Following a weight loss plan and maintaining healthy habits are both challenging, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't also be rewarding or rewarded.
Do rewards matter? Yes! Besides the inherent benefits that come from feeling better and reaching new goals, rewarding yourself for your healthy efforts will reinforce your new habits and inspire you to continue your journey. When you celebrate your accomplishments, you remind yourself that you are capable of reaching your goals. These special celebrations can help keep you motivated on the days when your diet is dragging you down.
Of course, choosing the best reward can be challenging also. Spoiling yourself with food or alcohol can undo all of your hard weight loss work, so it's best to choose non-food rewards to keep your program on track while enjoying the moment. Just anything that tickles your fancy.
Dig into a new book or re-read a favorite old book: Schedule out a block of time to read a few chapters of a book you've been wanting to check out for a long time. If you're not a huge reader, buying a physical (or virtual) stack of fresh magazines is another welcome luxury with little cost. You can also trawl your local library the way you’d trawl a used bookstore or just re-read one of your favorite ‘comfort reading’ books.
Pamper Yourself: Eating well does make you feel good, but there’s also something to be said for a completely self-indulgent pleasure that you do just because you like the way it feels. Go for a massage! This is also good for athletes who might not even realize how sore they really are until they aren’t. Get a fancy new body scrub, have a bubble bath, get bath salts or other bath toys for grown-ups. Get a really sharp-looking haircut, go to a place where the hairdresser gives you a scalp massage under the warm water as part of the process. Get a manicure and a pedicure.
Start a “Success Savings”: Put $10 (or any convenient amount) in it for every week you've achieved your goal. Put $1 or $5 in it for every pound you've lost. You decide the amount of money you’ll give for the desired action. Such as for sticking to your exercise plan. Not pigging out when you were depressed. For each pound lost. For each day or week, you stuck to your meal plan.
Chill out in the park: There's something about being in nature that helps you reconnect, relax, and feel like you're on a mini vacation. Visiting a park gives you that feel.
Have fun in the Sun: When the weather is hot, grab a friend and spend a few hours in the sun. Rent a boat and spend the day soaking up some sunshine with family and friends. Just be sure to load up on sunscreen and water for your day date!
Sleep in late: Instead of waking up early to make time for a Sunday morning workout, give yourself permission to sleep in and lounge around as late as you want. Beyond being free, taking time to rest is necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
Go on Vacation: Plan a weekend getaway or a luxurious vacation will be a fantastic way to celebrate reaching your weight loss goal. Make it a day trip if you like, if you can't afford an expensive weekend trip.
Download and Listen to your favorite songs and workout playlist: Make a playlist of all your absolute favorite music, choosing not to care if it’s thematically similar, segues nicely, or is ‘embarrassing'. Nothing motivates like having a handful of quality workout playlist.
Go window shopping: This is almost as fun as actual shopping. Pack yourself a travel mug of something sip-able and then wander through your city’s swankiest shopping district. Peek into the windows and imagine where, exactly, you’d wear that avant-garde cape that costs $3,000.
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