What Are Your Treats?

A treat is different from a reward, which must be justified or earned. A treat is a small pleasure or indulgence that we give to ourselves just because we want it. “Treats” may sound like a self-indulgent, frivolous strategy, but it’s not. Because forming good habits can be draining, treats can play an important role.

Treats give us greater vitality, which boosts self-control, which helps us maintain our healthy habits. When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and contented, which in turn boosts self-command —and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits.

A little treat, in the form of receiving a surprise gift or watching a funny video, gained in self-control. It’s a secret of adulthood: If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish.

When we don’t get any treats, we feel depleted, resentful, and angry, and we feel justified in self-indulgence. We start to crave comfort—and  grab that comfort wherever we can, even if it means breaking good habits. “I deserve this, I’ve earned this, I need this”…loophole-seeking!

For something to be a treat, we have to think of it as a treat; we make something a treat by calling it a “treat.” When we notice our pleasure, and relish it, the experience becomes much more of a treat.

Summing-up: We should all strive to have a big menu of healthy treats, so that we can recharge our battery in a healthy way.

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