So you made it to the end of the week! You stuck to your goals! You hit the gym and made good food choices! Now what? It’s Friday and you deserve a treat for all of your hard work…but don’t let that treat derail your fitness and diet (or finance) goals. Here are 10 ways you can reward yourself for being so good — without being too bad.
1. Sweet feet. Not only will taking care of your stressed-out feet benefit you in sandals, but it’ll benefit you in sneakers too. It’s a pretty low-cost way to get some of the tension out of your arches, which can positively impact your posture and flexibility. To maximize the effects of the foot rub, roll your arches on a lacrosse ball for a few minutes daily.
2. Like a glove. Take your favorite wardrobe item to a great tailor and get it to fit you like a glove. The rush of confidence that comes from wearing a perfectly tailored garment will only be boosted by knowing you worked hard for the fit body underneath!
3. Spa splurge. Getting a massage will benefit your training, but getting a facial will benefit your mood when you look in the mirror! Either splurge on your favorite professional spa treatment, or invite a few friends over for some low-cost homemade spa fun.
4. Get naughty. Go to a fancy lingerie store and ask the professional to measure your bra size. If you’ve been losing weight, odds are you’re a different size than you used to be. Take the opportunity to congratulate yourself on a job well done if you need new skivvies!
5. Say cheese. With your family, your best friend, your dog, or yourself…schedule a session with a photographer to capture your fabulous-ness. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but if you’re feeling daring, a boudoir-style shoot is a great way to celebrate your hot new body.
6. Get outside. Commit to a few minutes or a few hours, but make it count. Hit a park, hiking trail, beach, roof, porch, or backyard. Bring a book, a picnic, a friend, or a blanket, and just enjoy the nice weather.
7. Swap threads. Sure, you haven’t needed your “fat jeans” in 6 months, but you’re having trouble letting go. Get as many of your friends together as you can to clean out your closets and swap all of those old items you never wear. It’ll be liberating to cast off your old identity and super fun to get new clothes without spending a penny.
8. Be grateful. Sit down and write as many things as you can think of that you are grateful for, right now, in your life. It can be anything from practical (my weekly phone chats with Mom) to silly (the Starbucks girl who always knows my order). Practicing gratitude will immediately boost your mood, plus then you’ll have a great list to re-read, and add to, anytime you need a little pick-me-up!
9. In with the new. There are tons of awesome classes you can take for pretty cheap, and many of them will get you active as well! Think belly dancing, trapeze, zumba, rock climbing, gardening, or healthy cooking. Or schedule a session with a personal trainer; ask for a routine to do on your own, and consider it a gift that just keeps on giving.
10. Plan ahead. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you reward yourself with a new goal or healthy habit, you’ll be reinforcing the pattern of taking good care of yourself, and breaking the cycle of deprivation and failure. If you took your fish oil every day for a month, reward yourself by researching and adding a cool new supplement, like super-green-food or bee pollen. If you went to be bed before 10:00pm most nights, reward yourself with an early morning yoga class. This will start changing the way you look at punishment versus reward, which will help you achieve your goals — and be the biggest reward of all.
Jessi Kneeland is an NYC-based personal trainer. She believes that fitness can show people what they’re made of, including our own Recessionista-in-chief, who’s bum Jessi kicks daily. Check out her blog at http://jessikneeland.wordpress.com/