The Importance of Celebrating Your Success

The Importance of Celebrating Your Success

On a semi-regular basis, I do some childminding for a lovely family, and this week, the younger girl (aged eight) brought home a “Congratulations” certificate from school.

This got me thinking about our achievements as adults. When did someone last give you a certificate to say “well done”, “congratulations” or “great job”? Has anyone even said those words to you recently?

Sometimes, it’s easy to feel that our hard work goes unnoticed – maybe by our employers, teachers or relatives. Perhaps you stayed late every night to ensure the success of a tricky project at work, and no-one seemed to care. Or you’ve reached a thousand subscribers on your blog, but your spouse can’t see what you’re so excited about.

The even deeper trap, though, is not so much that other people don’t recognize and acknowledge our achievements, but that we ourselves don’t. I’m someone who likes instant results; I’m not patient and I tend to struggle to maintain enthusiasm throughout a long project or when working towards a distant goal. Because of this, I’ve started consciously recording and celebrating my achievements, so that I realize that my hard work is paying off and that I am making progress.

Why Do It? Thoughts After Ten Months of Achievements

Since January, I’ve been keeping up a very simple practice of spending ten minutes, once a month, thinking about and writing down what I’ve achieved. So if you think that recording your achievements is too much hassle, you might want to reconsider; however busy you are, ten minutes a month isn’t going to impinge much on your schedule.

In the past ten months, life has changed a lot for me, and one of the benefits of recording my achievements is that I can see how far I’ve come since January. For example, back in January, the sum total of my blogging achievement was:

  • Launched weblog [The Office Diet] on Jan 1st
  • Guest post on Diet Blog on Jan 16th

Fast-forward through the book, and achievements like these appear:

  • Staff writing position on Diet Blog (February)
  • Wrote guest posts for several big blogs: Ririan Project, Pick the Brain, Dumb Little Man, Cranky Fitness (May)
  • Became a staff blogger for Pick the Brain and Dumb Little Man (August)

Building up my fledgling blogging career has been a priority for me this year, and it’s encouraging to see that I’ve come a long way since that first guest post in January: this month, I have enough staff blogging work to pay all my rent and bills. I know that when I start on other long-term goals in the future, I’ll be able to trace a similar pattern of progress, celebrating the small victories to begin with, then seeing myself build on those.

Another benefit that I found through the tougher early months was that writing down my achievements at the end of each month helped me to focus on the areas where I was improving and getting somewhere. Sometimes I had to scrape a bit for things to record, but it helped me get through some difficult months.

How to Create Your Achievements Record

I have a small leather-bound notebook, given to me for Christmas last year, in which I devote a page a month to my achievements list. This suits me well; it doesn’t take much time, but it provides a permanent record which I intend to keep adding to over the next decade (the notebook has plenty of pages!)

Something I’m considering for the future, though, is also having a scrapbook or folder for achievements. This might be a good form of record if your achievements are in the form of news clippings or printed magazine pieces, pieces of artwork, or photographs.

You don’t necessarily have to use words in your record. If you’re tracking your progress towards a fitter, healthier body, for instance, your achievements record could take the form of monthly photographs and measurements.

Don’t Forget to Celebrate: Pick Some Rewards

Something which I intend to start doing more is to pick rewards for reaching milestones. I find that this is both an encouragement to work hard towards a goal, and also a way to acknowledge that I really have achieved something of significance. It’s so easy to treat our achievements lightly, or to feel that they don’t matter because they wouldn’t be “big” in the eyes of the world.

So some of the rewards I’m planning at the moment (from small to big) are:

  • A celebratory really good bottle of wine when I reach 1,000 subscribers on my blog, The Office Diet
  • A meal out somewhere special when I’ve finished writing all the extra content that I want to put on my Aliventures site (a number of articles and tutorials), and when I’ve finished the redesign
  • A weekend away when I first sell a novel (a little way off, at the moment…)

Although none of these are certain to happen, I’ve phrased them all as “when” rather than “if” because that helps me to be confident that I can and will achieve them all – even if it takes me a while!

What have you achieved over the past few weeks? What milestones do you hope to reach soon – and how will you be celebrating?

Photo by Ham Guy

Ali Luke

Ali writes about personal growth and development on her blog, Aliventures. As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing.

Latest posts by Ali Luke (see all)

57 Comments

  1. Such a simple idea that doesn’t require much time at all.

    Sometimes I am so busy keeping all of the balls in the air that I forget to give myself a pat on the back.

    Great tip- thanks!

    Reply
    • I totally agree! I am so busy with everyone wants and what I have to accomplish that I do not seem to step back and realize all that I have accomplished. I am finally beginning to see how important this is and that I need to reward my self every now and then even if it is something small.

      Nice tips!

      Reply
  2. I keep a folder at work of all my achievements. Anytime I get an email from someone praising me for going above and beyond, I put it in the folder. It also contains a list of completed projects that were overly successful. When I go in for my annual review, or a promotional interview, I bring this folder with me to present to the higher ups. Not only does it make me feel good about the work I do, but it also is a excellent negotiation tool.

    -Dan Malone-

    Reply
    • Great tip, Dan! I’ve kept emails before but never thought of using them as a negotiation tool quite like that. Now I freelance, I keep client testimonials from emails for my website, which I guess is a similar way of using this praise.

      Reply
    • Dan that is an excellent idea. I need to start doing that. I do forget about all the obstacles I have overcome. I never stop to think about all I have accomplished. I deserve a pat on the back.

      Reply
  3. That’s great advice to give because it seems like we always find the time to analyze our mistakes and shortcomings, but are too busy to pat ourselves on our backs and acknowledge the good things we do.

    Reply
  4. Hi Ali: I was just writing on another blog a comment about how I used to work for the Panama Canal Commission and my supervisor was always giving me on the spot awards whenever I won an arbitration or did anything else he thought noteworthy. The award was a certificate and $100, a watch, and so on that was given at an office meeting with everyone in attendance, and with no prior warning to the recipient. When you work for yourself you definitely need to find ways to review your own accomplishments and give yourself rewards, because it helps you to recognize your progress :-)

    Reply
    • Hi Marelisa,

      What a great supervisor you had! You’re right, we need to take on that supervisor role in our own lives – especially if we’re self-employed – to similarly recognise our success and hard work.

      Reply
  5. It is good to give ourselves a pat on the back regardless it is a big or small success. It is the encouragement that everybody needs every now to keep ourselves going.

    Cheers
    Vincent
    Personal Development Blogger

    Reply
  6. Thanks for this piece Ali — I’ve certainly been one to ask “is this all there is?” after I finish a project. I’ve become better at appreciating the process of what I do in addition to the products, but I’m sure I could still benefit from making a list of the fruits of my labors once in a while as you suggest.

    As for my own last few weeks, I finished and began marketing a three-hour audio program, and I’m starting to see some sales from my site — it’s been really gratifying.

    Best, Chris

    Reply
    • Fantastic stuff, Chris! Sometimes the results themselves are enough reward for hard work … but hope you’ll be celebrating your sales too!

      Reply
  7. Hi

    I agree with your views.

    It’s just as important to celebrate success as it is to set goals / dreams / desires. Some people record whatever progress they have made towards their visions on a daily basis. Otherwise one can get lost in the process and life can become a slog. I wrote about just that in my latest post.

    Juliet

    Reply
    • Hello Juliet,

      Like i told my proff, i dont make lists or set goals, i just do. However, if it works for every body else amen. Im very lazy. So what i do is think about what has to be done on a particular day ( day to day or one day at a time) Then i just do it. As far as school, i do the say day to day. when i do achieve something, ill sit and cry of joy and tell my kids. But im glad it works for you.

      Reply
  8. I am a very busy person and I tend to find little time to reward myself for any accomplishments that I achieve. But now that I have finished my first two courses in college for medical transcription, I think it is time be rewarded. So made a certificate for myself that I can print off each term for each class successfully finished. I am going to frame each one and hang them on the wall over my work station. This way I can always look up and celebrate my achievements.

    Reply
  9. Hi Ali

    This is a great tip to help in celebrating.. After 29 years I am finally going back to school and this is my last week of my !st term. I feel great!

    Thanks for the tips

    Miriam

    Reply
    • @Miriam Fort,
      Hi Miriam,
      I just read your post of going back to school after 29 years. That is so awesome, as it has been 20 years since I have taken any college courses, until July 29, 2009 when
      I started Kaplan University for an A.A.S.(Associate of Applied Science) in Medical Transcription degree. I have completed the first semester and it feels so great to have achieved this, so far. I am one step closer to earning my degree. I wish you good luck in your studies and positive thinking will get you through!
      Best wishes,
      Denise Williamson

      Reply
  10. I am so excited that I have made it through my first semester at Kaplan University. This is the first time in 20 years, since I have taken any college courses. I received an actual 100 on my final project in Academic Strategies. What an achievement for me!

    Reply
    • @Denise Williamson, I am so Happy for you Denise, well done. Your fellow student.

      Reply
  11. hi my name is jennifer peelman i am at the end of my second semester of classes at kaplan university i have achieved a lot of thing like good grades, a new laptop to help me with my online classes. i will celebrate my acheivements by going to a movie with andrea and justin and also partying all night at andrea’s if we are up to it . i have also learned that three classes is just a little bit to much for me right now so i will go back down to two classes for the next semester

    Reply
  12. This gave me some great ideas on how I can keep track of my achievements for college. I am just finishing up the last week of my 2ed term and will start my next term Nov 11th. It also gave me some great ideas on how to celebrate what I have all ready accomplished. For example I am going to celebrate the end of the 2ed term by re- connecting with friends and family. I am keeping a recored of everything I did in my classes and keeping a recored of my grades from all my classes.

    Reply
  13. How I really can not beleive that I have made it through my first term at Kaplan. I am going for my Medical Assistance and I did a whole lot better than I thought that I would. So I thought that I would celabrate this weekend and do something with a friend, go out for luch or something. Will be getting ready for next term Dec. 2, 2009.

    Reply
  14. This is my first term at Kaplan. I found it very informative and exciting. It was a little confusing at first because I wasn’t given all the critical information I needed. I adventually found it myself, which resulted in a couple of late assintments but my instructors worked with me and I got them complete. That experience is only one of many I’ve had to go through. Because of this I have learned That there isn’t always someone there to help you. You have to learn to figure things out by yourself.

    Reply
    • This is also my first term at Kaplan. I was very excited in the beginning, but also nervous. I never realized how disciplined that it would make me doing online classes. I am glad I pushed myself to start school because I kept putting it off. I have kept an A average in both classes throughout the term, which is great! I like to reward myself by going to eat a nice dinner. It is so amazing to me at how much I have changed and how I have so much more confidence now! It has truly been a blessing to me.

      Reply
      • I was really scared about going back to school, but I knew if I would just go own and put my best foot
        foward and take a chance now here I am in college doing what I wanted to do all of my life.
        this was a dream com true, at any age’ its nort too laate to start over and gety a knew life , my childern are grown and at home working at a middle school , in the lunch room for 2 years and this year
        it will be 3 years, and am glad that I made a dream come true, I my be late blooming’ but also
        in my heart I made a right chose to attend kaplan at this time.

        Reply
  15. This is my first term at Kaplan and so far it’s great! I hope to further my career with Kaplan, I think they are awesome!

    Reply
  16. Gret idea when dealing with life children and grandchildren I do forget about me. I am so proud of myself so I pat myself on the back and say good job I finished my first term at kaplan and I am looking forward to the next one

    Reply
  17. I have learned alot in this course and I’m sure it will stick with me forever. I have realized that going to school. working 3rd shift, and the kids are all gonna be alo to handle at times. I can’t give up though because I have too much riding on my success. I just keep in mind that nothing that’w worth having will come easy. You all have a wonderful next term.

    Reply
  18. I just want to say I don’t regret the time that I have put into my career. I want to thank my loving husband and my children for all their support.I have use tools and strategies to help me in my career as a Associate Allied Medical Office Management. I am going to stick to my goals to the end. I hope to see the next term to receive my Master Degree. Online courses has been a exciting experience for me and I have learned a lot.

    Reply
  19. Success doesn’t have to be just a dream anymore. You can make your life what you would like it to be. Reach for the moon, if nothing else you will be a star and what’s wrong with that? Whatever you do just don’t give up! Know that you can.

    Reply
  20. I definitely enjoyed your blog opportunity. I just finished my first term at Kaplan University. That was a very intense experience. I was told to celebrate. Hummmm. I will splurge and actually drive to the library and check out a book on something I am curious to learn, not related to school. I say splurge because the internet is so handy and easy. For weeks I have been a virtual prisoner to the computer. Now it is time to do something for fun.

    Reply
  21. I really enjoyed this term after being out of college over 20 years, it feels great,and when I look back when I started I was afraid,excited,anxious all at the same time, The Kaplan staff has really been really great,and help me get through some tough times.I will never give up.I always believe that Success is failure inside out,The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.And you can never tell how close you are,It may be near when it seems so far.So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit,It’s when things seem worse,that you must not quit.

    Reply
  22. Hi Ali,
    I think giving ourselves rewards is a great idea. I have been unemployed since 8/31/09. We were constantly getting praise emails from customers and from our supervisors. I haven’t had that since I lost my job. I never really thought about it until I read your article. I am making a plan for rewarding myself with each success on my path to a degree in medical transcription. I will use a journal at the end of each class. I still have so many classes to go that it will seem like a long time, but if I use this plan, I can see how much better I will be for finishing this journey. Thank you for your insight!

    Becky Williams
    Ga.

    Reply
  23. When I tought about going to college on line I thought it would be the hardest thing I would ever do. I am glad I chose Kaplan University to further my education. I haven’t been to school in 35 years. I think that I have learned some stratagies that I can take with me to the classes I will have in the future. I think that rewarding ourselves for a job well done is a good thing to do. I think I will go to the Florida Aquarium with my family. Without them I wouldn’t have made it. They gave me a lot of incouragement and help. I think they deserve to have fun with me. I think it would be a good idea to keep a journal at the end of each class I attend and I think I will take a picture of me rewarding myself after each set of classes I take. At graduation I will share all of my accomplishments with my fellow classmates when I see them for the first time. I will also share them with the first person who wouldn’t let me fail before I started.

    Reply
  24. To celebrate my second term, I will rewarded myself with a trip to Savannah, Georgia to visit my son for four days. He is also in school and it helps me to teach him to do the best he can and now just get by.

    Reply
  25. The classes at Kaplan University had taught me how to be successful by managing my time and schedule. I had learned how to organize my study notes, where I can kep track of them. My first term has been awesome the professors have a great techinque of teaching students. This is my dream and I am living it, therefore I believe in myself and I will not quite nor give up.

    Reply
    • I agree Kimberly! I have also been taught to be successful by managing my time and I’ve also found that the study schedule helps me out a lot. I’ve also learned how to manage my stress which is also very helpful. At first I was afraid I wouldn’t do well in an online learning environment but Kaplan is a great school and my professors this term were awesome as well.

      Reply
    • I am almost finish with my classes, I have one more unit to go I am so excited that I have learned so much about myself and my learning habits, kAPLAN University is so amazing i have learned a lot, my acdemic advisor, my classmate and my instructor are so helpful it is amazing, the why they teach is so diffrent there are no words to explain it, i will be look toward my ultimate goals at Kaplan

      Reply
  26. This is our last unit for now and i start in another week, the first 10 weeks have been rough on me, i went through a divorce, my son graduates on the 17th and i have been in training at my job. the next 10 weeks will be better.

    Reply
  27. This is my first term at Kaplan University and I have to say I thought it would be easier than going to school on campus boy was I wrong. There is a lot of reading and interaction, but I have done it. I will finish my first term June 1st and start my second term June 9th, I am so excited. I was so excited when I registered for my second and third terms.

    Reply
  28. I have just recently began my last week of my last term at Kaplan University. I am getting my AAS in Medical Assisting. I have not only reached the end of my first term successfully, I have achived a final grade of 99 in both of my courses as well as only two projects out of both classes for the entire term that I did not make a perfect score on! I have much to celebrate. Going from a young mother and high school drop out, to college student, mom of two and making wonderful grades, even considering going for my BS in Physician Assisting is a HUGE success for me. I am incredibly proud of myself as well as all of my collegues from KU that have finished the term! CONGRATS TO ALL*

    Reply
    • Jessica your statement is very postive to me, now I know that I can do this with the help form a youg
      lady like youerself, it incourages me to go own and compelte my course’ so that I will have something
      to show my grand childern. At no age you can always go back to school and learn new ideas and concepts and go to another level in life.
      Thank you very much Ms. Barbara Walker

      Reply
  29. Hello everyone, Taking my online classes with Kaplan have been a new page in my life. I really enjoy classes at kaplan because it is kind of like the military you meet so many different people and everyone can learn from one another no matter where they are from. This term I learned how to managed my time and personal life apart without having any problems yet. CONGRATS TO EVERYONE WE MADE IT………..

    Reply
  30. I was really moved by this article. It really inspired me to do more things to stay on track. Im favorite part was”I was moved by Peter’s idea of taking 10 minutes each month to list his accomplishments, things he is proud of. I began to keep a “portfolio” when I started my consulting business, in the beginning it was only because many organizations asked for a cv and mine was never up to date.”

    Reply
  31. I really enjoyed my first to classes at Kaplan. I really feel like I’m finally doin something right for myself and my son. I loveed the teachers and my class work. I can’t wait for my next to classes two classes to start.

    Reply
  32. I totally agree with you Barb 100 percent, hopefully I will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Reply
  33. I am almost finished with my firtst term at Kaplan, and it has been exciting. I am truly looking forward to my future classes and exciting about reaching my goal. I didn’t know what to exspect by on-line classes. Iwas very unsure of myself. But I have have many support systems and help along the way which has made school a little easier for me. I enjoyed my first term and haved learned a lot.

    Reply
  34. I thought I could never go back to school since my high school grades were not that great (c and b). But my daughter and son pushed me to at least try. Well after being out of school for 33 years I just finished my first 9 weeks and feel great. Now I am looking forward to my next classes.

    Reply
  35. I have a problem with not rewarding myself when I have accomplished something. I don’t even recognize when some things are actually accomplished. I love the idea of once a month taking the time to write down everything that I have accomplished and rewarding myself in some way. I think that there are some great tips and I will start using some to my benefit!

    Reply
  36. You have given me some great ideas, ideas I have never thought of. I am going to take your advice and celebrate the smaller accompishments I have made, instead of just looking at my final goal. I honestly believe that the time I take to celebrate my smaller accomplishments, that I will be able to stay focused on my main goal. Afterall how am I or anyone else reach their big goals in life, with out staying positive about and recognizing our smaller accomplishments. I plan on using this technique ASAP. It ia never too late to learn new things to better oneself!

    Reply
  37. I had already planned to celebrate my success, after I completed my first semester at Kaplan. It’s been about 29 year since I attended a university. It’s been a challenge. I have work hard; it’s almost time to celebrate. I have a bottle of sparkling wine chilling. Then back to work improving my skills in the resource center. To power up for the next semester.

    Reply
  38. I am just now starting the last week of my 1st term with Kaplan University. I had so many doubts about myself and I questioned myself everyday. I’ve experienced so much in my life and have felt this overwhelming emotion to better my life and the life of my family. I knew that making this career choice would not be easy and would not be done quickly. However, suffering from job loss and money issues keeps me level headed and motivated to do more and to achieve my goals.Everyday is one step closer to reaching my goals. Each day has a different accomplishment that I am so proud of. Being able to award myself and acknowledge my achievements play a major role in my motivation to continue my path in college and in life. I am so amazed at how far I have come in such a short time and the experience is life changing. I believe in the power of self motivation and will continue to award and acknowledge any and all achievements recieved along the way.

    Reply
  39. This is my last week of my first term here at Kaplan it was very rewarding to me as i have past both of my classes. I am getting excited to move on to my next courses i hope that they will be as rewarding as this term was. My professor’s were very helpful and very understanding and i like it that you can talk openly to your professor’s and they understand. I’m glad that i took the plunge to go to college and that i’m doing well with the support of my family member’s they were a great help, they took care of thing s in the home so that i could consentrate on my schooling. I would recomend this college to anyone that wants to go back to school as they are very helpful here at Kaplan.

    Reply
  40. Well i am finishing up my week ten of my first two classes. Week ten is the end of the two courses. I am proud of myself. I am proud that i ended with a good grade point average.
    I have really no support. I have a daughter but basically she just stays out of my way so i can get done what i need t o do. She helps with a few technical things because the teens of today are all internet technicians. They know so much about the computer. She does not though have any words of encouragement or any congratulation words. Oh well, i know. So i will find a way to celebrate and show myself how proud i am of me. I am a giver and not to myself.. So this is definitely for me.
    I am 50 it is about time. So at 56 hopefully i will have my PhD…

    Reply
  41. I have just finished my first two classes at Kaplan. My husband took me out to eat at Olive Garden. My husband is my support group. My husband told me that next semester if I could keep my grades at an A he would give me $50.00 for each A at the end of each term. I figured I could take that and get me a new outfit or something that I really want.

    Reply
  42. My first two classes at Kaplan University are coming to an end. I’m sad that they’ve come to conclusion, but happy to start the next two. I will miss my classmates and professors, yet I wish them well. This blog makes very good sense, and offers great suggestions; however, celebrating success now, seems a bit premature for me. I do agree that successfully completing my first two classes is a major accomplishment, and some may wish to celebrate. I prefer to just smile at the milestones for now. If I’m still on the path after 6 months, then I’ll celebrate.

    I consider my journey through life is a series of paths. Being on the educational highway is full of many things. Once I hit the 6 month mark, and I’m still a student, that’s when I want to reward myself. Whether I’m at the beginning, middle, or end of a course 6 months from now, is when I want to reflect and reward my perseverance. You may believe I’m thinking too far ahead, but I don’t think so. For me, I will measure my success on my ability to stick with it. I may have many ups and downs along the way. I may fail a course here or there. But I won’t give up. I will succeed. As long as I continue, then failure is not an option. I will reward myself for being the best that I can be.

    Reply
  43. I just finished my first 2 courses here at Kaplan University and I can say I really enjoy it. I was a little scared at first about not finishing what I started but I did. I’m not one of the ones who congrats there self alot but after doing research papers and all the studying I’ve done, I deserve to give myself some kind of reward. So when I’m finished with school, me and my friends are going to take a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate.

    So thanks for the advice and this message really did help me out alot.

    Reply
  44. celebratings things is really a good thing that motivate you to the next level, i like also archiving my work to know what i did to celebrate for it

    Reply

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