It’s absolutely exciting to think about the big goals and dreams that you want to achieve in life, but there is a problem, big goals and dreams are very far off. Imagine that you have to put in great efforts for weeks, months, and even years only to see the results you want, how does that make you feel? Dejected. This is why we should learn to celebrate small victories.
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
– Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey, the media mogul and a billionaire says it well, when we celebrate our wins in life, the more we have in life to celebrate.
When we talk about setting goals, achieving what we want, and living a successful life, we are talking about the far future that we want to have.
It is great to have goals and dreams. The only problem is that what we all want is in the future, not now, but we are actually living in the now, at this present moment.
As a result, this often creates a discrepancy between what we want and the life that we are now living.
The Lost of Motivation and Drive
Imagine that your goal is to lose 8kg within 3 months. You commit to hitting the gym and workout for 5 days a week and you also have a proper diet plan to eat more vegetables and fruits.
After the first week, you did lose some weight, say about 0.8kg. You feel good and you continue with your plan on the second week. After the second week, you stand on the weighing machine and discover that this time, you only lose 0.3kg.
As a result, you feel a little dejected and started to lose some motivation. In the third week, there is a birthday celebration party and you eat a lot in the party. The next day you feel lack of energy and are not feeling well, hence, you skip the gym.
By the end of the third week, your weight remains the same. You’re not losing any and you’re not gaining any. You have totally lost your motivation to workout because it is so tiring and you’re feeling exhausted.
This is when you decide to put a stop to your goal and then give up.
Does this sound familiar? I believe that it happens to every one of us.
It doesn’t just happen to weight loss, it can happen to any goal that we set such as in building a successful and profitable internet business or a blog.
The Success Cycle
The example I shared above explains how success works. People lose their motivation and drive quickly when they don’t celebrate small victories.
Consider how success works below:
Action –> Result –> Feeling good –> More action –> More result
Action –> Result –> No celebration, no good feeling –> Less action –> Less result
Can you see how success works here?
When you put in the action, you may or may not receive the result you want, but what is more important next is about making yourself feeling good.
If you take action and you get the result you want, you feel great, you celebrate, you feel motivated, and you’re willing to take more action to get even more results.
On the other hand, if you take action and you are not getting the result you want or you only get a small result, you don’t celebrate your wins, you start to lose confidence and motivation, and then you will put in less action and get less result.
The key is to make yourself to feel good with your progress. And this is why celebrating your small wins is important in your journey to success.
Yes, you may fail and make mistakes and are not getting the success you desire, but what you need to do is to celebrate your progress.
As long as you are making progress and are moving forward, you should celebrate because you have put in the effort.
Do you get that?
Why it is Important to Celebrate Your Progress
Teresa M. Amabile from The Harvard Business School conducted a study and analyzed almost 12,000 diary entries from 238 employees in 7 companies, and she found something interesting. Teresa then released her study and called it “The Progress Principle“.
Her study revealed that the effort of tracking small victories each day boost the employees’ motivation. She then went on to explain that when we record our progress and appreciate more of our small wins, boost our confidence. And we can leverage on this progress celebration to build a larger success in the future.
When we celebrate our victories, our brain releases dopamine that energizes us and makes us feel good. It makes us want to take more action and do more of it.
In short, celebrating your progress makes you more motivated and confident.
And when you’re feeling motivated and full of confidence, you will want to take more action.
13 Great Ways How to Celebrate Your Small Victories
Now that you understand how success works and why it is important to celebrate your progress. Just in case if you have no idea how to celebrate your wins, below are 13 great ways how you can do it.
1. Acknowledge your progress
The first and the most important thing you need to do to celebrate your progress is to acknowledge it.
If you’re not acknowledging that you have poured in the effort and you are not feeling good with your hard work, nothing you do will ever make you feel happy.
Acknowledging your progress requires a switch in your thinking. You need to change your mindset so that you will feel good with all the action you have taken.
It is alright if you fail to produce the results you want or even when you make mistakes. As long as you are doing something to make progress, you should be proud and feel happy with it.
A great example was from the world-famous inventor, Thomas Edison. When people ask him about his failures, he said:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Clearly, Edison did not take his mistakes and failures as “failures”. Instead, he acknowledged his progress and treated his failures as lessons.
You should do the same, by acknowledging your progress.
Remember, success is all about making progress. As long as you are moving forward and making progress, you should celebrate because you are getting yourself one step closer toward your dreams.
2. Write down your victories
We all write down our goals, why not writing down our victories and progress too?
In 2010, a study was carried out by the Indiana University and the researchers discovered that the brain worked far better when kids were asked to write down words compare with when they just study from a whiteboard.
Not only that, when you write down something, it helps you remember better. This is why people use an action planner to be productive. Highly successful people like Richard Branson brings a notebook with him wherever he goes and he jots down whatever ideas that come to him at random.
I write down my to-do lists each day and review them a few times a day. It helps me remember what I need to get done.
If you want to understand more about the benefits of writing things down, read this article from the Shopify blog.
Another good reason to write down your victories and progress is so that whenever you are feeling down, you can always look back at your accomplishments. When you reflect back on your achievements, they make you feel good and you’re ready to take on the world again.
Get yourself a journal. Write down your progress and everything related to achieving the success you want in life.
3. Get a small gift for yourself
One great way to reward yourself is to get yourself a gift. Of course, if you are making small progress, you can give a small gift to yourself. And if you are making big progress, get yourself a bigger gift.
Here’s what Kevin Eikenberry, the leadership expert says in one of his blog posts:
“Gifts can be a great addition to your celebration. How about a t-shirt, a gift card or something else? Again, culture and preferences will play a role here – get others involved so gifts is perceived as valuable (not just ANOTHER coffee mug or pen). Remember to make sure the value of the gift is congruent with the point of progress.”
So what do you love to have as a gift to yourself for your hard work? It can be anything that you like and a gift doesn’t need to be expensive.
I once heard Eben Pagan, a successful internet marketer who has already made millions from his online business said that he would give himself a headphone as a reward for his hard work and progress.
Eben said that he can afford the headphone any time, but the key is to use the reward (the headphone) as something to motivate him to work harder, because that’s a gift that he really loved to have.
What about you? What gifts do you love to have? Use that as a reward to celebrate your victories and progress.
4. Food, snack, and coffee
You should celebrate your progress no matter how small it is. This is to ensure that you feel good and be proud of even the smallest effort that you have put in.
Success is about being consistent and working on the important tasks that get you to your goals each day.
For all the bloggers out there, one of the most important tasks is to write content and publish on the blogs. One great way to keep the motivation going is to celebrate our daily progress.
If your goal is to write 1,000 words a day, find a way to reward yourself after you have poured in the hard work.
As for me, I don’t wait until I finished my writing task only to reward myself, instead, I choose to enjoy my reward while I’m writing the articles.
Each morning, I make myself a cup of my favorite beverage, coffee. And then I will proceed to sit in front of my desk and start writing the articles, including this article that you’re reading right now.
I have just finished my coffee and up to this point, I have almost reached 2,000 words, which is my daily writing goal.
This is just one of the examples of people who are working at their home to celebrate their progress.
You don’t have to rely on coffee like me. It can be anything simple, like tea, healthy snack, power bar, a small piece of chocolate, etc.
5. Involve others
Another good way to celebrate your wins is to involve others. Now, you don’t want to involve just anyone, but someone who supports you and cares about you.
When you share your small achievements with people who care about you and who will support you, they will feel happy for you too. And they will also encourage you to go further.
On the contrary, if you try to share your victories with anybody, not everyone can accept and will support you. Maybe they show that they share your triumphs in front of you, but at the back, they don’t really feel so.
Sharing your victories with others is great because it makes you feel more accountable. It works just like making a public commitment. When you announce and share your goals with someone else, you are putting yourself on the line.
Your reputation is at stakes. You feel the eustress and you feel committed to take action and to make progress.
Thus, find out who you can share your progress with.
6. Make it an event
I believe that you have heard about it, seen it, and attended it. Make your celebration an event, what a way to really enjoy your progress.
Of course, you may not want to have a celebration event every day, but you can definitely have it once every quarterly or half yearly.
Have you attended a birthday party or a company’s annual dinner before? It can work the same way.
Perhaps, if there are not many parties involved, you can make it a small scale, like having a monthly dinner together to reward everyone for their hard work.
Even if you are a solopreneur and you work all by yourself, you can still create a private event for yourself.
Having a cup of your favorite beverage and enjoying a Sunday afternoon in Starbucks while reflecting on your progress sounds fun, isn’t it?
The key is to make your celebration more official, even if you are all by yourself.
Furthermore, making it an event, whether it is a party-like event or a one-man-tea-time, makes life more enjoyable and you’ll be looking forward to it.
Sometimes, you don’t have to be so serious and engaged that you stress yourself out. Life is meant to be meaningful, not stressful. Hence, give yourself a breather from time to time. Enjoy and celebrate your victories, my friend.
7. Pray and be grateful
Yes, praying helps. Imagine someone prays to God in his heart:
“God, thank you for lending me the energy to finish the article and publish a new blog post today. I’m happy and grateful that I’m able to accomplish this task. And I know that with your help, God, I can only become better and produce even better results in the future.”
I’m not a Christian and I don’t want to be overly religious, but many studies have discovered that praying is one of the best ways to achieve greater success in life.
When we pray, we tell ourselves by conditioning good and positive thoughts into our subconscious mind.
If you want to know how prayers can help in growing your success and building your momentum, read this article.
And if you don’t like the idea of praying, just take it as a gratitude exercise.
Appreciate and be grateful for your effort. Be thankful that you are able to accomplish your tasks and make progress to move forward.
When you pray or feel grateful, you are creating a state of calmness within your mind. You feel more peaceful, happy, and your level of confidence will rise. As a result, you will take more action to achieve better success.
8. Develop your own power moves
In sports, you often see professional athletes show their power moves during the game or when they successfully score.
Tiger Woods, one of the most spectacular golf players in the world shows his power move every time he makes a great shot. Look at this picture below:
Take a good look at how Woods celebrates his wins. He makes a super-powerful fist pump.
Power moves are a very common celebration method for professional athletes. Power moves are how athletes “give a pat on their back”.
Do you know Michelle Jenneke, the Australian hurdler and model who won a silver medal for 100m hurdles at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics? Michelle also won the 100 m hurdles at the 2016 Australian Athletics Championships to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games.
The reason I mentioned her here not because of her achievements, but rather, it is because of the pre-race warm-up dance that got her the worldwide media attention.
That dance is her power moves. She dances every time before the run.
By the way, power moves can also be used as an anchor to put you in your peak state so that you can perform at your best. Read this post:
Thus, develop your own power moves today. Every time after you made a progress, fires off your power moves. Make that move your trademark.
9. Do something that you love and enjoy
Do I need to explain this more? Well, want to celebrate your progress? Just do something that you love and enjoy.
It’s simple: it can be playing games, going for sports, having a glass of fine wine, watching a movie, etc. Whatever you do, just make sure that the reward is something that you look forward to.
When you look forward to something you enjoy, thinking about it improves your energy level and motivation.
According to Kate Denis, the VP and lead researcher who studied the effects of vacation on the workplace, where the project was funded by the US Travel Association discovered:
“Workers who took 11 or more vacation days were more likely to have received a raise or a bonus in the previous 3 years than workers who took 10 or fewer days off.”
Sounds good? Here’s what you need to know too:
Taking a break or having a vacation can spark your creativity and get you inspired. Do you know that Instagram and the musical “Hamilton” ideas were born during vacation?
I believe that we all know about the benefits of vacation, but are we fulfilling our vacation dreams?
Vacation doesn’t need to cost you an arm or a leg, if you’re tight on budget, you can always go for a local trip like a short getaway. Hiking, fishing, and getting close to nature is a great way to recharge yourself and relieve your stress.
If you love to travel, try to arrange an overseas trip at least once a year as your way of celebration for achieving your milestones.
10. Take time or a day off
Yes, you should take a day off from time to time. Like the concept of having a vacation, taking a day off can be equally beneficial, and you don’t have to get away from your home or workplace.
Just take some time off and do something else. Of course, you can choose to do things that you love or read a book about your business, but the best way is to get yourself completely off from work.
When you are not engaging yourself with your goals, you free your mind to focus on other things. This will increase your creativity and allows you to focus better when you get back to work.
One of the key benefits of taking time off is the Eureka moment.
When I was in the physics class, I studied the Law of Buoyancy founded by the famous scientist, Archimedes. And I remembered it to this day how Archimedes discovered this principle.
He was faced with a mission to solve a difficult problem and was busy thinking about it day in and day out. Until one day, when he was taking a bath, he noticed the water displaced from the bathtub after he got into the tub. Instantly, an idea sparked and it was his “aha” moment. Archimedes then jumped out of the bathtub and ran straight to the street while shouting, “Eureka!”
It is an interesting story to know that discovered a life-changing principle while taking a bath.
Therefore, you don’t have to rush on things. We just can’t force the results to come. Things will happen at the right time and at the right place.
So take time off and rest your mind. Allow your mind to relax and discover new things.
By the way, isn’t it a great idea to celebrate your progress by taking time or a day off?
11. Make yourself an award
Have ever thought of creating yourself a recognition award for your hard work? Well, you can, and you should.
Not just trophies, you can also create certificates for yourself as a celebration of your victories.
This is definitely a great way to celebrate because as human beings, we all love recognition and we want our hard work to be recognized.
The positive impact will be even more powerful if you have a team and you create a recognition system to award them.
Besides, whenever you look at your trophies and awards, you’ll feel good and are driven to take action.
In the sports industry, the winners will be awarded. And you can see how the athletes work so hard just to win the competition and become the champions. In the film industry, we have recognition like the Academy Awards, which famously known as the Oscars, and also the Grammy Awards in the music industry.
In schools, we separate ourselves with grades and CGPA. Upon graduation, we have diploma, degree, and also Ph.D. to rate our results.
These are all some kinds of recognition. People are willing to work extremely hard to study for their Ph.D. And there are people who are willing to sacrifice and go through tough times to win in the Olympics.
So what kind of awards can you give yourself? Create recognition and give yourself a trophy for your progress. You have put in the effort and you deserve it.
12. Share your victories
This may sound like bragging, but trust me, if you do it the right way, it is not bragging, but a way of celebration and also a good way to condition yourself for greater success in the future.
I believe you have heard of parents who told you their children’s accomplishments, and they are proud of their kids.
The same can happen to you when you announce your victories and share your progress with others. You will feel proud, and you will also become more committed because you are putting your reputation on the line.
Imagine if you publish a post and it goes viral. The article shared by over ten thousand people and you’re thrilled. You also share the story and tell others about it.
Now, guess what will you do next? For instance, you will put in more hard work to produce better articles that you think will go viral.
My friend, success begets success.
When you achieve your goals, you feel good, you share the great news with people who support you, and you will then work harder to achieve even better results.
This is why you need to celebrate your victories, no matter how small they are and regardless of whether you succeeded or failed. As long as you make progress, you should celebrate.
13. The relevant reward concept
In her book, Better Than Before, she talks a lot about building positive and good habits. And one of them is none other than celebrating your success. According to Gretchen, when we celebrate by giving ourselves a reward, it is always a better choice to go for a reward that cultivates and strengthens the habit itself.
For example, if you love jogging and you have committed and have successfully jogged according to your plan for one month straight, you can reward yourself by buying yourself a pair of new running shoe.
This reward will not only make you feel great, at the same time, the shoe (the reward) will motivate you to run even more. The reward strengthens the habit of running.
If you want to be a successful blogger, you need to make it a habit to write every day. And for most bloggers, they will commit to writing at least 1,000 words a day or to publish at least a blog post per week.
The key then is to make it habit to write or to publish the post. And you can strengthen this habit by giving yourself a relevant reward.
If you followed your plan and did not miss a day of writing 1,000 words, by the end of the month, reward yourself with something that will help the habit of writing, such as getting yourself a new and stylish mouse, a comfortable ergonomic chair, a good quality headphone so that you can listen to your favorite music while writing.
I believe this is a better way of using rewards. It is true that we should celebrate our progress and all our victories, but we also have to do it in the right way.
You don’t want to have too much fun until you become lazy and don’t want to work, right?
By the way, I strongly recommend you read Gretchen’s book, Better Than Before. She explains how our habits are formed and how you can adopt new habits to make life better.
You have learned a lot in this article, right? So how do you celebrate your victories and progress? Share with me in the comment section below.
As for now, let’s do a quick recap of the 13 ways of celebration:
- Acknowledge your progress
- Write down your victories
- Get a small gift for yourself
- Food, snack, and coffee
- Involve others
- Make it an event
- Pray and be grateful
- Develop your own power moves
- Do something that you love and enjoy
- Take time or a day off
- Make yourself an award
- Share your victories
- The relevant reward concept
Do you think this list is good enough?
My friend, remember the success cycle. The more you celebrate your wins, the more wins you will have.