How to create your own motivation - and reward - for a new you

Setting goals and challenges for yourself can quickly overwhelm you if they're too big. A wise and more positive approach is to set a series of small, realistic goals that deliver easy successes and quick rewards.

If taking better care of yourself is one of your self-made goals, aromatherapy can help strengthen your resolve, make your efforts enjoyable and reward your successes. "Applications of 100 percent pure essential oils (which are distilled from aromatic plants) provide true aromatherapy benefits, as opposed to synthetically perfumed products," says Tom Havran, aromatherapy expert at Aura Cacia. Havran suggests trying these aromatherapy applications as original and effective motivational treats for your senses. They can reward and inspire you along the way, too.

"New you" shower wash

Every morning you wake up to a chance for a new beginning. How about some fresh inspiration with a natural, home-crafted shower wash that is much less expensive than synthetically-fragranced, chemical-laden bath products? 
Start with 4 ounces of unscented oil-based liquid soap. Add 36 drops of an invigorating essential oil, such as peppermint, rosemary, tangerine or grapefruit. For fun, try some unique combinations.

For example, mix equal parts (9 drops each) of peppermint, rosemary, tangerine and grapefruit oils. If youmassage therapy career prefer a more invigorating blend, bump up the peppermint and use less grapefruit. Use a bath sponge or loofah to work up the fragrant lather.

Here's another tip: follow up your shower with an all-over application of jojoba oil to still-wet skin - it's the best, most natural moisturizer you'll ever use.

Clean practice mat spray

If shaping up and managing stress are part of your self-image challenges, this is the time to sign up for a yoga or Pilates class.

A natural spray of purifying and deodorizing essential oils will help you care for your yoga or Pilates mat while providing an aroma that centers your attention on your practice.

Meditative oils will inspire you to breathe deeply and immerse yourself in your poses, truly connecting body and spirit, which is what these practices are all about.

Start with a spray bottle and 4 ounces of water. Add 36 drops of centering, purifying oils like sandalwood, tea tree, sweet orange and eucalyptus. Again, have fun with various combinations of all or just a couple essential oils. Shake well, spritz the mat and wipe clean.

Warming muscle soother

A great after-exercise massage oil will reward you for your workout and inspire you to maintain your exercise routine. It not only gives you something to look forward to after your hard work, but helps eliminate any soreness you may have from overdoing it.
First, choose a skin care oil as the base. For a short, friction-generating massage use a light, easily absorbed base oil like grapeseed or jojoba. For a longer massage with extended glide, choose from heavier oils such as sweet almond or apricot kernel. Start with 2 ounces of base oil. Add 18 drops of warming, soothing oils, such as nutmeg, cardamom or eucalyptus.

Havran recommends keeping the eucalyptus drops equal or less to any combination of the other essential oils, but ultimately, it's your personal preference and pleasure.

Along with your other healthy goals and challenges, these are just a few ideas to help motivate, reward and pamper yourself each and every day. To learn more about using aromatherapy and essential oils, go online and visit (ARA)