Rewards are an important part of fitness, and the National Institutes of Health suggests creating a frequent reward system for successful weight loss. Don’t stick only to the numbers on the scale. Meeting your regular exercise goals and cooking more healthy foods are equally deserving of rewards. Food rewards can undo your weight loss efforts so choose those that align with your new healthy habits. Here are a few calorie-free ways to celebrate!
Buy a book or magazine. Self-help books and magazines that offer healthy recipes and workout ideas can provide a fresh outlook. The new ideas you gather can fuel your journey towards fitness. Just remember to also reward yourself with time to read them!
Enjoy an afternoon to yourself. For a cost-free option, arrange for your spouse or a friend to watch the kids, turn off the cell phone, and shut down the computer. Spend your afternoon doing something you enjoy. Meet an old friend for coffee, visit a local art museum, take a leisurely walk in the park, window shop at the mall, or go for a drive in the country to unwind and refocus.
Cultivate a new skill. Expanding your knowledge and skills increases self-esteem. Your educational endeavor could be learning how to cook, knit, golf, or speak a foreign language. Check out your local community center for free classes, or sign up for a class at a nearby shop or university.
Challenge yourself with a new fitness class. If you’ve had your eye on the yoga studio down the street, or love Latin dance, reward yourself with a new workout! Start with one class, and if you like it, consider a monthly membership for your next weight loss reward.
Invest in quality exercise gear. New gear doesn't have to break the bank. A fitness hat, headband, exercise socks, or a tech shirt are great ideas for rewards under $15. If you are ready to invest in a high-end reward, consider a pair of quality shoes, or a GPS watch to track your mileage.
Find music that moves you. Listening to the same music week after week creates exercise boredom. Buy some new songs that will keep your workouts fresh and upbeat.
Make a deposit for a bigger prize. Maybe the reward you have in mind is going to require some saving. A vacation, kitchen remodel, exercise equipment, or a new wardrobe is not something you can buy when you reach your first few short-term goals. Start a separate savings account, and commit to depositing money each time you reach a fitness goal.
Don’t forget the little things that keep you going. Sometimes a new journal for self-reflection, a new nail polish color, or an app for your smart phone is all it takes to feel rewarded.