It’s you birthday – eat cake, lost 2 kilos – pani puri treat , anniversary – have dinner out, rejoice – have a drink. The message is clear: celebrate – eat!
Many times you feel you need an award for your achievements. Our reward system is based on edible prizes. When something good happens such as like buying a new car, getting a promotion at work, or achieving a self goal, then a “treat,” “party,” or at least a simple pedha is expected by friends. Distributing sweets for your good fortune is a nice gesture and part of our culture, but how do you pat yourself on the back for a job well done whether it be a promotion or getting the assignment you have been coveting, or a milestone in your life like passing out of 12th standard, or a birth of a child? In earlier days when food was less abundant and sweets were eaten only on special occasions these treats were justified. Today when all types of foods are within reach and obesity lurks in most sections of the urban population then we must alter our reward system.
Rewards are necessary, a motivation to improve, and a way to celebrate life, but when you are thinking of gestures to congratulate yourself, think of alternatives to food rewards.Here are a few examples of how to reward yourself for achievements, however big or small.

  1. Build a kitty – Every time you think you deserve a food treat, put Rs.100 aside. When it reaches a certain figure then buy something for yourself(not food!)
  2. Take a day off from the routine and do things you want to do, not have to do.
  3. Get a massage, facial, or any spa treatment.
  4. Arrange a trek with friends. Being outdoors, breathing fresh air and spending it with your friends are all great treats.
  5. Read the book you have been meaning to read without interruptions.
  6. Take a holiday or weekend getaway
  7. Give time to your current hobby – painting, singing, reading, or begin a hobby you have always wanted to try.
  8. Compliment yourself in a journal. It is something to read from time to time when to remind yourself of your accomplishments. This will make you feel great.
  9. Try something new, something you have always wanted to learn — such as a salsa class or language class.
  10. Go to a movie with a friend (skip the popcorn).
  11. Have a gaming party with your friends – board games, video games or any other games of your choice.
  12. Redecorate a room or corner of your home – use your creativity to brighten the space up.
  13. Buy flowers for yourself.
  14. Get a makeover – a new haircut, colour or both.
  15. Give to your favourite charity – believe me, it really is a reward.

Published in Pune Mirror, August 22, 2011