Was yesterday a good day? Did you finish a tough project, learn something new or complete a small but important step toward achieving a much bigger goal?
More importantly, did you take the time to recognize your achievements, even if you did nothing more than throw your arms up and do a little victory dance?
Or did you simply move on to the next task, project or assignment without giving your success another thought?
Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. ~Benjamin Franklin
You’ve surely heard it before, celebrating even small successes will help to keep you motivated and energized. Not everyone agrees with this strategy of course. There are those who will argue that successfully completing a task should itself be the reward, and others will remind you it is more important to be humble and focus on learning from your failures than celebrating your wins.
Like all well-worn advice, there’s a measure of truth to each of these viewpoints, but regardless of whether you are a fan of “celebrations” or not, what I’d like you to consider today is that there is a significant difference between shouting your success to the world, and giving yourself permission to feel joy and satisfaction; to acknowledge the measure of dedication and courage – no matter how small – it took to achieve your goal.
The Long Term Benefits of Acknowledging Achievements
Acknowledging your achievements, even in a small way, increases positive emotions such as self-respect, happiness, and confidence. This is a very good thing in terms of your personal growth, but what you may not be aware of is that there is a growing body of research that associates cultivating positive emotions on a regular basis with psychological well-being, resilience and living longer.
Of course, achievements come in all shapes and sizes and while they are all worth acknowledging, some will be more meaningful to you than others. I’d like to suggest that you find ways to create memories around your most important successes, then in the future if you should have moments of self-doubt or find yourself facing a particularly difficult obstacle you will have some tangible reinforcement of what you can do when you set your mind to it and how far you’ve already come.
There are many ways you can record your achievements, for example if you keep a task list consider using it as an ongoing record. My task list is actually a spreadsheet for the year broken down by week and month, so I have a record of everything I accomplished in January, February, etc. It’s a great way to see how far you’ve come and to help plan for the future.
Here are 3 other ideas:
- Create an achievement journal. Note each success, no matter how small and give yourself gold stars. As you continue to grow and accomplish more and more goals, you’ll be able to periodically look back through your journal to reflect on all that you’ve learned and accomplished.
- Buy a special piece of jewelry when you hit a BIG goal and every time you wear it you’ll be reminded of your success. Charm bracelets are uniquely suited to this type of reward because you can buy a charm symbolizing each significant achievement.
- Begin a collection – be it stamps, thimbles, spoons, dolls, action figures, sports memorabilia etc. Each time you achieve a goal allow yourself to buy another item for your collection.
As valuable as the long-term benefits are to acknowledging your achievements, there’s no question that cultivating more positive emotions will benefit you each and every day.
Rather than dwelling on what you didn’t achieve, why not recognize the value of all that you did accomplish, and then reward yourself with a few kind words or a little pampering. In the end, it’s not the size of the celebration that counts, what’s important is acknowledging that you are growing and creating your best life.
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald
Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.
She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.
To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click “here“.