When we think of celebrations, we often think of the big events in peoples’ lives: birthdays, graduations, weddings, and job promotions. But what about small celebrations? How do we celebrate our wins when they aren’t “big wins”?
Why does it feel good to celebrate? There are scientific reasons behind the giddy feeling of celebration. When we feel a sense of positive reward, our brains release dopamine—a neurotransmitter in our brains that helps to control our emotional responses. When we feel we’ve accomplished something worthy of celebration, our brain is releasing “happy chemicals” that influence our motivation and concentration.
So celebrating wins and healthily rewarding ourselves for those wins are important! We want to nurture our celebratory feelings to continue on to more successes.
Celebrate the wins Although the milestone celebrations are typically few and far between, there are ways we can celebrate our wins, even if they are small.
Creating “to-do lists” is perhaps one of the easiest ways to gain a sense of accomplishment. It can be a list of “to-dos” for the day, the week, or the month. Once the list is completed, reward yourself with something that is beneficial to you—take that yoga class you’ve been eyeing or get that massage you’ve been craving. This way, you have a goal to work towards and you have a visual list to keep you accountable for the goals you’re setting out to accomplish.
Another way we can celebrate wins is by sharing our success with others. If someone said “yes” to your awesome idea at work, if you did something that required emotional or mental bravery, or if you finished that big project that’s been stressing you out for months—share it with someone! It’ll make you feel good and it will add to that overall feeling of “celebration.”
Have a “winning” outlook How do we develop a “winning” outlook? Giving ourselves positive affirmation is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Although it can be easier to beat ourselves up over our dissatisfactions, positive affirmation towards ourselves will ultimately lead to better outcomes.
Give yourself praise and reward for all of your wins—big and small! Don’t downplay your wins—celebrate them and use them as stepping-stones to your next win.