It is too easy, once we finish something, to move right on to the next goal. But it is important to celebrate accomplishments.

Why? Because properly celebrating can be motivational and inspirational. It can also serve as an impetus for making progress toward other goals.

Celebrating success feels good, but it also sets you up for future success. Taking the time to recognize your achievements gives you the chance to isolate exactly what worked, so you can repeat it in the future.

Taking pride in your accomplishments by celebrating can also boost your self-confidence. Pride is one of a small group of emotions that produces success.

It Doesn’t Have to be a Ticker-Tape Parade

Your observance doesn’t have to be complicated. You can:

  • Sit quietly, relishing that you achieved something important to you
  • Go out for ice cream or coffee with someone who supported your effort
  • Call to share the news with a special family member or friend

The point is to make the celebration meaningful to you. If a team achieved the goal, find out what would be meaningful to them.

Decide When You Set the Goal how You will Mark Reaching It

When you set goals and develop action steps for achieving them, plan your celebration. It will inspire you and those around you to higher levels of performance and success.

The journey of reaching a goal is often challenging. It takes an investment of time and mental energy. It can take starting over after a setback.

Celebrating your success can make all that feel worthwhile.

Psychologist David DeSteno, PhD, says gratitude, compassion, and pride are easier to generate than the willpower and self-denial that underpin traditional approaches to self-control and grit. And while willpower is quickly depleted, prosocial emotions actually become stronger the more we use them.

Emotions experienced when celebrating are contagious. By marking your success, you give others permission to do the same.

The Difference Between a Celebration and a Reward

Celebrating is not the same as earning a reward. A reward suggests you reached the end of a process. Celebrating is about appreciating the process itself, not only the outcome.

Though the distinction is subtle, understanding the difference—and then doing both—allows you to take advantage of two types of motivation:

  1. A reward is extrinsic—when you win an award or trophy for your achievement. The trouble with reward is, it can be difficult to find the energy to engage in the task when an external “carrot” is not present.
  2. A celebration is intrinsic—it comes from within. When intrinsically motivated, people will do a job for the sheer joy of doing it.

Make Giving Thanks a Part of Your Celebration

You have been equipped with the talent, time and resources to achieve a goal important to you. I have come to understand there is a spiritual component to goal-setting. The benefit we get is who and what we become on the journey to achieving the goal.

I became more knowledgeable about money during the two years it took me to study and prepare to take the Certified Financial PlannerTM exam. I also became more resilient and determined. The process forced me to believe more in myself and my abilities, which will benefit me as I move forward.

It was a blessing to achieve the goal, and I now am using these skills to influence the lives of my clients and others in a profound way. That is something to celebrate and be grateful for!

Life is more than work. We must learn to stop, reflect, be thankful and celebrate.

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