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What are you celebrating?

August 10, 2021

I was recently invited to discuss “Success Principles for Business and Life” as the featured guest on a national podcast. Expecting a predictable first question, I was pleasantly surprised when the host started our conversation by saying, “So, Brian, talk to us, what is going great right now? What is there to celebrate in your life?”

Upon further reflection, I believe this is a question we should all ask ourselves. There’s always something to celebrate – big and small – and it’s extremely important to reflect on our accomplishments. It’s easy to dwell on what’s going wrong or what we need to improve. But staying in that mindset will only leave you feeling incapable and unworthy, and possibly stall you from moving forward.

Reminding ourselves of our accomplishments is just as important as setting the goals themselves. A study found that more-positive perceptions, a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, happiness, and even elation often followed progress. “Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run… everyday progress — even a small win — can make all the difference in how [people] feel and perform.”

I speak a lot about the importance of writing down goals and revisiting them every quarter. But what about after you accomplish a goal? We tend to discredit the things we have completed and focus more on the things we didn't get done, so it’s equally important to celebrate and acknowledge how much progress you've made. Doing so can put you in a success mindset, boost confidence, fuel motivation, and increase performance.

Sometimes all it takes to get comfortable with discomfort is confidence. And a way to build this is to reflect on your past accomplishments. Look at where you were five years ago compared to now. What are you most proud of? Celebrate the small wins. This will give you a sense of hope and encouragement. Don’t forget to track your progress along the way. It really puts things into perspective.

It's important to include not just achievements where there was external recognition (winning an award, getting accepted to schools, getting a job, etc.), but also moments when you were proud of yourself for doing something or trying something even if you didn’t succeed? Accomplishments are accomplishments—regardless of the size.

Do yourself a favor: track your accomplishments and celebrate your wins.