While big wins are feel great, do you take to to celebrate achievements?
There is substantial significance both in accomplishing an outcome AND stopping to celebrate the progress made. It is not either/or but both. Each achievement will precede a moment of celebration. The celebration then is tailored to the scale and significance of the accomplishment. Given that many people travel from goal to goal, achievement to achievement, and fail to stop to do a stock-take about their actions, the act of celebration can often be an accomplishment in itself!
Stopping to celebrate will often create a platform for the following next goals to be built upon. The celebration begins with an opportunity to acknowledge the skill, talent and hard work that led to the achievement and derive any learnings along the way that might be relevant for the future. Rushing to the next objective without celebrating can lead to missing insight to build on.
So why celebrate achievement?
There are two main reasons for celebrating your achievements. You build confidence in yourself and increase motivation. You’ve done a great job. Allow yourself to smile about it! Endorphins are released when you celebrate. You feel incredible, and when you don’t celebrate, you rob yourself of this experience that reinforces the behaviours that see you succeed in any challenge.
Over time, what has become clear is that in the absence of that stock-take, individuals roll on to the next achievement, never realising the progress made, either through learned experience or accomplishments that contribute to the individual’s definition of success and identity.
Secondly, it offers a benchmark on where we have come to where we can go. Like the old saying “looking back, moving forward” touches on the learnings from one success can help form decisions for another and push us essentially “onwards and upwards”. It is a special kind of motivation that encourages us to achieve more and reinforces our internal powerhouse of action. If we ignore the chance to celebrate the steps along our journey, it can lead us dissatisfaction and impact our mental health. We may feel incomplete when we don’t take a moment to look at how far we have come. Yes, there are always hurdles. There are setbacks. It’s not called a challenge because it was easy, no voyage fairs the best weather. But when these hurdles occur, in my celebrating the success, you can hone the skills to see you succeed over anything that comes your way. Rather than feeling small and lost within the moment, you can be bold in action and triumph.
One of the most powerful exercises I do for myself and my clients is a 90-day stock take, where we document and reflect on the many achievements over the last three3 months and draw insights from the challenges that may have occurred along the way.
- What were your most significant achievements over the last 90 days?
- What were your most significant greatest challenges, and what can you learn from those?
- What were your most outstanding greatest achievements during the previous ten years?
- How can you build on those accomplishments in the future?
Once you’ve reflected on the above questions, consider what achievements deserve a celebration, even in retrospect. Why is a rest or a break valuable between your past, current and future achievements? As you set new goals for the future, reflect on how your past successes set you up for success. Success building is like training at the gym – each repetition and each new weight adds substance and strength to the next or future achievement. This is especially true when reflecting on previous successes and how these apply to future scenarios.
These questions are not just a “tick the box” and move on exercise. Practice over time with a degree of consistency is required for the most beneficial outcome. Some may look at these weekly and examine what went well. It may be that you’re not celebrating success at all by patting yourself on the back for handling different situations. While perhaps not a milestone, these are all successful actions on your life’s path.
This extends to those in your inner circle or at work. Many may be caught up in today’s fast-paced world (mainly business) and miss these moments of kindness. A simple thank you offers far more than just words. It recognises the hard work of another and extends the same productivity and motivation you find when acknowledging yourself. Failing to celebrate these accomplishments fails to identify the importance of the teams you work within. It can make a day in the office feel mundane, and your team results lackluster (when you’ve entirely crushed it!). Not only does celebrating achievement increase performance, but it tightens your network. In celebrating wins, creativity flows, ideas for innovation occur, and motivation is unstoppable.
Take hiking, yes, there are brilliant views at the top, but did you notice the light between the trees? Did you stop after a steep section and take in the fresh air? These are all moments of accomplishment along the journey and, when looking back, are just as special memories as reaching the peak itself.
So, how do you celebrate achievement? There is more to it than just thinking about it. Even writing it down is a physical act of showcasing pride and one way to celebrate success. But celebrating success is personal to you. The impact can be felt with a physical reward as it’s a physical act of self-love. You don’t have to rush out and buy the biggest and best thing to celebrate your success. My business manager buys a can of Fanta at a time of success, something kept from childhood, reserved for those “huzzah!” moments. Linking success to reward is a quick way to feel the impact significantly. It might look like a cup of coffee, taking an early afternoon to walk on the beach, a massage. Whatever makes you smile and whatever the achievement calls for.
No matter your goal, practice the small wins. A dollar saved towards a holiday, cooking a new meal to kick start a health journey, teaching a puppy a new trick. It is one step closer to where you want to be. The more you acknowledge this personally and professionally and extend it to others, the more you celebrate successful behaviours, inspiring passion and fuelling motivation. You wouldn’t be here today without all wins behind you, from great to small and sometimes reflecting and acknowledging in a way meaningful to you is all you need to do to celebrate.