￼The Importance of Celebrating Your Progress: An Overlooked, Yet Powerful Motivator
This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.
Do you ever take the time to celebrate your progress? For most, it’s barely a thought, only focusing on the outcome, but is this hurting your potential?
Suppose we continue to push this mentality of working hard and hustle culture without space for acknowledging just how far we’ve come? In that case, you leave room for the disappointment of perfectionism and actually increase the likelihood of poor follow-through.
Join me as I dive into this blog on celebrating your wins, valuing your worth, and leveraging that to motivate you or your team.
WHY YOU MIGHT STRUGGLE TO CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS:
Do you ever take time to celebrate your success or accomplishments? Or even acknowledge the small wins in those around you?
I can picture you saying, “hmm….I don’t know” or “haven’t thought about that.” Well, think about what the message to yourself is or your organization when you don’t do that.
We are often so caught up on the daily to-dos and the pressure of unrealistic demands that we actually forget to notice what we’ve accomplished, or acknowledge the accomplishments of our peers sharing office air or zoom rooms around us. Well, I don’t think we forget, I think we are conditioned to discount the small wins as “not good enough” because we haven’t reached that destination, completed the project, achieved the goal, or received praise for it.
However, something powerful happens if you take the time to think about what it takes to get to your end goal and the tasks you’ve managed to pull off along the way.
When I trained for the NYC Marathon a few years back, 26.2 miles was the outcome. Still, there were many important milestones along the way- like actually deciding I could run that far (absolutely not a distance runner), hitting key milage like 13.2, 15 miles, 18 miles, and positioning myself for 26.2. What was more important at race day wasn’t the race itself but what it took to get there. Each time I hit a milestone, it reinforced that this was possible, and I also saw the shifts in friends and family around me and their excitement that this was actually happening. All of the above was motivation to complete one of the most challenging events in my life, next to birthing babies.
THE POWER OF PROGRESS IS FUNDAMENTAL TO HUMAN NATURE
Whether you are trying to bring in a big sale, develop a high-quality product or service, forge a new path in life, or get a handle on your anxiety, acknowledging everyday progress can make all the difference in how you feel and perform. That same concept of having and acknowledging the small milestones is not just a great way to motivate yourself, but also your team. If you can help them see the value of the steps, they have accomplished and find ways to acknowledge that as their leader, you are building their intrinsic ability to perform (and maybe even like what they are doing).
The power of progress is fundamental to human nature. Think about the excitement of parents encouraging a child to take a few steps as they learn to walk and the level of trust that child feels in themselves and the external motivator to take that step. Then the joy of the accomplishment. That celebration is an inspiration for that impressionable tiny human to keep walking until it turns into a full-out run. That concept of internal self-reliance is one we have to foster through our personal self-development. However, externally, a powerful and underutilized motivator by managers and leaders is praise.
We never stop being that little kid that responds to external praise, guidance, and support.
REMIND YOURSELF OF THE GOAL
I collaborate with clients to set goals and meaningful milestones because it’s the GPS for our work. It’s a sign of progress that we are going toward their goals, and for my clients, it becomes a focal point for the work. It’s easy to get distracted by the expectations of others or the disappointment we feel if we aren’t working fast “enough” or we aren’t where we should be. Those steps become a blueprint for reframing our focus and keeping us motivated.
BUILD A STRONGER SUPPORT SYSTEM BY SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN YOU.
As I’ve hinted so far, part of your success is dependent on your ability to slow down and acknowledged your progress, or to embrace even the small wins. I encourage my high-achieving and driven women in business to enjoy the journey regularly as we look at developing a flexible growth mindset. Their drive can easily distract from the small but significant gains.
Another critical factor is who is on your team to provide external support? Does your team even know what you’re working on, and are they equipped to recognize those steps and high-five you along that process? You want a team that can nourish your progress and see it as essential to the larger objective. If you want to achieve bigger goals, build a support system of people with whom you can share your goals and who can also believe in your journey and recognize your progress.
Progress is a complex formula of how we view our support systems (organizations, management, workers, family, or friends) and how confident and equipped we feel in our abilities and ourselves. These join forces to either push us to higher levels of achievement or stunt our growth, contributing to resistance like overthinking, procrastination, stress, and inaction.
Stop minimizing your wins. It’s part of your progress and worth celebrating.
You are worth celebrating.
DO THE WORK: AN EXERCISE TO BUILD MOTIVATION
Let’s switch gears and do some heavy lifting to practice the ideas we’ve discussed so far.
Take a moment to reflect on this question I recently shared with several of the leaders doing a recent mindset workshop:
- What beliefs about yourself do you have that may not be a fact?
- When you think of your goals, what are some of the thoughts that come up around them that create obstacles to action?
- How does the expectations of you based on your identity (such as gender or race) influence those thoughts?
Remember the work starts with your understanding of yourself and how your life experiences or expectations cause you to respond both internally and externally. Have you considered what parts of those thoughts or processes are getting in the way of your progress?
Let’s take a look at your progress: Take 10 minutes to brainstorm your wins for this week. Go ahead, set a timer, start writing, then come back to this piece.
How many wins were you able to come up with? Celebrate that.
Notice how it feels to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments. Permit yourself to feel the pride, joy, or even the discomfort that comes up with acknowledging yourself. Sit with that feeling for 15-30 seconds as you remind yourself you are worth celebrating, you are doing a great job, and you are fully capable of navigating the next step towards your goal.
You can easily do this for the team as well. What wins did your staff or business hit in the past week? Who had a role in that? Celebrate them.
As you get into a regular practice of reassessing and acknowledging yourself, it gets easier to motivate yourself and build and support those around you.
End Self Criticism and Learn To Like Yourself
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on celebrating the small wins and your progress as a source of motivation. Or share your experience with the exercise above.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R. Licensed Psychotherapist & Mindset Coach. Mental Health Consultant & Speaker