What was the last accomplishment you celebrated? Was it a big success like a job promotion or running a marathon? Or maybe it was celebrating the birth of a baby or a wedding? Was it something smaller like your kid finally being potty trained? No small feat there—that’s for sure! Maybe it was something that was seemingly insignificant like not hitting snooze before you got out of bed? Can you remember the last positive thing you did that you took time to celebrate?
I ask because I know, that in my own life, I have a hard time celebrating small accomplishments. I think it’s no big deal that I exercise for 30 minutes or more almost every day, yet not too long ago, I went from being sporadically active to exercising regularly. In the beginning, I gave myself a proverbial pat on the back for going a walks or attending a group class or boot camp. Now, I’m just hard on myself when I don’t do it. I never take the time to celebrate the fact that I exercise most days.
As I continue to bring awareness to my own thoughts and habits, I have taken notice of how unwilling I am to be content. I am regularly unkind and unforgiving to myself because I feel if I give an inch to contentment, I will become lazy and unmotivated forever. Why is that? Why do I believe feeling content or proud of a small accomplishment is somehow succumbing to the idea that I am settling for less than my best?
I’ve believed this lie for a long time and still fight it because it’s all around us in our competitive society.
Somehow, contentment has earned a negative connotation. We believe content means that we are willing to live with mediocrity. But is that true? Oxford dictionaries (thanks Google) defines content as:
Adjective- in a state of peaceful happiness
Noun- a state of satisfaction
Verb- satisfy (someone)
Where in any of those definitions, does it say mediocre? It doesn’t! Yet I know that’s how I felt about (and still struggle with) the idea of content for a long time. Until the last few years, content meant I was willing to stay where I was and not improve. That was a scary thought because I love the idea of always improving and being better than yesterday. I believed if I didn’t always do something and keep busy, I may as well be moving backwards. I wore that badge of busyness proudly as I jumped from thing to thing, simply spinning my wheels, looking to the next task or accomplishment, never taking a moment to relish in the completed tasks or accomplishments- big or small.
Although I have come to the conclusion that mediocre is OK in some areas of my life, I don’t feel like I am mediocre or that I never want to improve. I may be done making great strides in a single area, but the current baby steps are just as important as the great strides I made at the start. It’s easy to be excited and want to improve in an area where change is coming relatively easily and quickly. When results are less noticeable, they aren’t less important. When results are harder to achieve, it’s just because you are closer to your goal, and that’s when it’s most important to celebrate the small successes.
So now you’re thinking, “I get it, but what do I do about it?!”
Just ask Lionel Richie! He’s had the answer for decades! “Celebration! Good times, come on It's a celebration”
CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES!!! The success can be something simple like getting out of bed without hitting snooze or huge like running a marathon or landing that promotion! Regardless of the size of the success, celebrate it!
If you’re having a hard time finding things to celebrate, start by writing them down. Dedicate a little time before you go to bed to run through your day and bring closure to a successful moment in your day with a celebration.
Here are some simple ways to celebrate your successes—big or small:
Call a friend or family member
Go on a walk to relish in the moment and not be distracted
Share it on social media
Write it down in a journal
Post it on your mirror/wall/front door/etc
Post it on social media
Have a party (I’d love for someone to tell me they had a party because they didn’t hit snooze! Make sure to invite me please!)
Go out and celebrate by doing something you always wanted to do
Buy yourself a congratulations gift
Recognize the accomplishment, smile, and move on
You do great things every day, I’m sure of it! If you have a job, you go to work every day and contribute to our society in some way or another. If you have kids, and they are alive and well, you are a saint. Even just not yelling at your kid (or a co-worker) when they were driving you crazy is worth celebrating.
Make time daily to recognize and celebrate what you have accomplished. Who knows, maybe you’ll feel a little more satisfaction, or dare I say contentment, in your everyday life.
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