When was the last time you took time out of your busy schedule to celebrate your wins and accomplishments? If you have to think about it for longer than a few seconds, it has definitely been too long.
Far too often, when we think about being successful at work and in life, we focus solely on setting and achieving goals. But when the time comes to cross one finish line, we move straight onto the next one without giving our long-awaited win a second thought.
While this is in part due to the high standards we set for ourselves as goal-driven women, it’s also an indicator that we are rushing through life rather than savoring it. And let’s face it, nobody wants to risk missing out on life’s most meaningful moments.
Whether you consider yourself to be motivated by rewards or not, the truth is, our brains operate with an inbuilt reward system. Without delving too deeply into the science, this is a group of structures along the dopamine pathways of the brain that activates when we experience pleasures and rewards. It’s a lot more powerful than you may think—affecting your thinking, learning, and planning, and encoding memories that dictate your motivations.
This is why it’s perfectly natural to find yourself reaching for (and repeating) the actions and experiences that generate the greatest rewards—whether or not those rewards are beneficial to our wellbeing. But whilst the reward system is often seen as a weakness (when we procrastinate our morning pilates in favor of a feed-scrolling session, or reaching for the TV remote rather than doing a needle-moving task for work), it can actually be used to our advantage as we strive to become the best version of ourselves.
In this post, we’re sharing three IHML-approved reasons to celebrate each and every one of your wins, starting today.
1. It changes both your outlook and your outcomes
While we may not always have control over every event that happens in our lives, we do get to choose the lens through which we look at it. If you’re constantly complaining, criticizing, or finding fault everywhere you look, then that scarcity mindset is bound to seep into every area of your life—work, health, wealth, relationships, you name it—and you’ll never feel fully satisfied. If, on the other hand, you decide to actively seek out the positive side and celebrate every small milestone along your path, you will instantly feel far more fortunate and accomplished.
Oprah said it best: “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” By choosing to actively notice and make a big deal of the things that are going right for you, you will define the energy around you—and inevitably end up attracting more goodness and abundance than you ever dreamed of.
2. It supports healthy habit formation
We all have dreams and aspirations that require us to change our behaviors and form healthier habits. Whether you’d like to grow your business to six figures in revenue or run a marathon, your success will rely in large part on your daily routine. But for so many of us, behavioral change is a lot easier said than done—and we end up abandoning our efforts just as quickly as we started. That’s because we don’t fully understand the cues and cravings behind habit formation, rely too heavily on motivation to make meaningful change, and forget that rewards play a central role.
Habit-formation expert and author of Atomic Habits, James Clear, says that “rewards teach us which actions are worth remembering in the future.” That’s why, whenever we set out with the intention to make a lasting change, one question we should always be asking ourselves is: how can I make it satisfying?
For instance, you could decide to reward yourself with a relaxing self-care night every time you complete a full week of workout classes, or treat yourself to a luxury item on your wishlist every time you reach a new income level in your business. But you could also incorporate smaller rewards, such as grabbing coffee on the go after delivering a presentation at work. The key is to add more joy and pleasure into your life—whatever that looks like for you.
3. It reinforces your success—and your resilience to challenges
Letting milestones slip by unnoticed sends a powerful signal to your mind (and to the Universe) that hitting your goals isn’t so important to you after all. Each time you miss the momentum, you train your brain to become desensitized to your own success—and settle for smaller outcomes and a lackluster lifestyle.
On the other hand, by leveraging the reward system and celebrating each and every one of your wins, you can ensure that your supply of motivation never runs low. Recognizing and rewarding your accomplishments will deliver a generous boost to your self-esteem, and you’ll find yourself feeling stronger and more capable as you approach new obstacles on your path to success. Plus, you’ll learn to dream bigger by default—because as we always say here at I Heart My Life, there’s no limit to what you can achieve and accomplish.
We’ll leave you today with an assignment:
- Think about a recent win or accomplishment that you didn’t properly acknowledge
- Think of one awesome way to mark the occasion
- Go do it right now, or schedule it in your calendar
Every day brings a new reason to celebrate yourself—and since it’s a surefire way to amplify your success, why not make it a permanent addition to your routine?