With any fitness journey, you don’t want to sabotage yourself. That’s why it’s important to find ways to reward yourself without food.

Rewards are the pinnacle of progress. It’s what drives us for everything. As we work toward our reward, we learn and grow. Our brains applaud us by releasing dopamine (reward chemicals) when we learn something new. Mix this with the endorphins (pleasure chemicals) earned from exercise and your brain is having a party.

When it comes down to it, we want recognition for our hard work. Implementing a regret-free reward system can do this.

Reward yourself without food

Why Are Rewards Important?

As humans, we tend to resist change unless it gives us pleasure or some sense of control. When we get a reward, the stimulation in our brains drives us to seek more. In evolutionary times, this is what motivated humans to hunt and explore. Even today, experiencing the stimulation of rewards can influence our choices in life.

Having a reward to strive for will push you to start. Receiving rewards along the way will keep you motivated. Over time your actions will become a habit, and your fitness a part of your normal lifestyle. Instead of resisting change, your brain will be promoting it.

Milestone Rewards

It can be difficult to stay motivated for a goal you can’t see; where there’s no guarantee. That’s why visualisation and regular rewards are so effective.

Milestone rewards promote awareness and make your end goal more foreseeable. The trick is not to quit. Having milestone rewards along the way will help you on your fitness journey. On top of that, the natural rewards will start rolling in!

How to Choose a Good Reward

When it comes to rewards, it’s important to choose something that’ll give you satisfaction. Match the size of the reward to the size of your achievement. Have a few options, immediate rewards, and longer-term.

Most importantly, choose something that you genuinely enjoy so it motivates you.

Best Ways to Reward Yourself Without Food

Check out these ways to reward yourself without food, including free rewards and fast rewards! They’re comprehensive and easy to apply:

1. Arrange a special catch-up with friends

2. Create your own ‘zen’ room for timeout

3. Get a massage

4. Try a new hairstyle

5. Get a manicure or pedicure

6. Take a day trip somewhere fun

7. Try your luck with a lottery ticket or scratchies

8. Have a date night and indulge in some romance

9. Go to a concert or music festival

10. Get creative with arts and crafts

11. Show off your singing with Karaoke

12. Catch a movie (something you really want to watch)

13. Redecorate your bedroom

14. Play snooker

15. Go bowling

16. Host a party

17. Go Horseback riding

18. Plan a holiday

19. Go to the Club

20. Take a short cruise

21. Get a tattoo

22. Play video games

23. Go camping

24. Go skating

25. Organise a babysitter and have a day completely to yourself

Reward yourself without food - horseriding

Celebrate Your Efforts

Try some rewards centred around your hard efforts:

26. Share your progress on social media

27. Create a photo collage of your body transformation

28. Try something you used to find difficult and marvel at how you’ve improved (bush hiking, swimming, etc)

29. Get a make-over

30. Start a blog, sharing your thoughts and success!

31. List down all your proudest achievements and hang them somewhere for a constant reminder

32. Try something new that you’ve always wanted to do

33. Get new gym equipment

34. Use apps to log your progress and compare your results between now and 6 months ago

35. Buy yourself a new workout outfit

Free Ways to Reward Yourself Without Food

Too broke to indulge?  Here are some ideas that are easy on the pocket:

36. Sunrise session – enjoy the peace and quiet with your coffee and a great book

37. Have a bubble bath or a long hot shower

38. Spend a day at the beach

39. Create a home day spa – experiment with YouTube hair and makeup tutorials

40. Sunset snaps – find a high vantage point, soak up the views and take some stunning photos

41. Play board games, even host a games night

42. Check out free venues like the museum, art galleries, community theatres, or exhibitions

43. Dress up and take some glam shots for your Instagram profile

44. Go stargazing – a great way to tune out and remember what’s really important

45. Listen to your favourite podcasts

46. Explore a part of town you’ve never seen

47. Create a wish list on Amazon.com – digital window shopping can be fun

48. Play cards – you may even win some cash on poker!

49. Go dancing

50. Skype a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile

51. Kick back with some Trashy TV

52. Try meditation

53. Test-drive your dream car

54. Check out all the latest pop-culture online

55. Go on a Haunted Hunt, checking out all the spookiest places in town

56. Learn a new party trick

57. Take a leisurely bike ride

58. Have a guilt-free nap!

Fast Ways to Reward Yourself Without Food

No time for pampering? Try these quick solutions:

59. Try aromatherapy – certain scents can promote ease and relaxation

60. Treat yourself to a low-calorie chocolate banana smoothie

61. Buy yourself flowers or a nice plant

62. Skip your cleaning day

63. Go for a joy ride

64. Check out your horoscope, do a free online tarot card reading

65. Play with your kids – don’t worry about organising them, just be with them.

Reward yourself without food - flowers

Work Hard and Treat Yourself!

Hard work pays off, it’s that simple. If you think of all your proudest moments in life, it was most likely a result of hard work. Fitness is no different. Stick to your regime, reward your efforts and learn to be your biggest cheerleader. With the effort you put in, your body will reward you in the most significant ways.

So, why not give this list a try? You deserve it 😉

Got a reward that isn’t mentioned here? Share your ideas and help grow this list.

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  1. Hi, this really is a comprehensive list and I love that there are free options included. I’m going to bookmark this for future reference. I’m not seeing one of my favourites, reading! I do love a lot of these options though like massage, manis and pedis. Those are already on my list actually and I’m seeing more to add so thank you. However, given my interests and blog I can’t NOT mention getting a new charm, that’s a great way to make your achievement memorable as well 🙂 What are some of your personal favourites?

    • A new charm is fantastic! I love your article on Ways to Wear Charms and how it explains that charms tell a story. Having a visual reminder telling the story of your achievements is a great idea. Massages and arts and craft are my personal fav, and reading too. I’m glad you found this helpful. Thanks for reading and your suggestions.

  2. Oh my goodness, I love this! There are so many brilliant ideas here. I am a sucker for celebrating with food. I love dessert and it typically tastes better when I’m celebrating.

    However, I think I’ve celebrated enough, seeing as all those celebrations are going straight to my hips lol.

    So I am glad I have found your list. I love the idea of getting a new tattoo. I myself have 3 tattoos and they are all symbolic of something in my life. I love the idea of having a permanent celebration to remember.

    I also love the idea of getting a massage. That is one of my favorite ways to treat myself and relax, so why not celebrate with that. I am bookmarking this post for the next time I want to celebrate something in my life, but don’t want to turn to food.

    This is awesome and I will be sharing it with my friends! Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Madysen, I’m glad you found this helpful. Celebrating with food is our most natural reaction, that’s why I thought this list may be handy. It’s good to be able to celebrate, knowing it won’t undo our hard work. I love your points on a tattoo being symbolic and a permanent celebration. Massages are one of m personal fav too. Thanks for reading and sharing with your friends, much appreciated 🙂

  3. Really nice list you put together. All sorts of rewards, that don’t always cost you anything. Also, I think they work for a lot more than fitness. This could also very well be a list for students rewarding themselves for a hard day of studying, or for yourself after a few hours of household work 🙂

  4. I already feel rewarded by just learning of the ‘dopamine’ and ‘endorphins’ chemicals. 

    I am that type of person that will always find satisfaction in food. Why not reward myself with a huge bar of chocolate? 

    From your list, I realize that there are many ways indeed to reward myself. Time to ditch the all time ‘food party’ reward and maybe try out new adventures. I feel like the sports adventure is more it.

    Thank you for this list.

    • Glad you got something out of it Carol, lol, we can’t underestimate nature’s reward system. Chocolate can be a weakness for many of us! But I can highly recommend these rewards instead, they definitely work. Enjoy your sports adventure, thanks for reading.

  5. I agree you will probably reach your goals much sooner if you have a reward system. It works well with some medical aids where they give their members rewards for keeping fit or losing weight, and in the long run, they end up paying less when people don’t get sick so often.

    I love that your list of rewards don’t have anything to do with food, but are just as good if not better than food. You have motivated me to go for a spa treatment once I have lost another two kilograms.

    • Hi Michel, glad you liked it. That’s so true, reward systems contribute greatly to goal achievement. I’m glad this has motivated you, enjoy your well-earned spa treatment when the time comes! Thanks for reading.

  6. Excellent and detailed list of stuff to reward yourself. I am sure anyone can find something from this list that they like to do and that way reward themselves, also gives me motivation to keep up the hard work. Thank you very much for this helpful post , I am sure going to apply at least some of these activities 🙂

    Best Regards,


    • Hi Alex, I’m glad you found this helpful. Rewards are a super driving force for motivation! Enjoy your fitness journey and apply these ideas. All the best with it, thanks for reading 🙂


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