Reaching your fitness goals is a long, slow journey. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and, if you’re in the middle of your health journey, you know that better than anyone.
For every fifty-pound weight loss, CrossFit competition victory, toned stomach, or finished marathon, there were thousands of micro decisions along the way. Thousands of workouts. Hundreds of skipped desserts. Dozens of protein shakes.
So, along the way to your biggest goals, celebrate the milestones along the way. First of all, celebrations are fun, and that’s reason enough. But, beyond that, acknowledging and celebrating your progress will help you stay motivated to keep pursuing your goals.
And, on the days when donut cravings hit hard and you don’t feel like showing up for 6am Spin class, that extra motivation might be all that keeps you going. So, here are six ways to treat yourself and celebrate your fitness progress.
TRACK YOUR EFFORTS (NOT THE RESULTS)
First things first: you can’t celebrate your progress if you aren’t tracking anything. Especially at the beginning of your fitness journey, it’s easy to feel like you’re not making any progress at all if you’re not paying attention.
Your jeans are still tight, that number on the scale isn’t budging, and you’re already sick of chicken breasts. At that point, you might be tempted to throw in the towel if you’re not tracking other areas of progress.
Instead of focusing on the results (pounds lost, muscle gained, races won), track your effort and your input. How many days in a row have you showed up at the gym? How many times have you had a green smoothie for breakfast instead of an Egg McMuffin? Are you drinking 10 glasses of water every day? Are you skipping that second glass of wine? Are you logging your goal number of reps during every workout?
Track those effort-based metrics, and throw yourself a mini party any time you complete something ten, or twenty, or thirty days in a row.
GET SOME NEW GEAR
Nothing’s more motivating than a new piece of gear to flash in the gym (or in the kitchen). Next time you reach a milestone in your health journey, celebrate with something fun.
If you’ve reached a workout milestone, get a new pair of running shoes, cute workout leggings, or a fancy gym bag. If you’ve reached a healthy eating milestone, get a fun water bottle, a new set of meal prep containers, or a helpful cooking tool.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
Have you logged twenty-five gym sessions in the last month? Celebrate by mixing up your workout and trying something new. Go on a bike ride with a friend, take a kickboxing class, or find a rock climbing wall near you.
Trying a fun new exercise activity will keep you active, give you a new challenge, and keep you from getting bored with your workouts.
GET A MINI-MAKEOVER
You’ve been treating your body well lately, with consistent workouts and a clean diet, so maybe it’s time to celebrate with a little glam session. Schedule a haircut, get a manicure with a friend, or just pick up a bold lipstick for a new look.
And this isn’t just for the ladies! Gentlemen, you too can schedule a haircut, get a massage, or upgrade some piece of your wardrobe as a reward for your hard work.
GIVE YOURSELF A CHEAT DAY
Sometimes, it just isn’t a celebration without cake. So, if you’ve tracked your progress and reached a big milestone, give yourself a day to enjoy a favorite treat. Stop at your go-to bakery, get that venti caramel macchiato, or enjoy a big steak dinner with your family.
If you want to keep things in moderation (and you don’t want to risk falling off the health bandwagon), you can still have celebrate with a mini cheat day. Buy a few special ingredients for a healthy dessert recipe or treat yourself to a specialty smoothie or cold-pressed juice.
REFLECT AND KEEP GOING
Finally, take a deep breath and allow yourself to fully recognize your hard work. Take a few minutes to experience gratitude for your progress so far, reflect on the successes and challenges of the previous month, and bring your focus to your next steps.
What’s your next big milestone? What’s working for you (or not working for you)? Do you need to make any adjustments to your diet or workout routine?
A little bit of focused reflection will help to keep you on track and motivated.
Okay, friends. It’s time to start tracking your metrics, celebrating your milestones, and reaching for your next big goal. We’re cheering for you!