Growing up, my parents would reward my sister and me for things such has getting good grades and helping with chores. They both had their own ways of rewarding us. Our dad would take us for a treat (he has a sweet tooth) and our mom would create fun activities (she loves to play).

I have followed this pattern into my adult life by rewarding myself in diverse ways. I used treat myself to sushi or really good whiskey (I currently have at home Johnnie Walker Swing). In the past year however, I have changed it up from rewarding myself with an indulgence to things that are more memorable.

I realized that getting a drink just filled time, and I wanted more than sashimi to reflect my hard work to get to where I am both physically and mentally. I was craving rewards that have a lasting impact. I wanted pause, reflect and say “Wow that was awesome.” No amount of alcohol or food could bring me the same joy as kayaking with friends, taking a painting class with my family or bike riding alongside alligators as we did in the Shark Valley Trails (grew up near the Florida Everglades).

I shared with my friends and family that meaningful leisure time has become really important to me and is very fulfilling. They get it and know that a memorable experience costs about the same amount as dinner. Now I get calls to explore and found more enjoyable ways to celebrate my accomplishments. I love having fun plans to look forward to.

If you’re looking to add variety to your life, here are 10 ways I enjoy celebrating triumphs big and small:

1. Work on a puzzle - Puzzles improves memory, heighten creativity, and it’s a great way to exercise your brain for a few hours.
2. Take a field trip - Think about how excited you used to get as a kid on field trip day! It’s time to bring that excitement back. When was the last time you went to see a friend that lives an hour away? Nothing like playing catch or throwing a Frisbee around.
3. Live entertainment - Go to that play or show that you have been meaning to check out. Check out a local band. Live entertainment is not only stimulating, but it’s also inspiring to see other people showcase their talents.
4. Take a class - It’s never too late to learn something new or refresh your skills. Many community colleges offer low cost or free classes that are open to the public.
5. Buy yourself flowers - Nothing spruces up a room like fresh flowers. They are vibrant, bright and a great reminder to keep your mind in bloom.
6. Go to a museum - Maybe you aren’t in a town with as many museums as we have in DC, but every city has their hidden gems. Check out this article about why museums are so wonderful.
7. Explore the outdoors - Check out a new hiking trail, take a new walking path (one of our favorites of course), or ride a bike. Curiosity for nature opens doors mentally, breeds creativity, and spurs imagination.
8. Play games - Invite friends over for a game night or go to a trivia event at a local spot.
9. Give back - Maybe someone you know or don’t know could use a hand. There are many ways to volunteer in your community such as serving food at your local shelter, joining and trash pickup or even helping a friend accomplish chores. It feels good to make a difference in someone’s life.
10. Day dream - Find a relaxing place to sit, and give yourself permission to daydream. Click here for a great post on the benefits of daydreaming.

Remember that every activity is unique. It can be an adventure, a new opportunity to explore, or a fun challenge. Imagine if all adults brought a childlike energy to their day, workplaces, and the pursuit of their own goals? We would definitely see an increase in passion for life and authentic smiles.

Have you tried any of these ways to reward yourself? We would also love to hear about any other activities you do. Let us know in the comments below!

until we netwalk again®