Personal Growth | Routines & Habits | Self-Care

161 Smart Ways to Reward Yourself (Without Food!)

Self rewards that make you feel good

What are good rewards for yourself?

Rewards for positive reinforcement are commonplace for kids. (The popularity of them in our home is telling).

But, did you know that rewarding yourself is extremely beneficial for adults!? In fact, a reward is required for any goal or habit!

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How to reward yourself in a healthy way pin

Here’s Why:

EVERY habit that you have has three parts.

  1. Cue: What’s the trigger? What craving are you trying to fill?
  2. Habit: The action or routine.
  3. Reward: Wahoo! Your brain likes this. The habit is worth doing in the future.

Sometimes the reward is a natural consequence, a bonus at work, or a simple mark off a self-care checklist. But physical rewards or experiences can play a HUGE role in keeping you motivated and making progress.

The Problems With Rewarding Myself

the problems with rewarding myself

Now, while the science is solid, I often face two issues with rewards.

Do you have these problems too?

1. All I want is to reward myself with food. Really, chocolate.

While this sounds innocent enough, the truth is that it is a subtle self-sabotage of bigger goals. It’s hard not to love sugar.

2. I don’t want to spend a fortune.

How can I reward myself without money? Or at least a lot of it?

It is possible to solve both of these problems!

That’s why, in this list of non food rewards, the free/cheap adult reward ideas have an asterisk beside them.*

That way, if you’re looking for something that’s not going to blow the budget, it’s easy to find!!!!

Different Types of Self Rewards

Obviously, different rewards fit for different areas of life, your interests, budget, and how big the goal/habit is.

Therefore, the rewards are varied and split into:

  • Rewards that support your physical health
  • Ideas that build your mental health
  • Self rewards that deepen relationships
  • Reward ideas that make you feel good
  • Fun nature indulgences

Regardless, ALL of these rewards CONTRIBUTE to a healthy, happy, and impactful lifestyle!

Plus, it’s beneficial to build with multiple small rewards to keep you going while you’re putting in the most work. So, use different ones along the journey to your big goals!

161 Reward Ideas for Adults

Use them for weight loss, business goals, new self-care habits, anything!

Healthy Body Rewards

Reward yourself with body healthy rewards: non food ideas

These non food rewards will encourage and inspire you on your health goals journey!

  • Pick up a motivating fitness magazine*
  • Invest in a piece of workout equipment (weights, stationary bike, yoga mat, etc.).
  • Purchase a new outfit.
  • Sign up for a health subscription box.
  • Invest in quality plates and kitchen utensils. (Make the plates a little smaller and you’ll automatically eat less!)
  • Buy a cookbook you’ve been wanting to try (or check it out at the library).*
  • Meet with a personal trainer, nutritionist, or health coach.
  • Indulge in a fresh veggie juice at a healthy restaurant or market.*
  • Purchase a new swim suit.
  • Buy new undergarments that make you feel amazing.*
  • Invest in a gym membership (or digital membership for at-home workouts).
  • Buy workout clothes that you love.
  • Take a salsa dancing class on youtube.*
  • Build your perfect workout playlist.*
  • Purchase an app or program that supports your physical health: Noom, My Body Tutor, and Weight Watchers are just a few examples.
  • Donate a pound of food for each pound you’ve lost. (What an awesome visual for losing weight!)*
  • Splurge on the best fresh produce and goods at the Farmer’s Market.*
  • Set your screensavers to an inspiring photo or a picture of the progress you’ve made.*
  • Buy a supplement you’ve been wanting to try.
  • Try a meal planning service to help delegate future work.

Self Care Rewards for Yourself

Self care rewards for yourself

Rewarding yourself can be indulgent with these ideas!

  • Get a manicure or pedicure (or do your own*).
  • Allow yourself to do an at-home self-care retreat.*
  • Get a massage (professional or from a loved one).*
  • Take yourself on a solo date.
  • Take a nap.*
  • Go to bed early.*
  • Buy essential oils.
  • Invest in a sanctuary spot in your home. Dress it up with soothing candles, pillows, etc.
  • Purchase products to create a soothing skin care routine.
  • Sit in a massage chair for 5-10 minutes.*
  • Listen to your favorite podcast for extra time.*
  • Splurge on a babysitter for the night and take time for yourself instead.
  • Have a movie night with your favorite childhood movie.*
  • Get your eyebrows professionally done.
  • Go to a local book store and spend a few hours checking out the latest magazines or new books.*
  • Invite friends over for a relaxing night catching up.*
  • Let yourself sleep in for a day.*
  • Spend a few hours at a pet store or snuggling with your furry friends at home.*
  • Take an hour to sign up for birthday freebies and spoil yourself on your birthday.*
  • Have a pajama day. Allow yourself to stay in your jammies all day.*
  • Order a fancy new (healthy) tea or coffee to try.*
  • Take the night off from responsibilities. Let someone else cook dinner, clean up, etc.*
  • Spend the entire day hanging out at the library, reading whatever you want.*
  • Color in an adult coloring book.*

*Need a self care boost? Sign up here for the free 2-page toolkit! (along with access to much more!)

Relationship Rewards

Rewards for yourself and your loved ones.

These experience rewards for yourself allow for fun and strengthening of connections!

  • Schedule a coffee date with a friend.
  • Go stargazing with your favorite person.*
  • Sign up for a creative class with someone you love (cooking, painting, etc.)
  • Go to a concert.
  • Hit the movie theater for a recent blockbuster. (Or a drive-in movie!)
  • Go to a comedy club.
  • Attend a sporting event.
  • Find a new activity you’ve never done (escape room, axe throwing, painting party, etc.) Check Groupon!
  • Book a night at a bed and breakfast.
  • Grab the ladies for a fancy food date or chick flick night in.
  • Meet your partner for a healthy restaurant lunch date.
  • Visit a monument, zoo, or museum.
  • Go to the symphony, play, or other arts experience.
  • Take a vacation (or weekend road trip) with someone you love.
  • Spend the night in a hotel with your family.
  • Check something off of your bucket list (Get ideas for spring, summer, fall, holiday, and winter + each post has family and adult lists!)*

Self Rewards That Make You Feel Good

Self rewards that make you feel good

Next, these ways to reward yourself are meant to bring joy and pleasure in general! They also make great ways to treat yourself on a tough week!

  • Get a fresh hair cut or color.
  • Buy something fun at Target.*
  • Hire someone to clean your house.
  • Take your car to get professionally cleaned/detailed.
  • Have a movie night with a movie you’ve been wanting to see.*
  • Take a mental health day off of work.
  • Buy some fancy pens.*
  • Pay someone to mow your lawn.
  • Splurge on a new coffee cup or tea cup.*
  • Buy a piece of art or a photograph that inspires you.
  • Purchase music that motivates you.*
  • Take a lesiure trip to the library. Peruse books and read quietly just for fun.*
  • Sign up for a conference or seminar you’ve been wanting to attend.
  • Give yourself a night to “do whatever you want.” No guilt.*
  • Binge on a tv series others have recommended to you.*
  • Transform your bedroom into an oasis. Add twinkle lights, nice lamps, pillows, etc.
  • Sign up for a meal delivery service (technically food, but it’s more about food coming to you!)
  • Splurge on nice photos of yourself or your family.
  • Buy a new purse.
  • Look up stand up comedy on youtube and spend an hour laughing.*
  • Take a joyride in the car driving by a pretty view.*
  • Get a hair blowout.
  • Get a pet you’ve been wanting.
  • Get fitted for a bra.*
  • Spend extra time working on a hobby you love.*
  • Buy something special for that hobby you love.

healthy feel good rewards for adults, woman enjoying herself and no food is involved

  • Purchase new makeup or sunglasses.*
  • Perk up your work space. Buy a plant or new candle.*
  • Buy yourself fresh flowers.*
  • Give yourself a gift card to your favorite place.*
  • Hire someone to fix up your home (a painter, carpenter, etc.)
  • Buy yourself new luggage tags (or luggage).* (Great when hitting a savings goal for a vacation)
  • Purchase a new pair of earrings you love.*
  • Tell your mom, sister, or best friend about your accomplishment. Celebrate with someone!*
  • Pay your child $5 to do extra chores around the house.*
  • Test drive your dream car.* (Great when saving for a new car)
  • Walk through your dream home models.* (Great when saving for a new home)
  • Create an Amazon wishlist.*
  • Spend a few hours going through past photos.*
  • Cash out your credit card rewards and spend $100 on something just for you. (Not the house, the kids, etc.)*
  • Take a free online class learning about something you’ve been wanting to for awhile.*
  • Take a free library class that looks interesting.*
  • Spend the afternoon playing video, computer, or board games.*
  • Eat on your best dinnerware, and light dinner candles just for fun.*
  • Upgrade your phone, ipad, or computer. (Great for work goals)
  • Buy a new app or computer game you’ve been wanting.
  • Buy a magazine you don’t normally let yourself purchase.*
  • Buy one thing off of your favorite Pinterest board.
  • Hire someone to do your laundry. (Or hire your kids for a weekend!)

How to Reward Yourself With Nature

How to reward yourself with nature

Finally, outdoor rewards are practically free! You can’t get better than the beauty of nature!

  • Take a hike out in nature.*
  • Walk through a botanical garden.*
  • Head to a park and watch a sunset. (bring a bottle of champagne to toast your accomplishment!)*
  • Take yourself on a picnic.*
  • Go camping (or glamping).*
  • Travel to visit a beautiful natural site you’ve been wanting to see.
  • Lay in a hammock for several hours in your backyard or park.*
  • Have a bonfire or fire pit night with someone you love.*
  • Pick out something beautiful to plant in your garden.*
  • Hit the beach for a day and bask in the sun and sand.*

Have a specific goal, but you’re not sure what reward to pick?

Leave a comment below, and I’ll help brainstorm possibilities. 😊

Or check out this video for a few other examples:

Need help getting to the reward stage?

First, read this list of healthy & happy habits to figure out what your goal is.

Then, use the following tips to make it happen!

And again, utilize the rewards above during the process for extra motivation!

Check out this article on forming better habits for more!

How to Follow Through: Actually Reward Yourself!

follow through on rewarding yourself

Finally, force yourself to enjoy the rewards! Sometimes, it’s difficult to celebrate our wins before we’re on to the next thing to do.

So, tell a friend or partner your goal AND your self rewards. Let them help you follow through and celebrate together!

To Consider With Non Food Rewards for Adults

Phew, I hope you enjoyed this HUGE list!

What are your favorite ways to reward yourself? I’d love to know!

*Read here for rewards to motivate your kids!

Other personal growth posts you’ll enjoy…

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4 Comments

  1. Love this list, Kate! Especially #5 – wear a fancy outfit on a regular day. I thought I was the only one who did this! It’s a great way to keep my spirits up during the winter when I am prone to cold weather blues. Adding bright accessories and sassy boots to an outfit really is a pick-me-up.

  2. What would be a good non-food reward for memorizing a packet of crucial information for work? (1 packet per week)

    1. Hi there!
      The right reward for you depends on your interests and budget, but here are some fun work related ideas that could work:
      A scheduled “mental health” time to unwind once the work is done, a coffee date with a friend, purchasing music that helps you work or unwind, or some fun items to spruce up your workspace. I hope these ideas are helpful for you! Good luck!

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