It’s no secret I love Gretchen Rubin and her books and her podcast. Her recent book, Better Than Before, is all about habits, and she offers strategies and tips for creating, keeping, and breaking habits.
One tip for keeping a habit is this concept of “treats.” Giving myself treats is something I’ve used frequently in the past to enforce my good habits. Gretchen cautions that there is a difference between treats and rewards. You earn a reward. And, for me, (and maybe for others, too) that can be dangerous.
For example, “I exercised today! I deserve a huge cheeseburger, fries, and a milkshake.”
Maybe that works okay for some people, but not for me. Rewards have a sneaky way of undoing all the work I’ve done. And in the past I’ve “rewarded” myself as a knee-jerk reaction to something. Not because I carefully considered it.
Now, treats are different. Especially healthy treats. Treats are a way for me to encourage myself to keep going. Treats motivate me to get to a milestone. Treats are things I think of in advance and plan to give myself.
I try to keep my treats healthy, easy, accessible, and free. The items on my treat list don’t always meet that criteria. But most are pretty close.
Here are a list of my favorite treats:
+Listening to podcasts while I do some sort of chore. Whenever I have to clean up the kitchen, gather up the trash, do the laundry, etc…I get to listen to a podcast. I hoard them until these moments (usually), so it makes me look forward to listening. My favorites are Happier with Gretchen Rubin (obviously!) and the Girl Next Door Podcast.
+Calling my mom. My mom lives close by, so we see each other as often as we can. But we call and text each other frequently. Even if it’s just a few minutes, I look forward to connecting with her quickly.
+A good body scrub. I’ve tried tons and tons of body scrubs, but the lavender salt scrub from Trader Joes is my favorite. At $6, it won’t break the bank, and when I use it, I feel like I’m at a spa.
+Dairy Queen. This is a BIG treat and one I only get a couple times a year. I’m a member of the Blizzard of the Month Club, so I receive emails about the latest and greatest blizzards. I patiently wait for one that particularly calls to me (usually something peanut butter chocolate), and Dan and I make a plan about when we will have it. And I enjoy every last bit. No guilt.
+Drinking coffee in the shower. I totally stole this from my friend, Kelsey. She posted about it, and I thought I’d try it. And I’m so on board. Every morning after my work out, I pour myself a steamy mug of coffee to drink. Yep, in the shower. I’m fortunate to have a big shower with a bench, so I can sip and then sit my coffee on the bench where it won’t get water or soap in it.
+Watching YouTube videos. Specifically beauty videos and plan with me type videos. These are like a comfort food to me. I could watch them for hours and hours. It’s such a treat for me to settle into our bed after I get Thomas down (and Dan is busy with the big kids) and pull up a video. Most are anywhere from five to ten minutes, the perfect amount of time to sneak in a quick treat.
+Clean sheets and towels. If I could, I’d change our sheets and towels daily. Sadly, I just cannot keep up that pace. So Sundays are my sheets and towels day. I love tossing in the loads, I love putting the loads in the dryer, and I love knowing that Sunday night I’m slipping into clean sheets. It really sets the tone for my week.
+Reading. I love reading, and I try to read several times a day. I sneak it in while I’m blow drying my hair (Yep, while I’m drying my hair. I have a Kindle, so I can prop it up), while I’m eating lunch, in the car pool line, and in bed before I fall asleep.
+Browsing around Target/World Market/the Mall/basically any place as long as I’m alone. Truly, a great fantasy of mine is to be alone. I am never, ever alone. I can’t remember the last time I was alone. So a great treat would be slowly window shopping, touching all the beautiful things I can’t have because my kids will break them.
+Listening to music. I love music, but I’m usually listening to Les Mills music because I’m reviewing tracks for teaching. But, I try to give myself a break from running through choreography in my head and create a playlist in Spotify of all my favorite songs, old and new.
+Drinking coffee in the afternoon. Around 2 p.m. I need a re-set. I fire up the Keurig and drink a hot cup of coffee in the afternoon to keep me firing until bedtime. Such a delicious treat.
+Voxer. I am obsessed with Voxer. I’m currently Voxing with Kelsey, Erica, and Katie. (If you want to Voxer with me, add me!). It is such a treat to hear the kind and supportive messages these ladies leave. It almost makes me tear up because I just yearn for their friendship. I look forward to listening to their message AND sending them messages. These messages make my day, several times a day.
+Fresh flowers. I love buying myself fresh flowers, and I do it often. When I’m at the grocery, I take a look at what’s on sale, and if a bunch looks good, I get it for myself. Try it. You’re worth it. I just loving seeing them on my kitchen island.
+Lighting a good scented candle. I love a good candle. I do find it hard to find candles that actually throw a scent. Usually Yankee candle is a good bet. I love lighting it for the flickering light and the scent.
+Getting rid of stuff. I love love love getting rid of stuff. Feels so good I even wrote a guide for it. Ask me to come clean out your closet. I find it very relaxing.
+Creating and organizing lists (and planning). I love planning and organizing. It’s a treat to have a few minutes to myself to re-organize a list and plan out my to do list.
+Flipping back through my own Instagram feed. I just love scrolling through my own Instagram pictures. It always reminds me to stay positive, reminds me of all the good in my life, and makes me smile. (Also I can see how far I’ve come. I’m super happy to NOT be pregnant right now.)
In writing this list, it’s occurred to me that my treats bring me great comfort. I build them into my habits and routines to create creature comforts for myself that bolster me when life smacks me in the face, as it often does. These little treats keep my soul happy.
I’m dying to know: what are your favorite treats? Please share, so I can add them to my list!