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Does this sound familiar?
You start a new habit, only to quit in frustration a few days later.
Unfortunately, this is a common experience for many people who want to lose weight, increase productivity, or stick with a new exercise routine.
Why does this happen?
Well, one reason folks struggle is because it’s really hard to stay consistent when they don’t see immediate results from their behavior change.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to stick with your habits, goals, and tasks:
Reward yourself whenever you reach an important milestone or achieve a specific goal.
The logic here?
Having something to look forward to makes it easier to stick with a habit when you’re feeling a lack of motivation (or when you’re simply too tired to get started).
In this post, I’ll go over 205 rewards for yourself when you complete an important habit, task, or goal.
But first, let’s answer a simple question:
Why Should You Reward Yourself?
Almost anyone you ask is probably trying to form a new good habit or improve something about themselves, and a large group of those people will often talk about how much they struggle to do so.
As an example, every year on New Year’s Eve we make “resolutions” of something we want to do better, but if you ask most people, they have probably given up by March. This could be partly due to them not rewarding themselves!
As you work towards a goal you can give yourself rewards for completing milestones to help avoid burnout and stick with your new routine or habits.
It’s important to recognize your own progress, so that you do not become drained by the effort you are putting into a new habit. Rewards help to give you small incentives along the way and remind you why you are working so hard.
Studies show that giving yourself healthy treats is important for achieving your goals and will make a big difference in how you feel about your goals. Though some may think of rewarding yourself as frivolous, it really is key to forming new habits.
There are many benefits to rewarding yourself, rewards can:
By giving yourself small rewards or healthy treats, instead of resenting each step of your journey, you can instead look forward to milestones, by giving back to yourself along the way.
Read on for 205 ideas on how to reward yourself so that you can achieve anything you put your mind to!
Entertainment Rewards for Yourself
After a long hard day of working towards a “better you”, it is nice to treat your senses to some good old entertainment. Whether it is art, music, television, or a live performance, giving your brain a creative break is the perfect way to reward your efforts.
- Do a fun activity with your kids. (Here are 88 enjoyable activities you can do with your kids.)
- Enjoy a laugh at a local comedy club. (In fact, watching successful comics is a great way to improve your humor skills.)
- Go to a carnival, festival, or arts and crafts show.
- Go to a concert.
- Go to an art gallery.
- Indulge your senses with a season pass to the theater or opera.
- Learn a new skill. Sign up for a class to learn a skill you’ve always wanted to learn.
- Listen to an awesome podcast. Here are 23 motivational podcasts, 17 meditation podcasts, 27 funny podcasts, and 19 happiness podcasts that you can check out.
- Listen to music that motivates, energizes, or relaxes you.
- Marathon your favorite show on Netflix.
- Plan a night out with your friends.
- Play a Wii game.
- Play pool.
- Play your favorite online game.
- Attend a drag show. Check out a drag show in your area because why not? Read this first though: How to Attend a Drag Show for the First Time
- Attend a sporting event.
- Subscribe to a premium Spotify membership.
- See a movie in the middle of the day when the theater’s not full.
- Sing karaoke. Check out karaoke channels on Youtube.
- Take a cooking/pottery/photography class.
- Throw a big party.
- Visit the museum. Start with the “free” museums.
- Watch (or re-watch) a movie at home. (Here’s a list of our favorite philosophical movies.)
- Watch all the cute animal videos on YouTube you want.
- Watch bloopers and funny videos on YouTube.
- Read a few chapters from a new book, or re-read one of your favorites.
- Buy a new board game to try at home.
- Challenge yourself to an escape room with friends or family.
- Watch some inspirational TED talks on your break.
- Write down a funny story you have and switch with a friend or colleague.
- Get a new toy and play with your pet (like a laser pointer!).
- Work on a puzzle.
- Paint a picture, try a paint-by-number if you want something more structured!
- Tune into a live stream from your favorite Youtuber
- Find a fun DIY craft that you can do with stuff around the house.
- Go to the zoo for the day and enjoy all the animals with childlike wonder!
Food Rewards for Yourself
Food is an important part of culture and the human experience, so giving yourself a special food treat can be a great way to re-energize and keep yourself motivated!
WARNING: One thing before we get started, any reward you choose shouldn’t derail your goals or habits.
For instance, if you’re focusing on weight loss and you achieve a breakthrough, don’t pick a food reward, because that completely defeats the purpose of your accomplishment. Keep this rule in mind as you go through this list.
For example, if you are working towards weight loss and you treat yourself with unhealthy food every time you lose a certain amount of weight, or go a certain amount of time eating good foods, this can set you back instead of helping you achieve your goal. You should find a different type of reward to help you stay focused on eating well and staying consistent with your diet.
- Enjoy this green superfood drink in the morning.
- Buy your favorite pastry or cake.
- Cook your favorite dish. Use all those expensive ingredients.
- Treat yourself to a meal kit delivery service for a few weeks instead of cooking.
- Drink a glass (or two!) of wine.
- Eat at your favorite restaurant.
- Give in to your sweet tooth by buying your favorite candy.
- Enjoy your lunch outdoors.
- Make a gourmet dessert.
- Make your own chocolate fondue.
- Order in.
- Take a break from work and buy your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt.
- Treat yourself to a smoothie or milkshake.
- Buy some fancy cheese and crackers.
- Go for a nice coffee or hot chocolate in a cafe.
- Invite some friends to go try a new cocktail in a nice bar.
- Have a family BBQ with your favorite meats and/or vegetables.
- For a big milestone go to that expensive restaurant you have always wanted to try.
- Have pancakes for dinner with fun toppings!
- Buy yourself a nice bottle of your favorite liquor to enjoy with someone you love.
- Try a new food from a different country you have never tried before – it is almost like traveling!
(If you’re looking for the opposite, here are some rewards that don’t involve any food.)
Free Rewards for Yourself
Rewarding yourself doesn’t always have to be expensive, in fact, there are many rewards you can give yourself for FREE. Here are some of our ideas for awesome free treats to celebrate any milestone.
- Call (or spend a day with) a friend or family member who makes you smile.
- Color. Check out these fun adult coloring book options.
- Create a private space at home where you can relax.
- Dance and sing.
- Designate a lazy day and do absolutely nothing.
- Do a crossword puzzle or word search.
- Draw or doodle.
- Do a little gardening.
- Enjoy a bubble bath or a long shower.
- Enjoy an at-home spa day.
- Go screenless for an hour –specifically take a break from social media.
- Host a game night and play classics such as Pictionary, Twister, and Charades with friends.
- Knit, crochet, cross stitch, embroider, or sew.
- Lie in a hammock.
- Light candles and relax or, better yet, light scented candles.
- Play poker or another card game with friends.
- Re-organize your closet.
- Sit on a porch swing.
- Take a selfie.
- Take a short break during the workday.
- Take photos.
- Visit the library or bookstore all by yourself.
- Volunteer at the local shelter.
- Write a note to a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. Include a note about how you’re thankful for how they’ve positively impacted your life. (Here’s a simple process for writing a great thank you note.)
- Let yourself sleep in.
- Make (or watch) a funny TikTok or reel.
- Search for free local plays, exhibits, or shows and go enjoy them!
- Go to a local make-up store where they give free makeovers.
- Take a moment to share your success on social media to get external motivations from mutuals.
- Watch a live concert of your favorite band on Youtube.
- Build a blanket fort to play with your kids or just to feel like a kid again!
Self-Care Rewards for Yourself
In the hustle and bustle of every day we often don’t take enough time for ourselves. Self-care is not only important for your overall well-being, but can help you get the break and self-confidence you need to keep working toward your goals.
- Book a session with a personal trainer.
- Get a manicure or pedicure (or both).
- Get a new hairstyle or try a fresh hair color.
- Get a new tattoo or piercing.
- Get fitted for a new outfit or undergarments.
- Get fitted for workout shoes at a running store.
- Get some new shades for outdoor exercise.
- Get yourself a bottle of fancy shower gel or lotion.
- Head to a salon to get your eyebrows waxed or threaded.
- Hire someone to clean your house.
- Invest in some moisture-wicking workout socks to avoid sweaty feet!
- Invest in a fitness tracker to motivate you even more.
- Put off today’s to-do list until tomorrow.
- Meet a friend on a Saturday morning for a cappuccino or brunch.
- Pamper yourself with a week at a luxury spa.
- Practice mindful writing.
- Sign up for a charity walk or running event.
- Sign up for a healthy subscription box.
- Sign up for a Sumba or pole dancing class.
- Take a day off work for no reason at all.
- Take a five-minute self-esteem breather.
- Take a guilt-free nap.
- Take time to do your hair and makeup.
- Take your car for a detailing.
- Treat yourself to a massage or facial.
- Try a new mindfulness exercise (Here are 71 great suggestions to get started.)
- Try aromatherapy—a safe and natural way to treat various ailments.
- Watch a YouTube makeup tutorial and experiment.
- Wear a new scent that pleases you.
- Wear something that makes you feel confident.
- Work on your hobby or a craft project that you enjoy. (You can get started with these 55 hobbies for women and 60 hobbies for men.)
- Write in your journal. (Here are 33 journaling ideas to get you started.)
- Schedule a professional portrait shoot.
- Go to sleep early.
- Buy a package for laser hair removal.
- Purchase some natural products for your hair or facial hair.
- Get your teeth whitened.
- Buy yourself a more ergonomic desk chair.
- Take a break and go to a yoga studio or do yoga at home.
- Take a quiet moment to meditate.
- Try a DIY facemask for relaxation and healthier skin!
Buying something new is a great way to reward yourself! A new purchase can be functional or simply something you enjoy, but either way it is sure to give you a boost in your mood and inspire you to keep working on your new habits.
- Begin a “rewards savings.” Reward yourself with money. Every time you reach a goal, add $5, $10, or $20 to your “rewards savings” account.
- Begin a collection—be it stamps, action figures, sports memorabilia, etc. Enjoy the thrill of seeking, owning, and growing your collection.
- Brighten up your goal calendar with stickers. Use stickers to highlight achievements and emphasize deadlines.
- Browse a flea market, antique shop, or thrift store. Maybe you’ll finally find that one piece of furniture you’ve been looking for.
- Buy a car or home stereo, or a big screen TV. Reserve this splurge for when you achieve big goals.
- Buy a fancy new water pitcher or bottle—a perfect reward for meeting a fitness goal.
- Buy a lottery ticket.
- Buy a new painting for your living room or bedroom to brighten up your surroundings.
- Buy a new app. Whether it be a game app or something related to your goals, buy that premium app you’ve been wanting for a while.
- Buy a new book and read it. Buy a hardcover copy of a book on your reading list and schedule uninterrupted time to read it. (We have an ever-growing list of over 250 books that we recommend checking out.)
- Buy a new purse or laptop bag. This is another splurge reward you can give yourself when you achieve a significant milestone.
- Buy a new workout DVD. Give yourself permission to try a new workout once you reach a previous goal. This also helps keep exercise interesting.
- Buy a new workout outfit—a perfect reward for meeting a weight goal.
- Buy a plant for your bedside table or garden. Plants in your workspace promote happiness and productivity.
- Buy a small personal blender for smoothies and protein shakes.
- Buy and hang a bird feeder and sit and watch the birds.
- Buy one thing off of your Pinterest boards.
- Buy or make a special piece of jewelry.
- Buy something that will make your workspace more enjoyable, like a new picture frame or a desk toy.
- Buy yourself a fresh bouquet of flowers to display in your home.
- Buy yourself a nice journal to write reflections, emotions, goals, and dreams in.
- Buy yourself a pretty scarf or hat and wear it to motivate you.
- Give someone an unexpected gift to show gratitude.
- Buy a magazine about a topic you like.
- Buy some brand-new makeup.
- Buy a pair of high-end wireless headphones.
- Buy colorful shoelaces to perk up your walking shoes.
- Redecorate your bedroom.
- Shop sales racks for discounted clothes and accessories.
- Buy a new set of pots and pans to make your cooking more enjoyable.
- Get a fancy coffee maker to start your days with great coffee!
- Buy a nice new mug you can drink out of while you work.
- Buy a new cookbook with fun new recipes to try / this can convert to food rewards later!
Travel & Outdoor Rewards for Yourself
Getting outside is really important for mental health, and rewarding yourself with the time to get out and explore nature or travel is an excellent way to celebrate milestones and rejuvenate your mind and body.
- Adopt a dog, your new walking buddy.
- Build a fire and enjoy its comforting warmth.
- Discover a local hot spot or tourist site you’ve never taken the time to visit.
- Enjoy a leisurely morning walk at the park.
- Take a nice hike by yourself or with friends.
- Enjoy the flowers at a botanical garden.
- Find a peaceful place outside to sit and do nothing for a while, soaking up the sun or feeling the gentle breeze.
- Fly a kite.
- Go bowling with friends.
- Go camping and enjoy some fresh air.
- Go canoeing, paddle boarding, kayaking, or surfing.
- Go for a nice bike ride.
- Go for a swim.
- Go geocaching.
- Go horseback riding.
- Go star gazing.
- Go to the mall and window shop (or people watch).
- Have a picnic for some quality family time.
- Plan a weekend getaway with your significant other.
- Plant a tree in your backyard.
- Play frisbee.
- Sit at the beach when it’s empty because everyone else is at work.
- Spend a Saturday night at a quaint bed-and-breakfast.
- Spend a week visiting your favorite national park.
- Take a cruise to Hawaii and learn to snorkel.
- Take a joyride with friends or family.
- Take a mini-vacation.
- Take a riverboat or sailboat ride.
- Visit a pick-your-own farm or orchard and harvest sunflowers, strawberries, apples, and other homegrown treats.
- Visit a winery, take a tour, and sample the product.
- Visit the dog park.
- Watch the sunrise before you even think about work.
- Go to a special high point in town to enjoy the sunset.
- Go birding in urban parks or further from the city.
- Explore your garden or park to see what interesting insects you can find.
- Volunteer with a parks organization to help with park maintenance and learn new things!.
- Drive to nearby towns and walk around to get to know the area.
- For a large milestone, plan a trip to another country you have always wanted to visit.
- Go outdoor climbing, sign up for a class if you are new!
- Find a local spot where you can fish or just enjoy the water.
- Take the time to practice photography in your local park.
- Block off the time to visit a friend or family member who lives in another city.
- Buy yourself a nice outdoor chair to sit on in the mornings while you have your coffee.
Check out this list of outdoor hobbies you might like to try!
Final Thoughts on Rewarding Yourself
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to reward yourself. Some are small rewards that are a few minutes long and don’t require any money, while other rewards can be both costly and life-changing (in a positive way).
And remember, when using this list, make sure that the rewards match the accomplishments and you stay consistent.
If you are working hard to make better habits for yourself but could use some more ideas, check out our article on How to Build Good Habits!