“I did such a great job, I deserve this.” Who hasn’t said that in front of some cookies or ice cream?
“I worked hard. I earned this.” Who hasn’t said that before lazily neglecting something important, calling it indulging themselves?
“This employee has never made a mistake. Let’s promote them.” How many managers have rewarded box-checking behavior like that?
If you tell yourself, and behave accordingly, that something unhealthy is a reward, you tell yourself that something unhealthy is good. You train yourself to do the unhealthy thing more. You create unhealthy habits.
I recommend not doing that.
You can find healthy things to reward yourself with. If you don’t think a mango could reward you as much as ice cream, that’s because you’ve trained yourself to value ice cream! Train yourself to appreciate fruit and you will. And you’ll lose your appetite for candy.
Splurge on a massage if you want to indulge yourself. Or better, in my opinion: get a significant other to give you the massage. You’ll save money, feel good, and oblige yourself to return it some day, deepening your connection.
Or indulge in exercise. If you don’t think exercise can feel rewarding, you probably trained yourself to dislike it, and not value the glorious feeling of exhaustion.
Rewarding yourself with healthy things is easy, though it takes time to develop the mindset, and it works. It trains you to create healthy habits and behavior. What else do you want for yourself and the people you care about?
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees