I like to celebrate a weight loss with chocolate.
I like to celebrate surviving a long run with chocolate.
I really like to celebrate a smaller pants size with chocolate.
You can see how this might be counter-productive. But food! chocolate! salt! Those are rewards for doing something well! We celebrate family and holidays around the table overflowing with food. We get dinner out to celebrate surviving another week of work, errands, bills, sports, meetings, and lack of sleep. We mark milestones (a first lost tooth, sleeping all night without a pacifier, not saying a curse word for a full day!) with Chinese takeout and frozen yogurt.
I’ve spent my whole life celebrating or commiserating with food. And after thirty two years, it’s a daily struggle to stop. Some times I fail at the struggle and some times I succeed. But the more healthy choices I make, the more necessary it is for me to find non-food related things to celebrate my successes with.
Because as true as those statements above are, I also understand that they’re not helping me get where I want to be. So I’ve been compiling a list of ways I can celebrate a healthy change or health milestone without eating or drinking something. (This was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be.)
1. Buy a new book.
2. Get a manicure.
3. Treat yourself to a massage. (This is my favorite reward!)
4. Go see a movie.
5. New workout clothes. (I use this “reward” a lot.)
6. Take a nap. (I wish…)
7. Girls’ night out.
8. Get a new, sassy haircut.
9. Buy a new water bottle.
10. Buy a new fitness app for your phone.
11. Upgrade to a FitBit or Garmin.
12. Get a pedicure.
13. Weekend getaway!
14. Buy a new cookbook.
15. Get a tattoo. (Did this last week, I’ll share it soon!)
16. Fresh-cut flowers.
17. Buy a new pair of pants that make you feel fabulous.
18. Create a new playlist or download new music.
19. Sign up for an official run/walk in your town.
20. Sleep in.
21. Take a day off work.
22. New pair of sneakers. (I want to finally get some Brooks after all this half marathon stuff.)
23. Buy a new piece of exercise equipment for home like an exercise ball, weights, a bike, etc.
24. A night off from kids–let someone else cook their dinner and bathe them!
25. Long, hot soak in the bathtub.
26. Try a spray tan.
27. Finally post that before-and-after pic on social media, be brave! You’re guaranteed to inspire others.
28. Get some fancy running/workout socks.
29. New headphones/ear buds.
30. Buy a new purse or gym bag.
31. Pay yourself! My friend Brin pays herself a dollar for every workout so she gets to make a big purchase when she’s hit a new milestone.
32. Finally book that dream vacation.
33. Coffee date with a friend
34. Sign up for the gym membership you’ve been wanting.
35. And finally, chocolate (I’m sorry, I will always reward myself with chocolate. It’s the truth.)
Some of these are pretty big celebrations, while others are on the smaller scale. I think it’s important that your end goal is a celebration, but so is the short-term goal of making it to the gym four times this week or the five pounds you lost last month.
Writing down my goals and what I’ll get when I get there has been a powerful tool for my weight loss/get healthy journey. And doing something out of the ordinary is such a great way to reward yourself. I don’t know if this works for you or not, but publicly sharing my goal or goals keeps me more accountable because public ridicule or letting people down really challenges me in a good way. So find what works best for you, maybe it’s walking with a co-worker at lunch, weighing-in one morning a week with a friend, or meal planning with your sister so you guys can help encourage each other to make healthy choices. Whatever it is, find it and then do it. The key is consistency. And then just let the rewards start rolling in.