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25 Ways to Reward Yourself
Earn Points for Healthy Actions

25 Ways to Reward Yourself

On a trip to the grocery store last week I watched a mother bribe her kids with food. She told them that if they stood beside the cart and quit running around, they would get their choice of candy bars at the checkout.

It worked. Those kids were well behaved the rest of the time I saw them. They were also learning that fatty, sugary and calorie-dense foods should be seen as a reward. Finish your homework? Have some chocolate. Clean your room? Grab a cupcake. Get good grades? Let's pick up some ice cream.

I understand why she did it. It's easy and effective, but we've got to stop using food as a reward. It gives the impression that unhealthy food is GOOD while healthy food is BAD. It's time to start giving our kids (and ourselves) positive reinforcements. Here's something that worked for me.

I've set up a system with a list of healthy actions. Every time I do something on the list I give myself some points.

To be effective, the points have to be earned by doing things that take a little effort. A friend of mine said that when he goes shopping, sometimes he grabs a bag of sweets. Then he reads the label, decides NOT to keep it, and puts it back on the shelf. He thinks he should get points for that.

While that's a good decision, that's not how it works. You only get points for doing something, not avoiding something. The idea is to reward healthy actions and make them a part of your life. Here's an example of some things I do to get points.

Healthy Points Reward System

3 Points - 30 minute or longer workout. 
3 Points - 15 minutes or more of cardio.
3 Points - Entire day drinking only water.
2 Points - Writing down or logging all my food for a day.
1 Point - Eating a healthy breakfast.
1 Point - Packing a healthy lunch.
1 Point - Cooking a healthy dinner.
1 Point - For taking at least three bonus actions in a day like; standing for 5 minutes every hour, walking up stairs instead of taking an elevator, parking my car far away from the store or riding a bike instead of driving.

You can add things to your list that encourage positive behaviors. After I get 100 points I reward myself with something from my list. Here are 25 examples of things you can reward yourself with that do NOT include food.

1. Take a dog for a swim.
2. Enjoy a massage.
3. Attend an art show or gallery opening.
4. Take a walk through the park.
5. See or stream a movie.
6. Get tickets to a local show.
7. Give yourself a facial.
8. Pick out a new piece of workout clothing.
9. Go to the beach.
10. Tour a local museum.
11. Take a nap in a hammock.
12. Start collecting something like rocks, stamps or pictures of local sights.
13. Rent a kayak or paddleboard.
14. Buy a couple of new songs.
15. Download a new book.
16. Give or treat yourself to a pedicure or manicure.
17. Soak in a tub or hot tub.
18. Book a session with a personal trainer.
19. Grab a friend and take a tandem bike ride.
20. Learn a new dance.
21. Sign up for a class.
22. Visit a pet shelter.
23. Try a relaxing yoga class.
24. Buy a new plant.
25. Order a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker.

There are so many more options, only limited to your imagination. Just make sure the rewards don't revolve around food and they make you feel good. Start earning some points today.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.