Though we know we're working toward something great, keeping up with good health habits can be challenging in the short term. That’s where the benefits of regular rewards—big and small—come in.
Have you ever been unable to sleep the night before going on vacation because you were so excited? That’s anticipation, and in many cases, it can produce more pleasure than the actual experience (like a vacation) itself.
Incorporating rewards—or things you can look forward to—into your life for taking charge of your health can go a long way in building good health habits that last.
The idea is to choose rewards that make you feel good while you’re investing in your health.
Did you reach your goal of getting five straight days of physical activity? Great! Maybe your reward is an afternoon nap. Did you cut back on your nightly dessert? Wonderful! Perhaps you’d like to take the money you’d normally spend on ice cream and instead use it to buy that book you’ve been wanting to read.
Want to spice up your rewards even more? Inject a little novelty. One idea is to have someone you like and trust take responsibility for choosing the reward. Maybe this is a partner who selects the movie you’ll watch that night. Or, maybe it’s a friend who decides where your next healthy lunch date will be.
Almost anything can work as a reward as long as it doesn’t undermine your efforts to improve your health.
So, treat yourself. Don’t cheat yourself. You deserve it. And, keep in mind that the true reward for a job well done is the chance to continue improving your health.