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Maintaining Healthy Habits-In Five Simple Steps


Updated September 28, 2012

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Step Four: Use Goals and Rewards
Maintaining Healthy Habits-In Five Simple Steps

Little gifts to yourself along the way can add the extra momentum you need!

Photo from iStockPhoto.com
Although the great feelings you get from stress management can be their own reward, in starting any new habit, it helps to also have some more tangible rewards. (Think of how teachers use stars and other tokens to encourage good behavior, or how you can train pets to do just about anything with a few small treats; none of us is above the power of a few good rewards, either.) The trick is to reward yourself for your first few steps until your new healthy habit becomes ingrained into your way of life. (The first month or so is especially important, as that’s the approximate time it takes for a new behavior to become a habit.) The rewards you give yourself are a personal choice, and you probably know what would be the best incentive for your own success, but I recommend something small and enjoyable. For example, when I first started going to the gym, I would reward every five gym visits with a new piece of workout clothing—that way I’d feel like I ‘earned’ the new outfits, and I’d also get the payoff of looking better in the dressing room each time I found myself there. Others I know have given themselves pedometers (to reward regular walking), soothing music (to reward and use with yoga practice) or beautiful new pens (to reward journal writing). For additional ideas, I suggest the following:

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