New year’s resolutions are notoriously thorny; we make them and break them as if they’re nothing. More often than not, they’re not even representative of what our hearts truly want. What if, instead of making resolutions that feel crummy, we took the time to celebrate?
I’m as guilty as anyone of forgetting to pause. I can feel the impulse to rush from one event to another, without taking the time to truly appreciate what I’ve accomplished. Maybe you feel that, too. But what if we didn’t rush? If we didn’t forget to celebrate? What if we could rejoice in the ways that we “win” — even when it doesn’t look like it to the outside world?
Sure, receiving an award, graduating, even having a birthday — those are cause for celebration. But sometimes a “win” is something much smaller. Here are some ways to slow down and infuse your life with celebration.
Create a Ritual
Learning to celebrate takes practice. Rituals can help to put you in the spirit, even if admitting success feels tricky. What’s one small (free) thing you could do to cheer yourself on? Feel free to make this silly or an inside joke with yourself.
I like to have a small piece of chocolate and have a four-minute dance party to my favorite Beastie Boys song when I have a win. Whatever it is, make it personal to you, and make it doable pretty much wherever you are. (I always have chocolate in my bag and hip-hop on my iPod.) Craft something that feels jubilant.
A Win Book
A win book is a great tool for recognizing opportunities for celebration. Here’s how it works: Pick up a blank book. Write “Win Book” on the front. Bonus points for gold pen.
Once a day, once a week, however often it works for you, journal for a little while about all of the victories you’ve had. You don’t have to wait for the big moments to declare a win. Maybe you had a great date. Maybe you wrote something you’re proud of. Maybe you accomplished what you set out to do.
Keep track of all of the little wins you have. Every time you write something down in your Win Book, you’re having a mini-celebration. Just by acknowledging the small accomplishments as “wins,” you’re making space for joy.
When you’re getting into the swing of things, it can be helpful to have a partner to share your victories. Find a friend who’s interested in helping you celebrate. This can be especially helpful if you have trouble tooting your own horn.
This person is someone who has given you full permission to gloat — and you do the same for them. Whenever something awesome happens, send them a quick text or an email letting them know. You’ll get an email back with the appropriate volume of “Woohoo!” Then, you both commence the celebration.
It’s so simple and helps to involve others in the mini-celebrations of the everyday. It can be particularly helpful to choose someone who knows you well. Some days the victory is, “I put on pants” — and they get that.
I talk a lot about gratitude, but the successful moments in our lives are a great opportunity to express it, and it’s a perfect way to bring others into your celebration. Recently, in a big group gratitude ritual, a friend offered me thanks and acknowledgement for the ways that I’d supported him this year. It was a celebration in and of itself. We both knew, in that moment, what we had been through, and the ways we’d grown as friends.
Using gratitude, we acknowledge that we never do anything alone. Whether it’s your best friend or your barista, someone helped you reach where you are today. Saying thanks allows the whole team in on your victory.
However you choose to do it, whatever small achievements you’ve made today — even if it’s just getting out of bed — I hope that you celebrate. Take some time to acknowledge how far you’ve come. Pause to give yourself credit for the ways that you add value to others’ lives and for the ways that you are doing great. Don’t just skip to the next thing; cherish a moment with yourself that celebrates all of your achievements, big and small.