“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” -Tom Peters
You may have heard the expression, “What we focus on grows”. Where we put our attention, is what we usually get more of. Two of the primary things that make the unconscious mind encode, or imprint, and actually create neuro-pathways in the brain (that means hard-wiring) are repetition and strong emotions.
When we celebrate our successes, even small ones, with gusto and enthusiasm, we focus attention on success, and create the strong emotions and repetition needed to imprint the unconscious with the command that we want more things to celebrate.
Since the unconscious is designed to bring us more of what we focus on. We WANT the unconscious to focus on celebrating so it brings us more wonderful things to celebrate. In today’s world, with so many demands and long lists of tasks that need to be done, it is easy to focus on what is still left to do, or how far we have to go. If we focus on what still needs to be done and what we have not achieved, it can seem overwhelming and hopeless. It is too easy to give up. When we celebrate each positive step as we take it, it makes it easier to take the next small step.
In business, when implementing large projects, you will notice that wise leaders put in benchmarks that mark a point of completion and achievement. They create company-wide celebrations when each benchmark is achieved. This helps staff see progress and stay engaged. When working towards a personal goal, it is important to do something similar. (For example: today marks my 12th blog post—I have completed the first quarter of my goal to create 52 blog posts this year!! Whoop! I am doing the happy dance around my office! My next celebration will come after my taxes are into my accountant.)
When I was teaching at Bow Valley College, one of my students (who was a single mom and on a VERY tight budget) created a celebration jar. She loved massages, but they were too costly to have regularly as a celebration. She put a picture of a massage on a clean, glass jar. Every time she submitted an assignment, or got a mark back, or completed all the needed studying for the week, she celebrated by putting a dollar in the jar. She created a big ritual around putting the money in the jar—made a huge deal out of that dollar. Once a month, she would take the money out of the jar and count it. This was another way of celebrating because it reminded her how many things she had done well with her studies and how much closer she was to that massage. Some weeks, those small celebrations were all that kept her going. When the jar got to $75 (the price of a one hour massage with her massage therapist) she booked her appointment and celebrated with the massage itself. She really allowed herself to savor and enjoy the celebration. (I remember the day she came into class to tell me she had gone for her first massage —she was positively glowing with a sense of accomplishment and pride in herself. She was starting to believe she could be successful at school!)
Her celebrations paid off. Over time she found herself inventing ways to celebrate and excuses to put a dollar in the jar. She got hooked on celebrating and started finding more things to celebrate. Her marks improved and the best part is, she got her kids involved. They started celebrating with her and encouraging her to do things so she could put a dollar in her jar. They created celebration jars for things they wanted to do or buy. She instilled values in her children around working hard and rewarding yourself for that hard work (as well as how to delay gratification—a needed lesson in today’s world). She also inspired me. I started doing something similar. This year, I am using my celebration jar to go on retreat in December.
This week’s success tip is: Celebrate the Small Stuff! This week, celebrate everything you can! Start training your unconscious mind to bring you more things to celebrate. This week, make your life a series of small parties!
- Make a list of ways you like to celebrate (be careful about using food, alcohol, or money as celebrations—you might create habits you don’t want) If you use a big purchase like a trip as a celebration, create a way to see progress towards achieving that goal—like the money jar my client created). These celebrations don’t have to be big. They can be a night off, or a trip to the movies, time with friends, a good book, a bubble bath, family night, tickets to an event, and so on).
- This week, each time you achieve a step in a goal—no matter how small—celebrate.
- Keep you celebrations in line with the size of the achievement. This way, you are saving the biggest celebration for when you achieve the goal.
- Keep visualizing the big celebration—cut out a picture and put it where you can see it.
- At the end of the week, use the weekly review process outlined in the About tab to review your progress.