By Jodi Milner

Jodi Milner author/bio pic

Making an effort and putting new habits in place is only part of the equation for success. The other half is to reward yourself for a job well done. Whenever you’ve put a goal in place for yourself and meet that goal, you deserve to celebrate.

If your goal was to eat more veggies at mealtimes, your reward might be finding that your pants fit better and your skin looks nicer. Celebrate this victory! If your goal was to be more mindful as you spend time outside and you find that you are calmer during your day, celebrate this as well. 

When you take time to rejoice in your victories and appreciate the results of your hard work, you’re more likely to succeed in your next goal. Celebrating releases endorphins and makes you feel good. Feel-good moments of celebration reinforce the idea that success is a good thing and trains the brain to want more of it. This, in turn, makes future goals easier because we’ve crushed past goals. 

You deserve to celebrate

If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to allow yourself to truly celebrate. There’s always something else that you feel you need to do before you deserve to reward yourself. Even when you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do, it’s hard to feel like you deserve something nice – even though you totally do. It’s time to stop that kind of thinking. All accomplishments, whether great or small, deserve a moment of joy. 

All accomplishments, whether great or small, deserve a moment of joy. 

The next time you set out to do something that’s a challenge for you, also figure out what kind of reward you want to earn. It might be a special treat the next time you go grocery shopping or a random thing you saw online. Maybe it’s a special beverage that you normally don’t take the time to make for yourself. Write down your reward somewhere so you won’t forget to do it!

When you do accomplish your goal, or even a small part of it, allow yourself to feel good about it. If it feels right, jump up and down and shout your success. Do a victory dance to your favorite song. Be a little crazy. Revel in how good it feels to do something that’s hard for you.

When the next day rolls around and you’re doing awesome checking off those boxes, know that you can celebrate again!

All work, no fun, makes me a grumpy one

I used to think that part of being an adult meant lots of work and no fun. Finishing chores was just another responsibility and there was no real significance to doing a good job or not. It was just something you were supposed to do. It’s no surprise that I started to dread even looking at my never-ending to-do list. 

With that attitude, it was only a matter of time before I started letting things slip. Things started piling up in corners, dust gathered on shelves, and floors got grimy. It never got really bad, but it wasn’t good either. 

Then, I stumbled on the thought that changed everything. It was so simple. I decided that I deserved to wake up to a clean kitchen. Getting the kids ready for school is hard enough without having to fight with cleaning off the counter first or deal with a sink overflowing with dirty plates. That thought progressed into another, that I liked seeing my bed made when I walked into my room. 

I decided that I deserved to wake up to a clean kitchen.

These small celebrations were enough to change my attitude about cleaning. I don’t clean because I have to, I clean because I like the way things look and feel when it’s done. I don’t tend the garden because it’s a chore, I do it because seeing a tidy happy garden brings me joy. Do I do any of this perfectly? Absolutely not. But my motivation for doing this kind of work has shifted from a negative to a positive, and that has made a huge difference.

Discussion Question: What’s your favorite way of rewarding yourself?

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