Do you celebrate?
Or do you just keep going?
Are you a business owner, entrepreneur, artist, student, barista, or a team leader that is doing all the things it takes to get to the big goals and there are no breaks between for celebration?
There is a lost art to celebration.
We have forgotten that it is important.
It impacts our forward motion.

If we don’t celebrate,
we are just on the seemingly endless uphill journey of hardness.

We see only the goal,
and the failures
or ‘two steps backwards’ between each hard step forward.
I, like many of you, think I have no time for celebrating. It will just slow us down, right? But when I think about my performance, I see the pattern of high energy fading away into periods of trudging through my day/week/month.
Celebrating is cousin to Gratefulness. They both impact our effectiveness at our work, our forward motion, and our happiness as well.
When we were cute kids, every little thing we did was celebrated. Each new word. Our first steps. Each new developmental accomplishment was a big, cute, celebration-worthy deal! Those shouts of approval and words of excitement cheered us on….for more.
We are adults now. And celebration ought to still be part of our lives. We still need to be cheered on for more! It’s neuroscience!
With each perceived success that we have, our brains release a little dopamine into the part of our brain that is responsible for enjoyment, learning and motivation. And guess what? When we fail, or perceive something as a failure, our brain is drained of dopamine….stealing away enjoyment, learning, and our motivation with it.
There are so many things in our day that can be seen as failures. Not getting enough done. You didn’t get the client you hoped for. Progress on your website is not where you want it to be. You didn’t get to your workout. The mundaneness of the day ruled. The disappointments. The ‘no’s the world is telling us when we are determined to do our thing, like write that book, grow a business, create your art, push your way into the clothing design world…the list goes on.
Let’s face it. The things you do are really hard.
The things I am doing are really hard.
These hard things we are doing mostly go unseen, particularly for those who are in business for themselves.
Well. It’s time to be seen. It’s time to be noticed.
By ourselves.
Stop and look at what you are doing.
Notice what you have done.
Take a minute and celebrate it.
Celebrate you and your hard work!
You know that cup of coffee you were going to get anyways? This is an opportunity to pause for celebration. Turn it into a celebration of that small awesome thing you did. OK. Maybe it’s not super big and awesome, but you did it, and that is what we are celebrating here.
And here is where we get the happiness-shot in our brain. And we like being happy. Our body likes the dopamine, so what do we do? We do what it takes for more of the happiness-shot to go into our system. We do it because it makes us happy. So, here is where a secret to motivation lies!
Set a doable goal.
Celebrate when it is accomplished.
Set the next goal.
You get it.
When we celebrate. We are happy.
So we do more of the hard things…
so we can celebrate…
so we can be happy.
and do the hard things.
and on it goes.
It is not that the things we are doing are fun. They mostly are not. They are hard. REALLY hard. But celebrating on the other side of smaller parts of hard work makes it worth it. It makes us want to do more hard work. And eventually we find we have made it to our bigger goals! It takes a path of little, measurable, celebrateable goals to get where we are going!
The idea of celebrating a goal that is met, is totally different than just checking it off my to-do list. All of life can become just a very very long list of things to do with no room for celebration. We are just back to climbing up that unending hill again. It feels hard. But if you celebrate frequently along the way, you will get there faster, and happier, because you are motivated by those little shots-to-the-brain.

And life will not be all about “getting there”.
Life will be experienced more deeply each step of the way.
I set a goal last night. It was to get up in the morning and write on. When I am done here, I plan on sitting down to a cup of coffee and read a ‘just for fun’ book. With every sip I will breathe in that I did something hard. I will acknowledge my success and let the endorphins flow. And I will not focus on the long list of things I still have to do. I will not focus on my unrealistic self imposed pressure to write daily or have it perfectly in the social media cloud of expectations. (Yeah. That’s not going to happen.)
But rather, I will say that today I did something well. I crossed a finish line. I rocked it.
Because when those endorphins come, we are happy.
And motivation grows.
My challenge to you…(and me)
is to set small goals….then celebrate.
Celebrate that you met the goal.
Celebrate you.
Then step out and do the next hard thing!
As always, I love hearing your thoughts. What are the tiny hard things you plan on celebrating? What are you doing to celebrate?