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18 WAYS TO REWARD YOURSELF - By Stephanie Osfield (weightwatchers.com) 2-15-2006 cblessum on 1/30/2007
When you were a kid, and you did something well, every now and then you got a reward. Motivating, right? Weight loss is no different. Use that same logic to make your weight-loss journey more pleasant — and your goal more attainable. Set mini-goals, then reward yourself when you meet them.

"If you don't celebrate small, everyday lifestyle changes," says Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientist at Weight Watchers International, "there will be times when your long-term weight-loss goal seems so far away that you'll despair or be tempted to give up. Having little stops to celebrate along the way makes that journey more pleasant — and your goal more likely to be achieved."

Come up with goals that are unique to you and the challenges you face with weight loss. Keep them realistic and varied, and track them closely. For example, you might make these three goals:

I will walk 30 minutes five days this week.

From now on, I will record everything I eat each day (regardless of my food intake).

I will clean up the kitchen tonight without picking the leftovers off the dinner plates.

Then, when you meet one of your mini-milestones, give yourself a reward! Just like your goals, your rewards should be varied and unique to you. And they don't have to put a dent in your wallet (unless you want them to!).

For under $5, why not …

Sip on a cup of tea in the sun.

Finish the day with a long, candlelit soak in the tub.

Enjoy a leisurely morning — take the phone off the hook and spend the morning in your pajamas reading a book or devouring a few magazines.

Savor a celebratory glass of wine with dinner.

For under $10, why not …

Open a "pamper me" bank account: Deposit $10 for every week you've stuck to your weight-loss plan, or for every pound you've lost.

Splurge on a bouquet of flowers just for you.

Take the time to give yourself a full manicure, complete with a new shade of nail polish.

Buy a relaxation tape and use it daily.

Share dessert with your partner at a café, or do a little grocery shopping and make one of the delicious, healthy desserts from the WeightWatchers.com Food & Recipes section.

For $20 to $45, why not …

Pay your neighbor's teenager to do your food shopping for you. Just make a list, then relax.

String a hammock up in the backyard and spend an afternoon napping in the sun.

Phone your distant friends. Choose a time when the phone company has low rates and you can spend hours catching up.

Enjoy a new haircut or color.

For over $50, why not …

Devote the entire day to a shopping spree for a new pair of shoes.

Splurge on a bottle of expensive champagne — just because you deserve it.

Rent a sailboat with friends and spend the day soaking up ocean breezes.

Sign up for a membership to your favorite art gallery, or subscribe to a theater company for the next season.

Hire a maid for the day — to cook and clean while you kick back.