The way to a healthier life isn’t crash diets, short-term challenges or depriving yourself of things that make you happy. Forming healthy habits you can stick to has a positive and long-lasting influence on your life as a whole.
However, this is easier said than done, as it’s natural to want to go back to your pre-resolution lifestyle after a few days of effort. According to Psych Central, using external rewards is a great way to signal to your brain that a habit is worth keeping. Here are ten small, positive rewards you can treat yourself with at any stage of a new health routine to help it stick.
1. Small Accessories
It can be expensive and wasteful to buy bags full of new clothing to reinforce a habit. However, small accessories are a reward with practical value that won’t fill up your closet or credit card statement. To celebrate a week of sticking to a new habit, pick up a pair of plush lined gloves or an inexpensive pair of fluffy slippers.
2. A Nice Bath
If you have a bathtub in your home, a relaxing bath is a perfect reward after exercise or any other positive change. For those without a full-sized bath, check out mineral baths or spas in your area. Often simply using a bath or hot tub is the least expensive option on the menu.
3. New Skincare
Taking care of your overall health is the perfect opportunity to splurge on innovative face serum. A quality serum’s beautifying effects can be another incentive to stick to your new healthy habit.
Clothing is an expression of the self, so rewarding yourself with a new piece for your wardrobe can tie your health into a more positive self-image. If money is tight, try thrift stores for a designer find.
5. Healthy Foods
Using food as a reward can have some drawbacks, but it’s fine on occasion as long as you stick to a healthy option. Whole-wheat banana bread or takeout from a Pho restaurant are both good choices.
6. New Music
When your favorite artist releases a new album, don’t listen to the whole thing right away. That’s the perfect opportunity to use music as a reward. After you complete your habit, treat yourself to one new song. You’ll want to finish out the week to hear the rest of the album.
Lavender aromatherapy oil is an inexpensive way to help relieve stress. You don’t need a fancy diffuser in order to enjoy lavender oil as a reward after a hard day of sticking to your health habits. Instead, simply put a few drops on a cotton round. To spread the aromatherapy scent through the room, place the cotton round in a tiny basin of hot water.
Similar to new music, a new book from your favorite author can be a powerful motivator. You don’t have to wait, though, as nowadays you can preview books from the comfort of your home. After you complete another week of your habit, online shop for the perfect book to unwind with.
9. Planner or Calendar Stickers
If you have ADHD or want extra visual reinforcement of your habit, invest in a goal-oriented planner or wall calendar. Fun stickers can celebrate each day of positive change and provide a jolt of reward at the end of the day. Though it may seem like a reward better suited to kids, looking over months of stickers and positive progress is a powerful motivator for any age group.
10. Time To Rest
This reward requires no monetary investment at all. In today’s busy world, giving yourself an hour or even just 15 minutes to detach from your responsibilities is an important reward. Forbes reports that time to rest and unplug can support your mental health.
Any of the items on this list can be combined to create your perfect reinforcement routine. Use small external rewards frequently to get yourself into a new health habit.