Take Time to Celebrate Your Successes

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This coming weekend is one of celebration for me.  My niece will be getting married on Friday evening. On Saturday we celebrate the birthdays of my brother's three children. And, on Sunday, my wife and I will be attending a local St. Patrick's Day parade. Celebrations are wonderful occasions.  Whether they are fancy and extravagant, or simply enjoying the company of friends, they help us to commemorate special events in our life.

One of the things I've observed, particularly about the events that tend to occur in our day to day life, is that we don't always take the time to celebrate the milestones we reach in completing them.  That can be for several reasons.  Some tasks we take for granted and feel we should be doing as part of our day to day life, so why celebrate them even if we are doing them well?  Other items we are looking to accomplish have so many steps to them by the time we reach completion we're often exhausted from the journey that got us to the finishing point.  Or if a project takes an exceptionally long time to complete, we may even forget why it was started in the first place and lose the sense of it being an accomplishment.

Accomplishing worthwhile goals isn't easy.  Along the way to achieving what you seek, there may be complications.  One can get easily discouraged and wonder why they decided to pursue the track they chose to follow in the first place.   However, if you take the time to both celebrate accomplishments along the way to your ultimate goal, and honor yourself by giving yourself a chance to enjoy other aspects of your life, it helps to make the process not appear insurmountable.

After I married in late 2009, I moved into the home of my wife.  This meant I still owned the condominium I had owned before I was married.  Ultimately deciding what to do with my previous residence originally seemed like an awesome task.  Both my place and that of my wife were fully furnished.  There was no way that all of our possessions were going to be able to fit into her home.  We liked the location of where she lived, and we had no desire to buy a larger home particularly just to fit all our possessions.  The largest job in front of us was cleaning out the basement and adjoining storage room of my condominium.  It contained twenty years worth of items that had been accumulated over my time there.

Early on my wife helped me develop a plan.  We would separate the items in the condominium into those we would keep, those we would offer to family and friends, those we would donate and those we would throw away as not salvageable.  Starting early in 2010, we began boxing and sorting items.  Along the way, we allowed family and friends to view items and take what they might be able to use.  Each time an item or set of items left the house, we celebrated, sometimes as simple as with a hug for each other.  The point is, instead of looking at what was in front of us and realizing we had so much more to go, we stopped to enjoy what we acknowledged as "success" along the way.

After awhile, smaller milestones became major milestones.  By mid-summer a large number of items were donated to a church rummage sale.  In the fall, those pieces of furniture from my condominium that were destined to move to our place together arrived.  Ultimately both the basement and the storage room were completely emptied out so that they could be refurbished with painting and repairs.  We are now entering the period of putting my condominium up for sale.  While we're just beginning the sales process, we know from our past experiences, and acknowledging our successes along the way, that we will reach a celebration point on this step also.  It may happen fairly quickly or it may take awhile, but we know that there will be an event to honor at some point down the road.

So, what is that project in your life that seems insurmountable?   Have you broken it up into smaller pieces and accomplished steps toward its ultimate completion?  If you have accomplished some of what has to be done, pick an appropriate reward for yourself, because you deserve it.  If not, then analyze what you have in front of you, and set a smaller goal for moving forward on your project.  Try to accomplish something within the next week or two.  When you do so, recognize reaching that point.  The recognition does not have to be something major.  Maybe it is seeing that movie you have been looking to see.  Or perhaps it's treating oneself, by going out to dinner.  The point is you'll provide that incentive to keep yourself going if you honor what you have accomplished along the way, as opposed to berating yourself for what you have not completed.  The choice is yours.

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