Call me crazy, but I think the best part of accomplishing something is celebrating it afterwards. My favorite part of finishing a project that nearly gave me an ulcer is drinking a beer the night after I hand it in and feeling like I’ve earned it.
Take right now for example. I’m about to graduate, take steps forward in my career, and just so happen to be moving to a new place while all of this is happening. These are all exciting things, and they genuinely all feel like cause for celebration. And I guess they really are things that are worth celebrating, but maybe in a more productive way than mindlessly indulging in dinners out, bottomless brunches, and many many celebratory drinks.
So while I think it is a great idea – if only for keeping morale up or helping you keep the work-momentum going – I also know that excessive celebration can be unhealthy, or expensive.
If I sipped my “I earned it” beer every time I finished any project, I might get a huge beer gut and spend half of my paycheck at a liquor store. If every A on a test warranted a trip to get ice cream, I’d have to stop studying so much, because I don’t think my wallet (or waistline) could afford such celebration. I need some better ideas for celebrating my small victories that involve less spending and snacking, so I thought long and hard to come up with a list of ideas to celebrate in a worthwhile, and possibly even productive way. Here are my three cheap and non-indulgent ways to celebrate your victories – no matter how big or small they are.
1. Limit the “Treat Yo’Self” – but don’t eliminate it entirely.
Every time I’ve ever gotten a new job in life, my first instinct is to spend money (that I don’t even have yet, because I usually haven’t started the job yet) on something extravagant and most likely unnecessary. While it is a nice thought to do something a little special for yourself, it doesn’t need to be something you go overboard with. Something as simple as a little snack you love tossed into your grocery haul, one or two drinks out at a bar with your S.O., or a bottle of nail polish in your power color to wear on your graduation day, or first day at your new job, or whatever else you’re celebrating. Doing special things is nice, but don’t be extra. You guys know I’m on a lifelong journey to eliminate that tendency from my life.
2. Reflect on the process.
It is nice to celebrate by going out and with your loved ones and having a champagne toast in your honor, but you will feel equally proud – if not more proud – if you take a little solo time to reflect on how you got there, and let the victory wash over you. It often feels like we’re trying to accomplish things to impress other people. I guess that isn’t always true, but it is true that we rarely take the time to simply pat ourselves on the back and let ourselves feel proud, regardless of what anyone else is thinking.
I do a lot of journaling during times like these – actually more like list-making. I have one journal that I keep around to write down great things that happened, how they happened, and how I feel about them. It sounds super corny, but that reflection helps me understand what makes me successful, and also helps serve as written documentation of amazing moments of my life that make me proud, and should be remembered.
3. Let the victory power you.
This is my favorite part of any success or accomplishment. When something awesome happens, ride the momentum of the success high and let it power you to get even more awesome shit done. When I do a great job on something, or get news that I’m really excited about, it makes me super happy for the rest of the day. When I get that happy, I get inspired do whatever I can to keep this feeling going. The crazy confidence boost of accomplishing something big empowers me to take more risks and try more things that might lead to more success, both career-wise and in my personal life.
Personally, I find that I make a lot of grandiose “to-do” lists during times like these. Even if I don’t accomplish a whole bunch of things right away, getting the inspiration, coming up with new ideas, and taking the very early steps towards accomplishing new goals is one of the best ways to celebrating ones I’ve already reached.
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