When you’re trying to make healthy changes in your life, it’s important to keep track of your progress and celebrate major milestones. This is a great way to avoid frustration and burnout when the going gets tough on a diet and exercise plan. But how do you reward yourself for making progress on your health goals when many of our typical reward systems are based on food? You don’t want to undo your progress by celebrating your weight loss with a piece of cake!
Promising yourself a reward for meeting certain goals or milestones is one of the best things you can do when you’re working hard to get healthier. Rather than focusing on the hard work involved each day, you can look forward to your reward afterward. This strategy may give you that extra motivation you need to get to the gym or to pass up that doughnut at the office.
The problem is, many people associate treats with food. For obvious reasons, you don’t want to reward yourself by consuming extra calories or unhealthy foods that will set you back on your path to better health. So, no matter how far along you are on your weight-loss journey, it can be beneficial to come up with a personal rewards system that you can use to stay motivated without sabotaging your health goals.
Here are some fun ideas to get you started!
1. Enjoy a new hairstyle
A fresh haircut at the salon can make you feel great about yourself and give you further motivation to keep up your healthy goals. Perhaps you have been thinking about a new haircut or color. If you’ve noticed your face shape has changed, it may be time to show it off with a whole new look!
For do-it-yourselfers, buying a new hair dryer or flat iron may can help you achieve a new look without losing any length. Great-looking hair is a confidence booster that is perfect for your next healthy milestone!
2. Get new makeup or try some new products at the store
If you want a fresh face without necessarily buying anything, visit a makeup counter at a nearby mall. Many stores allow you to try new products and get a mini-makeover without an obligation to buy. Or, allow yourself to purchase that new foundation or lipstick you’ve been coveting.
Things that make you feel attractive and confident are the best kind of rewards, because the boosted self-image will serve you well as you continue to take care of your body.
3. Purchase new workout clothes
It’s much more enjoyable to go to the gym or out for a walk if you feel great about how you look. Old sweats or baggy t-shirts are comfortable, but could be subconsciously sapping your motivation.
Today, there is workout wear for all shapes, sizes, and personal preferences. Get a colorful new pair of workout tights or some fun new sneakers that you look forward to wearing, which could lead to more frequent workouts.
4. Take up a new hobby (or an old one)
If you’ve always enjoyed music, art, or sports, use your interests to motivate yourself. Reward yourself for a major milestone by going to a concert, taking an art class, or joining a local sports team. If you’re interested in a new hobby, join a relevant Facebook group where you can learn from seasoned pros or find a class for beginners.
Taking the time to do something you enjoy boosts your mental health and lowers stress levels.
5. Get a massage
A rub-down feels great on hard-working muscles and helps relieve stress after a tough day. Whether it’s a shorter chair massage or a full-body deep tissue session, massage is a great way to relax and rejuvenate yourself.
Massage can help with anxiety, pain, and headaches, and may be the relief you need to get back to your workout tomorrow.
6. Schedule some “you” time
In today’s hectic world, we spend so much of our days devoted to work and helping others. It’s easy to get burned out and exhausted when you don’t have time to just do something that makes you feel good.
Schedule some time to do something relaxing just for you. It can be a trip to the mall, a yoga class, or just some time to sit and read a good book. If you have kids, hire a sitter so you can get away.
7. Take a day off
If you have vacation or personal days at work, reward yourself by taking a day off for yourself. You can get some extra rest and use the day for your favorite activities.
Take a day hike at a local park or head to the beach with a favorite book. Some people enjoy getting certain cleaning and organization chores done on their days off, such as weeding the garden or organizing the closet. Listen to your favorite music while you accomplish something productive. Whatever it is, make it something that will bring you joy.
8. Go see some friends
Success feels sweeter when people you love can celebrate with you. Make time to see a friend after work and tell them about the goal you’ve met. Better yet, call up a friend who loves to exercise and take a walk with them while you chat.
Check out a movie together or watch your favorite shows at home. Have some laughs and feel great about what you’ve accomplished: laughter is good for your health!
9. Add some beauty to your space
Not only are flowers and plants nice to look at, but they may actually relieve stress and help you feel better mentally. Some studies show that they help people recover from surgery and enhance mental performance and mood.
Most people only buy flowers or plants for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries, so why not get yourself a bouquet to celebrate your hard work and success?
10. Just rest
Many of us never take the time for a nap or quiet time. But this free mini-getaway may be just what you need to keep going in your busy life.
Set aside time in your schedule for your own special downtime. If you don’t want to nap, try doing meditation, deep breathing, or guided imagery for 30 minutes. When you’re done, you’ll feel rejuvenated and refreshed, ready to persist in your positive health journey.
It’s easier to make healthy changes if you have a plan that’s designed specifically for you. At Garcia Weight Loss, we provide each patient with personalized plan, supplements, and support that set you up for success. Contact us today for your no-cost consultation!
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on September 12, 2018
Karen Eisenbraun is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and writer with a background in digital marketing. She has written extensively on the topics of nutrition and holistic health for many leading websites.
Karen received her nutrition certification from the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2012. She follows a ketogenic diet and practices intermittent fasting. Karen advocates a whole foods approach to nutrition and believes in empowering yourself with information that allows you to make smarter decisions about your health.