Dr Peggy Marshall

Celebrating Your Success


“The celebration… you cannot practice it or anything. It’s a moment when the excitement of your goal makes you react to the moment.”

                                                                                               –Peter Bondra 


You may have read in a past December blog that one of my favorite December songs is “Happy Xmas” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  The lyrics start with  

 “So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun”.


Every year when I hear this song, I begin to think about what “I have done” and whether I accomplished the most important things in terms of what I set out to do.  What I want to call out this year is how you celebrate what you have accomplished.  High achievers are not known for stopping to celebrate successes instead they are known for moving on to the next task.  Another potential challenge for high achievers is the tendency to focus on what didn’t happen instead of what did.  What can you do to ensure that you are celebrating your successes for 2013-no matter small or large-before moving into 2014?

Why Celebrate Success?

Why is it so important to celebrate success?  Celebration is a form of gratitude.  Recognizing the wonderful experiences we have in our lives serves to create more of them.  In addition, one of the best ways to create our future is to leverage what we know about our past successes!  Finally, these celebrations can help to rewire our brains so that our focus is on what leads to success rather than what is missing.  Shawn Achor in “The Happiness Advantage” relates that this rewiring creates what he calls the positive tetris effect and sets us up for happiness, gratitude and optimism.

 Before we move into 2014 goals there are a few things to reflect on.  First, think about how you did celebrate success.  Did you build rewards or celebration into any of your goals?  If so, which ones?  Why did you pick those specific goals to reward or celebrate?  Were there any goals that you achieved but didn’t reward?  What are your standards for celebrating your successes?  These questions cause us to reflect upon our mindsets and ideals and give us a chance to better understand our own philosophies on rewards and celebrations.

 It might be difficult to remember all of the success you have had for the past year so a great exercise is to write them down.  You can identify the successes by month or quarter-the most important aspect is that you write them down.  Some people use a time line while others use a table.  Once you have identified your successes, ask yourself if and how you celebrated your successes.  Did you let family and friends know about the successes or did you keep them to yourself?  Additional questions might include: Growing up how did your family approach rewarding success?  Did they have any rituals that you can bring forward today?  Also, is there anything in your mindset about rewards for success that is holding your back from your own celebrations? If so, this a good place for you to start thinking about how to start small in the process of rewarding and celebrating successes.

 Preparing for Success in 2014

John Norcross in “Changeology”  tells us that building rewards into our change efforts is essential to the process of change.  Knowing how and what you will reward builds solid habits towards making and sustaining the change you want to make in 2014.  As you think about your goals for 2014 also consider what rewards and celebrations you will include in your process.  Making a list of rewards that could be matched to is another great exercise.  If you are the achiever I discussed in the first paragraph and quickly move on to the next goal without celebrating your successes, you might want to keep a journal-at least weekly- in which you reflect about your successes.  Brendon Burchard  in “The Charge” suggests that our sense of accomplishment comes from taking the time to reflect-not simply completing actions.  Without this reflection, we may be left with the feeling that we are not accomplishing anything which could result in feelings of incompetence and lack.

As you set your goals for 2014, don’t forget to spend some time thinking about how you will reward yourself for your achievements as well as how you will celebrate your successes!

Wishing you and your family the very best for 2014!

Dr. Peggy