life I wanted to become a long-distance runner.

I knew I could do it if I set my mind to it. I was a decent athlete in my younger days (a three-year varsity letter winner in high school. Okay, it was tennis, but that still counts). The hitch, it had been 20+ years since high school and I hadnít run competitively since eighth grade. Plus, back in my eighth grade glory days, I had been a sprinter, not a distance gal. That wasnít going to stop me. I wasnít going to allow myself any doubts or excuses. ďI can do this,Ē I said.

And I did. I ran my first half-marathon three months before my 40th birthday. Yeah me! But then, after I moved that mountain out of my way, I discovered I had lost my enthusiasm for running. And just when my rickety old knees were feeling stronger than ever. What a shame.

I wanted to do another Mini, AND improve my time. I knew it would take a lot of work but, frankly, I had gotten lazy. Really lazy. I needed to get my mojo back and find something to keep me inspired throughout months of training. Thatís when the gold star returned to my life.

Hereís how I use it: When I have a good aerobic workout (running or elliptical training) and get my heart pumping for more than half an hour, I put a gold star on my calendar. When I lift weights, bike, or walk on the treadmill, I give myself a green star. If Iím a slug and donít exercise, I get nothing.

The stars give me an instant visual cue as to how well I have kept up on my workouts. If I look at my calendar and see lots of days with no stars, I feel a twinge of sadness (my poor, unadorned calendar). Time to get my butt back in the gym.

It is a simple, and possibly immature reward system, but it really works to keep me going. Itís also much kinder to my derriere than trips to the ice cream shop. But since I am six years old at heart, I need those too sometimes!

~Aimee Ketterer

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