By Guest Blogger Danielle Pastula

Ice cream, bottomless mimosas, a giant cupcake from Baked & Wired, or a homemade Ted’s Tart from Ted’s Bulletin might be on the list for things you love to indulge in, don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to stop having those things.

 After all, moderation is key. We know swearing off some of your favorite vices will only lead to a binge session later, but in that same vein, have those things too often and it’s not really a treat anymore.

 One of the biggest factors in people getting derailed from their health and fitness goals is feeling like they can’t control their cravings and need for indulgences, but what if you didn’t have to hold back so much?

 What if, instead, what you needed to do was shift your mindset to indulge the healthy way?

 Re-think Treating Yourself

 Most people think of treating themselves in the form of food and drink because that’s just how our society has framed the word indulgence.

 Well, any fan of the show Parks and Recreation knows that the art of “treating yo’ self” has little to do with food and more to do with giving yourself a gift that you’ll truly enjoy, one that typically lasts longer than a 45-minute brunch. (If you’re not a fan of Parks and Rec, treat yourself to this quick video to see what we mean.)

 Instead of automatically defaulting to food when you’re in the mood to give yourself a treat for getting through a hectic work week, hitting a goal, or to cheer yourself up, think about what other things can bring you more happiness in the long-term.

 Make it About Self-Care

 Now this is the part where we make treating yo’ self a healthy practice.

 If we’re going to shift our mindset from rewards being food and drink to something else not as detrimental to our health and fitness goals, we want to go in the opposite direction, which would be indulgence in self-care.

Self-care practices can vary widely from taking time to meditate in the morning, to giving yourself an extra 15 minutes to enjoy the sauna, to getting a massage, or simply taking time to drink your morning coffee without looking at a screen.

Find something that gives you joy in addition to benefiting your well being, and treat yourself to that. Even if you don’t have a solid reason other than working really hard and feeling like you deserve it.

DC Cupcakes

Give Yourself Milestones

At this point you may tossing your hands up in the air saying “Yeah, if I could treat myself to an afternoon at the spa every week, I’d happily do it!”

Now hold up.

We understand that looking at indulgences in this mindset can cost a lot more than buying a fancy cupcake every week, but that’s why it’s crucial to incorporate milestones to keep you on track and motivated.

If you’re truly treating a treat as a treat, once a week might be too often to gift yourself a more costly indulgence, so save those things for the big milestones like hitting a quota at your job, landing a new account, or finishing your goal of working up to running 5 miles straight. Whatever it is, put big prize items on your bigger goals.

For something smaller like powering through a crazy week at work or getting your entire house de-cluttered and clean, treat yourself to a new book and some time to curl up and read it. Smaller accomplishment, smaller treat.

All in all, there’s no problem with giving ourselves a treat for a job well done, it only starts to become a problem when we over-reward ourselves with things that don’t benefit our overall wellbeing.

So we want to know, what are your favorite healthy ways to treat yo’ self? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!