Recently, one of my clients was complaining that she hadn’t made enough progress toward her original coaching goal, and I had to stop her. I reminded her of how much progress she had made, saying, “You just moved to a new house. And you’re getting along great with your spouse. Don’t you think these are things to celebrate?!”
The truth is: we all do this. We are so hard on ourselves that we create blind spots when it comes to what is going really well in our lives. However, my coach, Amy Cotter, says, “what we focus on grows!” so I try to find something to celebrate each month regardless of what’s written down in my goal journal or what I’m working toward on my vision board.
Part of why we set goals is to enjoy the journey. So I say, stop and celebrate the process this month.
Focus on the Good
It’s so easy to look at our yearly goals and quickly see gaps. Instead, I want you to retrain your brain to look at what is working in your life.
Maybe you didn’t accomplish every item on your list and maybe your vision board hasn’t fully manifested into your life but, I bet, if you dig deep there are some small changes you have made this year that have had a huge impact. And my guess is that you aren’t giving yourself nearly enough credit for the progress you have made.
We all fall into this trap. It’s great to look over what you have accomplished and set up next year’s agenda with new SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive) goals in mind. But, while it’s important to pay attention to whether or not your goals are realistic, remember to quickly move to praise for all the hard work that you have done.
Maybe you didn’t get your book written, but you are more connected with your spouse. Maybe you didn’t get that six-figure job, but you did take care of an aging parent who needed you. Maybe you didn’t run a marathon, but you are more in tune with your kids.
Ask yourself: What is going well? Chances are, you made progress in areas that you couldn’t even conceive of at the start of the year.
Bring This Practice Home
I love asking my clients what things are going well, what areas of their lives feel calmer, and what flaws they’ve just accepted and moved on from. Oftentimes we don’t even see all the growth we accomplish that is so clear to those around us. So, it can be especially important to practice pointing out the successes of others and asking our loved ones to call us out on our small achievements.
Practice doing this with your spouse and your family because we all suffer from failing to realize all that is going well and needs celebrating in our lives.
These reminders can look different for all of us. Sometimes I leave an “I appreciate you” sticky note on the bathroom mirror for my spouse or tell one of the kids I am especially proud of them. Recently, my middle son signed up to play bass and I told him that we should go out and celebrate him trying something new.
Open the Door to Positivity
Once you get into the habit of noticing other family members’ accomplishments, you will exercise the part of your brain that scans for what is going well and begin to celebrate yourself too. By focusing on the good and even great things we do enjoy in our lives, we open the door to positivity, bringing success and happiness towards us far more effortlessly.