There you are, charging forward with your new plan. Things are going great, you’re making progress, and then suddenly you grind to a halt, burned out, and too overwhelmed to do one more thing. You bemoan the fact that you can’t get traction, and the next thing you know you’re considering tossing in the towel and going back to the way things were before you got the crazy notion to change them.
Too often, we keep our eyes so firmly on the big prize that we fail to give ourselves credit for the small goals we’ve reached. We plough on, we burn out, and we focus on how far we still have to go, instead of appreciating how far we’ve already come.
I learned this lesson from a friend recently, as she rewarded herself for her accomplishments by piling on higher and higher goals.
My friend is an artist who came to a career crossroads of either figuring out how to turn her creative passion into a fruitful business or finding a “real” job and relegating her art to a hobby. Fortunately, she chose the former and began actively seeking commissions, promoting her work online, and teaching workshops to inspire other creative people. When we spoke, she had just launched a new workshop series and was already working on an online video series, a non-profit venture, and a weeklong creative program in Europe.
“How’s it going?” I asked her.
“I’m exhausted,” she replied. “I’m so disappointed at the response to the video series and I’m worried that I might have to cancel the retreat. I’m totally overwhelmed with these new projects.”
“But how’s the workshop going?” I asked.
“Oh,” she said. “Well, great. It sold out and I’m getting really positive feedback from the participants.”
My friend took a breath and then admitted, “I think I’ve realized that I need to give myself some time between projects to enjoy the success and recharge my batteries before I go on to the next big thing.”
Her realization was a revelation for me too, as I saw myself doing exactly the same thing with my own goals. I’d get one part of my plan rolling along and then dive into the next project without ever stopping to give a nod of acknowledgement or appreciation for my small successes. I knew she and I were not the only ones. In fact, I suspect you do this too.
So, how about we throw ourselves a party? Nothing elaborate, just a small celebration in honor of our successes.
What have you accomplished in the past several months that deserves a celebration? Did you get a new website up? Did you update your resume? Did you pick up the phone and make a connection with someone you’ve wanted to meet? Did you sign up for a class? More to the point, did you stop and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done?
If not, then throw yourself a party, give yourself a treat, and celebrate just how far you’ve already come. Because working towards your goals doesn’t have to be so serious. In fact, the road ahead can feel a lot less bumpy if you’re traveling from one great party to the next…especially when you’re the guest of honor.