Author: Noah Lam
4 years later, I find myself excited to find out who will make it on the United States Olympic Marathon Team for the 2012 Olympics in London. I was on Google and searching the internet for live coverage only to find that they will be airing a recorded version at 3pm EST. 4 years ago and a few days, I would never have known how far a marathon was. I definitely did not know anything about walking or running. If you saw me running, it was to catch the ice cream truck that just drove by. The furthest that I have ever run voluntarily was in high school, and that dismal display of flailing legs and arms ended my career of running.
Speed up closer to present time, for over a decade, my runner neighbor, would run by the kids bus stop, house and around the neighborhood almost every day. I thought to myself, I think I should do that. As usual, I would put it on the backburner like the rest of my good intentions. They usually end up gathering dust on the “Could of” shelf of.
As I get older and watched the kids get a little bigger, every day. The thoughts of my own mortality started to creep into my consciousness. The thought of not being around for my kids for frightened me. It’s not fair to them if I had the ability to shrink my belly, and be more active with them. Heck for a midlife crisis, I could have bought a convertible! Thank goodness running is a little more in my budget range.
Pumped up on motivational and inspirational courses and book, I stopped to watch Forrest Gump run across America, again. With Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty” sound track playing in the back of my head, I did not hesitate to signed up for the New York City Marathon. Starting from zero running and zero physical fitness, I completed the 2008 New York City Marathon a year later. The motivation to do a marathon was a gradual process for me. However, once the trigger was pulled there was no stopping it.
While I did it for myself, it never occurred to me that I would motivate or inspire others to run. After the race, my wife says to me, “I want to do it.” Since then we have done 2 marathons together, my kids are now doing races. And more and more of my friends are starting to run. While the motivation to run was for personal reasons at first, it has grown to include everyone I know so that we can create a healthier world.
Whatever your goals maybe, find your motivation, find your why and you will figure out how to reach your goals. Nothing will get in your way, because everything that you do will be for the goal or you will move obstacles out of the way to navigate to your goal.
Do you celebrate your accomplishments? The year 2011 is about to wrap itself up and bring us into 2012. As the New Year approaches, everyone is thinking about setting their New Year resolutions and goals, however how many people are acknowledging what went well in 2011? Furthermore, how many people are going to celebrate their accomplishments from the year?
The truth is, celebrating one’s accomplishments or achievements is something that should be done regularly, not just at the end of a year.
Some people don’t like the word and connotation of the word “celebrate”. They’ll tell me that they don’t need to celebrate their goals and milestones they’ve reached. It feels to them as if their accomplishments should be a ‘given’, meaning that everyone is achieving or doing what they are doing.
The Meaning of Celebrations
Celebration means many different things including:
- Receiving others’ congratulations
- Pausing to reflect
- Giving yourself a pat on the back
- Meaning making
Benefits of Celebrating, Acknowledging and Rewarding Your Accomplishments
Celebrating what we have achieved is a great way to integrate our accomplishment into our psyche, life, and/or career to derive and construct new meanings on how our life could now be different as a result of this milestone that we have achieved. What have you learned from this accomplishment about yourself and your life? What will be different now?
As an example, I once had a client who had recently completed her Master’s degree. I was ecstatic for her, and even more so because I can relate to her accomplishment since I too have completed a Master’s degree. I asked her if she planned to celebrate this accomplishment in any way. She proceeded to tell me that she didn’t need to reward herself, because getting a Master’s degree was so common these days.
I was actually more interested in how the achievement of her master’s degree could change her career. I asked her what she wanted to be different in her life as a result of having earned her Master’s degree. I wanted to know also how others’ perceptions of her and her abilities might be different. Also, would her own expectations for her career now change? What would now be different in her life? What new meaning would she create in her life as a result of this achievement? This really got her thinking. She had never really thought that much about it.
Celebrating your accomplishments, or acknowledging them, or rewarding yourself for what you’ve achieved helps you to pause, reflect, and take time to relish what you’ve accomplished, and how your life might be different as a result. What does your achievement say about you? What is it symbolic of in your life and representing for you?
Others find it very important to reward themselves for their accomplishments. After all, if it was so important to achieve, why wouldn’t we acknowledge and reward the fact that we were able to follow through with our goal? By rewarding yourself, you will learn to associate joy, fun and positivity with your accomplishments, and this will make it that much more enjoyable in the long run to achieve your big goals.
On the other hand, when you keep racing onto your next accomplishment you risk burnout, and your creativity and energy will lag behind. You will notice yourself enjoying the process of working towards your goals, less and less. There is a well known quote by Arthur Ashe, “Success is a journey, not a destination”. The message is that we need to enjoy our lives as we work toward the achievement of our goals and success. Enjoying ourselves during the process and at the conclusion of our achievements is important.
Ask yourself, what is your own unique way of celebrating, acknowledging and/or rewarding your own accomplishments? For some it might be to go out and party, and for others it might be go on a trip. Yet for others it might be giving themselves an entire evening to read a fiction book. It’s different for everyone, and it also depends for some on the size or significance of their accomplishments.
Symbolic Ways to Celebrate Our Goals
- Framing a degree, diploma or certificate and posting it somewhere in sight
- Taking pictures of our celebrations
- Making an announcement such as when people announce an engagement for example
- Buying a memorable gift that reflects an achievement, e.g., a clock or bracelet engraved with a message
- Giving yourself a gift as a reward, e.g., that new pair of designer shoes that you’ve have your eyes on for awhile now
Experiential Ways to Celebrate
- Going on a trip and travelling somewhere
- Getting a massage, manicure or new hairstyle
- Have a party
- Going out for a nice dinner with friends and family
- Taking a day off from all your chores and busy work so that you can do ‘nothing’
These of course are just a few ways that you can celebrate or acknowledge the accomplishment of your goals. So, do you celebrate your accomplishments? What do you do for yourself when you have completed a major milestone or goal? How do you acknowledge it? I’d love to hear from you!
How is one supposed to get ready to set their New Year’s goals? Why must one get ready? First of all, we all know from experience that achieving our New Year’s goals and resolutions can be very challenging. Read here to learn more about why New Year’s goals and resolutions are difficult to achieve.
But, before you begin setting your goals and intentions for the New Year, you might really benefit by first taking stock of what you have achieved this year. What accomplishments are you proud of? What needs recognition? Have you acknowledged all the smaller efforts and steps forward that you have taken? If you haven’t taken this step you will benefit from completing a personal improvement review.
Completing a personal improvement review is a rewarding way to gain closure on 2011 and it is an excellent way to help increase your confidence for the New Year. It is also a symbolic way of acknowledging that your accomplishments are important because you are actively investing in yourself and taking the time to grow and develop.
Before you start your New Year’s Resolutions for 2012, be sure to follow my goal setting program which includes seven steps that will drastically increase your chances of not only setting New Year’s goals but also ensuring that you actually follow through with your goals.
Complete the online goal setting program for 2012!
Step 1: Explore what goals and intentions are the most meaningful to you at this point in time. What you wanted to achieve or create last year might not be as important to you this year. Don’t skip this step of brainstroming your goals.
If you haven’t already started an evolving achievement binder and learned how to manage your evolving acheivements binder you’ll want to read further on this because it’s an excellent way to organize your goals for any time of the year.
Step 2: Once you’ve brainstormed your goals take the necessary time to prioritize which goals are the most important and aligned with your current values.
Step 3: Writing your goals down formally and placing them somewhere you can be reminded of them every is important. This will help to keep you focused.
Step 4: Get clear on the benefits that you will reap as a result of achieving these goals. How will your life be better off as a result of moving closer to this accomplishment?
Step 5: Increase your negative motivation and gain clarity on the negative consequencs that you will experience if you don’t work towards achieving your goals.
Step 6: Identify what your limiting beliefs are so that you change them into more constructive ways of thinking.
Step 7: Gain clarity on what behaviours and habits are holding you back so that you can find alternative behaviours that will help propel you into further action with your goals.
If you’re an ambitious individual always striving to improve your life, then it’s likely that you’ve set New Year’s resolutions and used this time of the year as a good opportunity to change aspects of your life, or to set new goals.
This is no surprise because the New Year is symbolic of new beginnings as the calendar year changes. However, you have to ask yourself – what is really different other than the year number moving forward by one? Very little is different. So, why is this such a good time to make changes? I would argue that it’s not always the best time, and that there may be more factors against us than there are supporting us.
The Holidays are a Busy and Stressful Time of The Year
First of all, the holidays are a very busy and overwhelming time for everyone. We are shopping, attending social functions and running many errands. We are travelling to visit family and finishing projects at work.
Seldom does the transition to the New Year leave us much time to focus on ourselves and our personal change efforts or goals. In fact, the New Year may leave many people feeling exhausted, especially if one has over-indulged in rich foods!
By the time everyone rolls back to work in the New Year, our corporations and supervisors have a new set of goals that they want everyone to attend to. This can be stressful in and of itself given that our energy levels may not be at their peak.
New Year’s Resolutions Are Often Too Big
With the New Year, most people’s resolutions are usually something ‘big’, daunting or overwhelming in nature. For instance, so many people (usually women) talk about losing 50 pounds, quitting smoking, switching jobs, or going back to school for further training.
These types of large goals can create a lot of pressure on ourselves to achieve and perform in a certain way, and the expectation is that we begin January 1st and that we hope to be successful. These types of goals and changes however are very scary to our brains.
New Year’s Resolutions Scare Our Brain and Create Fear
Sometimes our New Years resolutions activate the fear/threat system in our brains. This is in part referred to as the fight-flight syndrome, where all the blood in our bodies moves away from our cerebral cortex and into our muscles so that we are poised to run away from our predators. What happens is that we end up avoiding taking our goals seriously because they feel too daunting, or they create too much pressure for us.
Small Steps Can Be Implemented At Any Time Of The Year!
What’s the solution then? Start breaking these New Year’s resolutions into smaller goals and concrete steps that you can begin taking today instead of waiting for the arbitrary New Year. Small steps are something that you can work into your schedule at any time and they are much less intimidating.
Statistically, New Years Resolutions Have Been Shown to Not Be Very Successful
After all, if your goal is so important, then whey would you wait until the New Year to begin it? Another interesting point is that studies indicate that if a person is trying to change a habit, they will set a New Year’s resolution 10 times before they actually succeed! What does this mean? Start your change efforts today, because you are likely going to need some practice at making this change.
With small changes and new habits that we carry out daily, we train and shape the neural pathways in our brains to grow with our new habits and changes that our goals require. Neural pathways begin to support our new behaviours and attitudes and we are more likely to succeed in the long run
Bring in The New Year with New Appreciation for What You Have Accomplished
You might find it helpful to conduct a personal improvement review on yourself, something that you might want to do every quarter of the year, or as often as you desire. In addition, be sure to start and evolving achievements binder where you can capture all the goals that you think about as the New Year approaches. An evolving achievements binder is easy to manage, and it’s an inspiring way to keep yourself on track as the New Year progresses.
Start Setting Your Goals Now for 2012!
If you haven’t tried my goal setting and motivation program yet, be sure to book mark this page and come back to get started
Are you getting ready to set your New Years resolutions for 2012? Why wait to begin working towards your goal in the New Year? I think people postpone out of fear that they will fail if they begin now, whereas if they begin in the New Year they believe that they are more likely to succeed.
The reality though, is that achieving a tough goal and making the necessary changes is something that is likely to require repeated efforts over time, especially if your goal involves breaking a habit. In 2002 the American Psychologist published an article titled, If At First You Don’t Succeed: False Hopes of Self-Change. In this article they state that when people are trying to quit a bad habit, they actually end up setting the same New Year’s resolution on average, ten times before they actually give up their bad habit! Click here to learn how to change your habits now!
Do you wonder why quitting a bad habit might require so many attempts? Part of the answer is that people fail to plan ahead, and to think about what will be needed to make the necessary changes needed to achieve their goals. For instance, if you are going to stop smoking, how will you do it? What resources or supports do you have in place? If you are going to start exercising, what plans do you have in place to make sure that you will be exercising when 2012 rolls around? Do you have a gym membership, a pair of comfortable running shoes and actual workout gear that you feel comfortable wearing?
A learning lesson is that, if you don’t prepare yourself before launching your goals and the necessary changes behind them, you are likely to fail, or to only succeed for a short period of time. This is why people continuously set the same New Year’s goal over and over again. The other piece that is required for success is actually learning by doing or taking action, and adjusting our efforts as is required.
Each time you try to quit a bad habit, you learn something about yourself. For instance, you learn about what worked or didn’t work. For this reason, you’re better off starting to pay attention to your new year’s resolutions now, so that you can get some practice in before the new year of 2012 rolls around. Hopefully with enough practice you’ll be well on your way to achieve your new year’s resolutions for 2012.
If you’re unsure about what New Year’s resolutions to set, then you can begin by trying my online goal setting and motivation program now.