We celebrated New Year’s Day not too long ago. Chances are a lot of you wrote down a list of New Year’s Resolutions. I wrote down my list, just like I do every year. However, maybe some of you have grown discouraged in your resolutions already. You wanted to exercise more? Three days a week, thirty minutes each? Well, that certainly didn’t happen. With your current part-time job and trying to find a full-time job, you may barely have a half-hour to even exercise. Just like last year. Oh, and that whole eating healthier thing? Yeah, that was a good laugh, wasn’t it? Looks like this year’s resolutions will end up the same as last year’s. In the garbage. However, before you go chucking all your resolutions out the door, I want you to take time to think. Have you exercised at all this year? Did you have a salad for lunch at least once? Or maybe a smoothie for breakfast? Or did you ever say no to a dessert you really wanted at a party? I’m sure you haven’t completely failed your goal. Maybe you’ve been able to exercise once a week for thirty minutes. Maybe you try to eat healthy five out of the seven days of the week. Those are successes. Exercising one day a week is better than what you used to do. Eating healthy five days of the week is better than your former count of zero days a week. Look at your goals. You wanted to exercise more. The three days a week, thirty minutes each is the ideal schedule, but one day is more. And you wanted to eat healthier. Five out of seven days a week sure seems to be eating healthier than before. So, you need to celebrate these successes! You are achieving your goals! It’s so easy to get discouraged when we aren’t achieving our ultimate ideal of perfection. But if you celebrate each little success, you may find yourself even more motivated to continue meeting your goal! For a while, I told myself that celebrating the little successes was a waste of my time. My goals weren’t met if I wasn’t working on them. I was so wrong. Everyone needs to take the time to celebrate their successes. Even if that celebration is something small. Because those celebrations are what you need to keep moving forward during the hard times. They’re something to look back on when the going gets tough and to propel you onward. But how do you celebrate exercising? Or eating healthy? Or other practical goals? Here are two small ways to celebrate the little successes:
1. Reward yourself!
This doesn’t have to be something big. Maybe you’ve always been eying a certain coffee mug or you’ve wanted this new graphic tee. Why not buy it for yourself in celebration of a success? By rewarding yourself, you will be encouraged to work hard for that next success. I’m a writer, so at the beginning of January, I set myself a goal of writing one hundred words a day. When I was in college, I never had the time to write anything other than essays, so I got out of the habit of writing. Now that I’m graduated, I’ve wanted to start writing again, but finding the motivation and inspiration has been very difficult. It’s almost as if I’ve forgotten how to write! However, I set the goal of one hundred words a day, and as of today, I haven’t skipped a day. When (not if!) I complete my goal, I plan on buying the last Harry Potter book in the series that I need (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the curious readers). Having the complete series is something I’ve wanted ever since I first read the Harry Potter series, so this is a great motivator for me! So treat yourself! Did you exercise once or twice a week every week for a month? Go buy that shirt that you’ve been wanting, because what an accomplishment! Did you eat healthy for five out of seven days every week for a month? Get that coffee mug. You deserve it for that kind of success!
2. Take a break and relax.
You’ve been working hard to reach your goals, and that’s amazing! But if all you do is work, you’ll eventually burnout. Take a break! Have you been sending out ten resumes a week trying to find that full-time job? Have you been working tirelessly every night searching job boards and trying to find your dream job—or just any job at this point? Take a break. Re-energize yourself for the upcoming week. Watch a movie or go on a walk or have an at-home spa day. If you take this break now, you’ll find yourself feeling much more refreshed and ready to do more later. Do you struggle with feeling bad in taking a break, though? Do you constantly think of all the things you have to do? Wyatt Dalton wrote a wonderful post on learning how to take a break that I would highly recommend you check out. Because breaks are necessary. They’re necessary to recharge and to be able to continue working hard. Making Progress I hope you’ve realized the importance of celebrating even the little successes in your lives. I myself struggle with taking time to celebrate, so I understand that it may be a challenge. However, I strongly believe that if you take the time to reward yourself and to relax, it’ll be worth it later. Because when you find yourself struggling with your goals, you’ll be able to look back on those celebratory times, smile, and keep pushing forward. Written by Megan R. Shupp