We’re wrapping up our series on goal setting, and what better way to end than in celebration! In Constructing an Action Plan, I mentioned the importance of taking time to celebrate your success during the process. When you celebrate, you release dopamine inside your brain, which has enormous reinforcement benefits (we train our dogs in a similar manner when rewarding with a treat). When you make major accomplishments toward your goal and don’t take the time to celebrate, you are robbing yourself of the important feeling that reinforces your success. The key to success is staying patient and realizing that our big goals aren’t going to happen overnight. However, if we celebrate all the accomplishments along the way, we can sustain the momentum to stay focused on the end goal.
Before discussing how to celebrate, we need to talk how lapses are inevitable. Long term habit formation will be derailed by the occasional miss, but don’t let this get you down. Being perfect isn’t the goal, staying on track is–therefore getting back on track right away is as well. Forgive yourself for the occasional miss. If you’re continuously struggling to stay on track, use the notes on your performance to identify friction and ask other people for their ideas on what you could do. This may help you see your plan in a different way. If you’re really stuck, take a break and re-read your motivation for the goal you wrote down when you started.
The first step to celebrating success is being able to recognize when it happens. You should have decided on micro-goals by now. Figure out a way to track progression toward these goals. I like to keep a success journal that includes a habit tracker to show consistency with my process, along with keeping track of progress toward the desired outcome (ex. weight loss) and qualitative metrics that include things such as feelings about myself as I progress toward my goal and compliments from others.
I use this journal to reflect whenever I need motivation as well as when I’m overcoming a lapse. It reminds me that I am successful and that I can succeed because I’ve succeeded before. Maintaining high levels of self-belief is important. Conversely, by not noticing, downplaying or thinking your success came down to luck, you may be telling yourself you haven’t done enough to be proud of and you don’t deserve to celebrate. That’s detrimental toward your goal.
How to Celebrate
Once you have identified your success, you may wonder how you should celebrate that success! Your celebration doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can be something you do alone or something you share with others, it’s really up to you. It just has to make you feel good and help you enjoy your accomplishment (without being damaging to your progress).
One important aspect I think everyone should consider is sharing the news with everyone who is supporting you in your journey. Don’t forget to thank them for their help supporting you! Reflect on what you enjoyed and learned along the way. Your own celebration will be contagious and those around you will want to share in your success as well. In a peak state, you feel you can accomplish anything. When surrounded by others who are also in a peak state, it’s natural to look for ways to collaborate and strengthen your network of achievers.
Take time to celebrate. You worked so hard to accomplish what you have. It won’t be long before that goal is a distant memory and you’re on to bigger, more challenging goals. We are all destined for enormous accomplishments, and by taking it step by step, you can climb that ladder. Thanks for letting me be a part of your journey!
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Want to connect further about personal coaching, speaking opportunities or other engagements you think I could help you with? Connect with me or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and as always, special thanks to my editor and partner Gaby Deimeke.