The idea of celebrating the little wins, accomplishments and short-term goals is discussed frequently. But what about the big wins? The long-term goals can seem awfully anti-climatic when they are achieved and unless you have something in place to celebrate them, can make you not want to work so hard next time.
When we reach goals like graduations, marriages and birthdays, we plan big parties and shout it from the rooftops…but what about marking the occasions of paying off debt, finishing a huge work project or mastering a craft? We often to seem to think that the accomplishment of achieving the goal itself should be reward or celebration enough, but is it? Why does graduating from one level of school get a ceremony, certificate, and party, but paying off your debt does not?
I heard a podcast interview the other day about how unexciting it was when the guest paid their mortgage off years early. She said she was so disappointed that Ed McMahon did not knock on her door the day she made the last payment. Instead, she said an email from the bank appeared in her inbox a few days later asking her to think of them for her future lending needs. I’ve been there with car loans and student loans and understand completely what she means. Not exciting at all! You count down as it gets closer and closer and when finally that day comes…nothing. So why not create a little celebration for yourself when it happens?
Now I am not suggesting that every time we reach a long-term goal that we throw ourselves a party or spend a bunch of money. But there is something to be said about acknowledging your work. There was a time when I was running my jewelry business and I would buy myself a little vintage brass animal trinket everytime I completed and released a new collection. There is so much work that goes into designing, making and prepping the release of a collection for an online company. It takes a great deal of time and effort on top of the normal day to day duties. So I started a tradition of celebrating with these animals. When I was in the thick of the work, I would take a few minutes to look on Etsy for what animal I had in mind. I’d heart a few things and then get back to work. It was a great motivator and in the end, the usually about $25 treat would make me feel so proud of what I had accomplished. Seeing them all over the house made me think of all of these lovely collections I had released and much the work was worth it.
I also used to buy myself a new handbag at the end of each year. I thought of it as a bonus I received based on how well my company had done over the last 12 months. I loved that shopping trip as the bags kept getting better year after year and I was so excited when I reviewed how the year went and started thinking about what I was going to shop for. The reward made me take a bit of time to think about why I was getting it, be in the present and enjoy the results of my work. It was a great motivator!
As I keep reminding myself, life is not just about work. Make sure to celebrate the bigs wins both in business and in your personal life. The little things are important of course, but we do tend to downplay the big goals once we achieve them as they have taken so much time to get to the end, that we forget how it all started. The next big win you have in life, make sure you acknowledge it, you’ve earned it!