This time of year is full of celebrations for significant academic achievements. Whether you are acknowledging a loved one who graduated from university, a family member who completed high school, or a friend who finished a Master’s degree, the annual traditions to recognize such successes create feelings of joy that palpably permeate through the air.
After the tassels have been shifted, caps thrown, cake sliced, toasts delivered, gifts unwrapped and memories shared, we often slip back into the same routines of daily life, waiting anxiously for the next big event. But why do we wait to celebrate? Further, while we often plan out elaborate events to recognize others, why do so many of us, especially women, forget to celebrate our own accomplishments throughout the year?
There are many benefits to routinely and intentionally acknowledging your wins. The most obvious is that, for many, it simply feels good to celebrate with your teammates or give yourself a pat on the back. But the benefits extend beyond fleeting feelings. When we mentally realize we have achieved a goal, our brains release feel-good chemicals like dopamine and endorphins, creating a sense of a natural high. Our brains are naturally inclined to repeat activities that replicate this release of happy hormones, which over time, can lead us to build positive habits that inspire further successes.
On the flip side of the coin, not recognizing your wins and continuing in a mundane manner can train your brain that checking items off the to-do list isn’t that rewarding, leading you to be de-motivated to accomplish future tasks.
Unfortunately, many individuals, especially women, are conditioned to minimize our achievements and not share our wins so as to not appear braggadocious or egotistic. However, as discussed above in brief, this is a healthy and positive routine to develop. If you would like to celebrate your own accomplishments, below are a few tips to help you build up this healthy practice.
Write It Down: Starting small, one of the easiest ways to recognize you achieved a goal is to write it down for the most important person to see - you! Keeping a journal or a list of accomplishments can be helpful personally, as it can help build self-esteem, and professionally, as it aggregates your wins into one place that is easy to reference come to your annual review. Writing things down has been proven to improve your memory¹ of the thing you are scribing. Thus, if you want to work towards cementing your worth and ability to achieve, make a habit of recording your accomplishments every time. You can even take this exercise a step further and reflect on the achievement to assess what led to it, to ascertain how you can replicate similar success in the future.
Treat Yourself: As Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle reminded us Parks and Recreation fans, we should always take time to treat ourselves. This especially rings true when we have accomplished a goal. It feels good to recognize the occasion with something that we love. Whether it is favorite food or beverage, a trip to a favorite art gallery or event space, a spa day, or a day off from work, personalize the celebration to what feels the best for you. Each accomplishment may likely warrant a different level of acknowledgment, as most of us cannot afford a spa day for every achievement, but the importance of intentionally celebrating will hold true.
Plan a Gathering: For extroverts and social introverts, there are few things more exciting than celebrating life’s events with others. As social beings, humans overall enjoy connection, community, and comradery, and coming together to acknowledge achievements is a great way to relish in satisfaction. Group achievements, whether personal or in a professional capacity, naturally lend to celebrating in a gathering format. For individual accomplishments, such as a degree or promotion, invite loved ones to join you at a favorite restaurant or potluck. Do not fall victim to feeling arrogant and downplay the inclination to gather! While celebrating in a crowd, heightens feelings of accomplishment, encourages others to share their achievements for more good vibes, and can even inspire idea-sharing during discussions of wins for future use.
While it may seem hard to make time to celebrate accomplishments when there are still plenty of activities left on the to-do list, it is important and valuable to do so. Not only can this help create positive behavior patterns and connections, but it can also lead to greater success in the long run.
Are you still unsure of what you can celebrate? Need some help setting and reaching your goals? Let Cross Impact Coaching help you get your next win! Check out our One-on-One Leadership Coaching to get started today!