What Gets Your Tail Wagging?


My dog loves treats. I know you may be thinking, “What dog doesn’t?” But my dog is obsessed with them.

When I take him for a walk, he leads me directly to all the stores that have doggie treats outside their door. I swear I could blindfold him and he could do the cookie-trail run all on his own. Those small treats make his day.

It got me wondering about how often we give small treats to ourselves, to make our day brighter. Sometimes we treat our dogs better than we treat ourselves.

 “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous  small treats.”
Iris Murdoch

In the interest of self-care, I decided to make a list of all the small treats I could get obsessed with. The majority of these small pleasures don’t cost much in the way of time, money or calories. Here are some of the things I came up with:

My favorite small treats:


-sipping flowering tea from an antique tea cup

-savoring a truffle from the local chocolatier

-a vase of fresh daisies on my desk

-honeysuckle scented candles

-soaking in a warm bath with scented oils

– new, thick, white bath sheets

-alone time in a cozy cafe

-going for a bike ride along the lake

-getting a new hairstyle

-reading a novel by a sunny window (or in the backyard when the weather is nice)

-listening to my favorite records…on a record player!

-getting a Ferrero Roche gelato from the Italian place a few blocks away

-taking a general interest course

I could go on and on, but this is not just about me. How about you? What are your favorite small treats?

When I ask my coaching clients this question, they often have trouble coming up with even a couple of things. Sometimes we’ve denied ourselves small pleasures for so long that we can’t even think about what would add a little joy to our day.

If that’s the case for you, consider starting a list and adding to it over the next few weeks. Spend 5 minutes a day thinking about it, and asking, “What small treats would I like?” Once you’ve come up with a few, start giving them to yourself…not because you accomplished something great, not because you worked so hard, not even because you feel you deserve it. Do it just because you love and approve of yourself unconditionally. After all, that’s why you treat your dog (or kids) so well, isn’t it?

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This post has 9 comments

  • Kathy Davidson says:

    My daily workday treat is a chocolate mint “Pep” after lunch. I’ve also carved out a very precious read time in the food court from aound 8:00-9:00 AM before heading up to work.

  • Twila Peck says:

    Boy, we really don’t love ourselves unconditionally, do we… we’ve been conditioned/taught not to.
    So… maybe I should think about being my own grandparents? (Mine have all been long passed away.) My own dog? (Ditto.) My own cat? Well — cats feel so entitled, maybe that’s not a good role model!
    Lots to think about here, seriously.

  • Karen M says:

    Watching a favorite episode on tv, or getting a pedi even though it’s not summer yet (let someone else do the work, and relax!

  • Yury Wu says:

    Read the pile of newspapers that have been sitting there all week waiting to be read! Catching up with the news makes me feel like I know what is going on around the world.

  • sylvie says:

    That last part about…treating ourselves, just as a sign of unconditional love… wow… huge eye opener.
    I already have a list but… the problem was that often my self talk would go something like this… ok so just get “whatever project… usually something uninspiring like laundry, cleaning, ect” done and then you can take time for you to relax and treat yourself to “a nice espresso” “book” “long bath with essential oils” “work on your art”.
    Problem is, I often under estimate the time to accomplish those projects… which leaves me frazzled, short on time and too exhausted to enjoy my treat… so maybe that’s the key… treat just because… and do it daily… I do it for my cat… so why not for me. Makes complete sense – thank you Hellen

    • Stephanie says:

      Well said, Sylvie. Using treats as rewards actually de-motivates me from doing what needs doing! Using treats just “to make our day brighter” reveals how simple things can make a big difference in our outlook.
      One of the treats I give myself is to find something to enjoy in the moment – putting my baby down to nap with MY favourite music vs. standard lullabies; playing a game of spider solitaire or sudoku on the computer before I shut it down; even consciously feeling the warmth of my coffe mug in my hand mid-morning.

  • Luzia Light says:

    Love it! Great reminder.
    It reminded me how happy a scoop of vanilla icecream in a waffle makes me. I put it on my list of things to do for tomorrow!
    Thanks Hellen!

  • Neelo says:

    I love when I have alone time. that is my all time favorite treat. I make tea, any tea can’t be bothered with the type, read my fav. book and sometimes, just set and listen to my heart. It was pretty boring at the beginning until I got a hang of it 🙂

  • Ivan Murcia says:

    Thank you for inspiring me to do a small treats list!