Imagine you have made a long climb to the summit of a mountain. It took you a great deal of effort to get there but you’ve made it, and now you can sit and enjoy a fascinating view. Yet instead of savouring the moment and congratulating yourself on your accomplishment, you start the hike down. You cross it out from your to-do list (another challenge met), turn on your heel and go down into the valley.
Thoughts? Opinions? Was the experience worth the effort?
Celebrating our accomplishments, even if small, and recognizing personal growth keeps us on track and motivated towards our goals. If we never take a moment to celebrate what we’ve accomplished, we will never feel good enough about ourselves.
If we never take a moment to celebrate what we’ve accomplished, we will never feel good enough about ourselves.
The well-known German coaching expert Petra Speckmann explains how we can reward ourselves for big and small achievements. For this, we need to know what our goals are and to have set some specific milestones that can show us we are on track.
Anna, head of a marketing department, reported to Petra Speckmann during a coaching session that she had completed a very important project, which was quite a big challenge for her at the beginning. However, she didn’t seem to give it much credit and quickly shifted the conversation to another upcoming project lying ahead of her. Petra interrupted her with the question of whether the completed project was the one that she had previously described as so unattainable and difficult.
“Yes, yes, that is the one I meant.”
So Mrs. Speckmann asked: “How did you celebrate your achievement? How did you reward yourself for the hard work and your perseverance?”
Anna looked at Petra in surprise: “Actually, I didn’t! I’ve completely moved on.”
The problem with this approach, which is common in high-achievers, is that by only looking ahead, you are unable to see how far you have reached.
By only looking ahead, you are unable to see how far you have reached. Click To Tweet
On the way to what sometimes seems to be distant goals, it is important to stop and reflect upon the success you have already achieved and reward yourself for it. Doing so will not just keep you motivated, but it will also reinforce your self-esteem and sense of self-worth. On the contrary, if you do not give yourself a pat on your shoulder when you meet a goal or reach a new milestone, you are, unknowingly, telling your brain that what you are doing is not really relevant. This, in turn, will lead to feelings of emptiness and meaningless that will result in less motivation and excitement over time.
By not celebrating your achievements, you are letting your brain believe that what you are doing is not really relevant.
Something worth highlighting: it is important to acknowledge YOUR goals and YOUR accomplishments, and not to compare them to others’.
The way to success
If you’ve lately felt frustrated or demoralized because you feel you haven’t reached many of the objectives you’ve set to yourself, take a look at these small steps that can help you achieve more success:
Start the day with easy tasks
Start your workday with a task that you can easily manage. That little thing done and accomplished will give you the necessary momentum for the next ones.
Don’t set yourself big goals right from the beginning – they may overwhelm you and, in the end, frustrate you. Don’t push yourself too hard. Start slow and with realistic expectations.
Even though motivation should always come from within, it is also true that being recognized by others is a great motivator. The fact is, we cannot expect to be praised by our superiors or colleagues for everything we do well. We must therefore give ourselves the recognition. Even if nobody has noticed or mentioned how well you are doing, praise yourself. Enjoy the feeling of having done a complicated or even an unpleasant task and choose your reward.
Choosing your reward
Look at something that attracts and delights you. Just remember:
• The reward should be commensurate with the achievement. Treating yourself to a week off just for cleaning your house or mowing the lawn is exaggerated.
• Choose activities and things you usually don’t do and are therefore something special.
• Reward yourself as soon as you meet your goal, not weeks and months later.
• Rewards do not always have to cost money. Even a relaxing long walk on a sunny day can do the trick.
More examples? That book you’ve longed for – plus the time to read it -, a massage, a pampering weekend, a new piece of clothing, a nice evening with friends. There is certainly no shortage of things you can do and reward yourself.
If nothing works, time-out may help
You’ve surely had days in which you cannot be motivated by anything. Still, because it is your job or duty, you stay there staring blankly at your monitor or out of the window. Does it accomplish anything? Absolutely not. When this happens, you should stop, leave the task lying, and do something else. We are not robots that work with the same efficiency every day. Try to make the best out of such a day. Enjoy deliberately the time-out. The next day things will get better.
So what about you? How often do you pat yourself on your shoulder? Do you feel that if you did so you would feel better about yourself? Leave us your comments in the box below!