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29 May

Thirteen ways to celebrate the small victories

Date: 2017-05-29 15:06 Comments: 2 st

Acknowledging and celebrating something we have accomplished after having worked hard for a number of consecutive days increases our motivation. It simply makes us feel good. The value of celebrating these small victories and accomplishments that are part of our everyday lives has been shown in research done by Teresa Amabile, to mention one researcher interested in the topic, whom I have referred to once in a while.

I therefore encourage you to find a way to reward yourself throughout your work - a way that will motivate you and make it easier to establish new habits for improving your structure. 

Don’t just move on and on
But it can be hard to know what we ought to reward ourselves with. I personally tend to take the recent accomplishment for granted and just move on to the next challenge. On one hand, the accomplishing of something gives a sense of reward in itself, but if we were to celebrate and emphasize our progress, how would we go about doing so? Since ”patting yourself on the back” is just a metaphor, how do we mark the occasion?

What some people do
I recently asked a group of people who I believe are good at celebrating the small victories in their everyday lives how they go about celebrating, and here is a selection of their replies:

  • ”I buy myself surprise gifts”
  • ”I say Thank You when I wake up and before I fall asleep”
  • ”I order a double espresso from a nice café”
  • ”I have a nice dinner”
  • ”I treat myself to the spa”
  • ”I collect perfect moments in Google Docs”
  • ”I always keep a bottle of bubbly in the fridge”
  • ”I treat a friend to a coffee and we celebrate together, since shared joy is twice the joy”
  • ”I have prepared a thankyou-email that I send to myself every day and to which I add whatever I am thankful for towards myself that day, meaning that every day I send myself today’s version of this growing lists of things I am grateful for”
  • ”I enjoy a high-quality cigar”
  • ”I just hold the thought of what I just accomplished in my mind for a minute or two and enjoy the great feeling I get”
  • ”I take a break, stare up into the ceiling for a few minutes and just rest”
  • ”I tell a colleague who I know would be happy for me about my success and enjoy the encouragement I am given”

How do these suggestions sound? Would any of the above be something for you as well?

Do this
If you too could use some celebration and acknowledgment in your life, then do this:

  1. Reflect on the following: Are you currently involved in a challenge that you could celebrate having finished once it is done? Let it be something you could accomplish in the next few weeks to come, so that you do not have to wait forever for the celebration. It does however need to be something slightly challenging so that you have to exert yourself somehow, and so that it really feels like a victory once it is done.

  2. Now choose how you will celebrate once you have crossed the finish line. It could be one of the ways mentioned above, or something completely different.

  3. If you need to do or buy something in order to celebrate when that time comes, add doing so to your to-do-list, unless you do it right away.

More motivation, and lighter at heart
If you celebrate the small victories and accomplishments in your everyday life often, you will get to enjoy the sweet sensation of progress in a more tangible way. If we are to believe what Amabile and her fellow researchers have concluded, your motivation will increase and it will become easier to get things done since you now face new challenges with greater zest and motivation. 

What is your way?
How do you celebrate having accomplished something in your work - be it big or small? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. 



Sid MOUNFIK writes:

#1 - 2018-01-06, 18:10

Great read. High achievers often forget to celebrate before moving on to the next challenge. Thanks for the practical tips. Right on!

David Stiernholm

David Stiernholm writes:

#2 - 2018-01-11, 08:40

Thank you, Sid! I’m happy to hear that you liked it. I absolutely agree that some of us could celebrate more thoroughly and more often.

It seems as if you have created a tool for just that?


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