Recently, we had the great fortune of paying off all of our credit card debts. This has been one of our objectives for many years, and with a few clicks on the computer’s mouse, it was done. Right now, we have zero credit card debt. Wow! It’s kind of surreal, to be honest. I was chatting with Michael about it, and I mentioned that I thought I would feel different. But it seems super anticlimactic. There was no phone call congratulating me on adulting well by paying them off. I didn’t get an email saying, “Great work, lady! You are not paying interest on your purchases! Job well done!” There was no one celebrating my wins.
Nope. None of that transpired. Nothing changed.
Then, I thought about how I feel when I make mistakes versus when I reach my goals. As explained in my self-compassion blog, I’m excellent at berating myself; that took years of practice. I haven’t been as diligent about celebrating my successes as vehemently as I torture myself over my losses. Assuming I’m not the only one who does this, I chose to share what I’ve learned.
Ways to Celebrate
Create a Vision Board AND An Accomplished Board
I asked my dear friend Julie once, “Where do I put the pictures I take off my vision board after I have accomplished or bought what I’ve been working so hard toward?” Taking them down and tossing them to the side didn’t sound like the appropriate thing to do.
She suggested I design an “Accomplished Board” and place it right below my vision board. Being reminded of all that I have achieved makes me feel fantastic about my hard work. Looking at this daily reminds me to smile and celebrate my wins.
When we reach a target, I think most of us downplay it and not celebrate it. If we want to reward the behavior of winning, then it’s an excellent plan to associate success with positive emotions. When we acknowledge our achievements, we reinforce the sensational feelings we have when we reach our goals. We desire to do it again so we can feel good again.
As you achieve your goals, it is essential to praise yourself. You can be your own cheerleader. For example, I can state, “Terrific job, Juliana! You are a hard worker, and when your mind is focused, you are unstoppable!” This makes me feel good just writing it, much less saying it out loud or out loud in a mirror. It’s essential to recognize each effort toward your targets, no matter how small, celebrate your little wins. A small goal for a salesperson may be to make a phone call, email, or social media post to share his/her product. For a writer, it may be to write 500 words every single day for a week. Without these small steps, you are unlikely to reach your objectives.
Take a Gratitude Pause
Health and Wellness Coach Gail Smith stated, “For me, nothing beats the power of practicing gratitude to celebrate your small wins. I find it helpful to take the time to pause, reflect, and appreciate my effort. Being grateful for these small successes brings a deeper connection to the work I am doing every day. Celebrating these wins with gratitude makes me happy and reminds me of my purpose.”
When I quit drinking alcohol 7 months ago, many suggested writing in a gratitude journal daily. I love it because it pushes me to reflect on my big and small triumphs. For instance, I may note something as simple as, “I’m thankful for the ice/snow days this week so that I can spend more time with my husband, teens, and toddler. I’m grateful I completed my workout today, even though I wasn’t in the mood. I’m thankful my 3-year-old gave me an enormous hug and announced, ‘I love you, Mommy!’” There isn’t much on this planet more awesome than toddler arms wrapped around your neck and squeezing. It’s nice to have the journal as a reference to reflect and review all I’ve achieved. Also, focusing on what’s going right in my life is beneficial to staying positive and optimistic.
Take a Deep Breath
According to the article, “30 Ways to Celebrate Your Success”, another simple technique is to take a deep inhale and appreciate this moment. Meditation teaches us that this very moment and this one breath are all that we have, so why not stop, be still, and be present with it. When practicing visualization, you take the time to feel the elation of the win beforehand. You imagine what it would feel like in your body. Are you smiling? Do you scream with excitement and dance around? Does your tummy flutter? Do you look in the mirror and say, “Good job! I’m proud of you! Keep up the excellent work?” I realize this may sound slightly awkward, but it all leads back to practicing self-love and caring for ourselves with kindness. When we treat ourselves as an ally, then we experience a more pleasant existence. You would praise the success of a friend, so why not celebrate your own wins?
So, take a deep breath and agree to soak in every second of that wonderful feeling. It’s the exhilaratingly feeling of accomplishment and feeling gratified with yourself for setting a target and reaching it. You worked hard, and you earned this moment of happiness. It’s ok to take the time to celebrate your wins. In fact, it’s critical to be still and know you did a magnificent job.
Tell a Friend or Family Member
Another way to celebrate your win is to tell someone you love so that you can experience it together. Have a nice dinner or FaceTime, and share your excitement with those who have supported you along the way. Thank them for being there for you while you were working toward your goal. When they tell you how awesome you are, accept and enjoy the compliments. Often we dismiss the praises of others, just like we dismiss our wins. Say thank you and be grateful for knowing people who will honor you.
Some additional ways to appreciate your achievements are watching a TV show or movie, reaching out to others, supporting them in realizing their goals or doing something you enjoy but seldom take the time to do. You can take the day off from work and spend it with family, take the dog for a walk or treat yourself to a spa day full of relaxation.
I encourage each of you to take the time to pamper yourself when you work hard and accomplish your goals. Please leave a comment below stating how you reward yourself for attaining a goal and celebrate your wins.