The final post in the series Tips for Quitting: Be a Better Quitter in 7 Easy Steps. This series provides journal prompts and writing topics to enable big changes. I used this process to quit smoking, change jobs, start running, and eliminate debt. It works! Start with the first post in the series here.
The best way to housebreak puppies is to throw a party every time they pee in the grass.
Puppy squats outside, you and the whole family lavish the little tyke with praise. You tell him he’s the most smartest dog in the whole wide world. Such a good puppy. Liver treats, scratches behind the ears, the whole nine.
We do the same thing with kids. You tied your shoe? All by yourself?! You are freaking amazing, little girl.
When’s the last time you threw a party for your own success?
If you’re like me, it’s been awhile.
Don’t Resist the Urge
For some reason as we get older we start to believe we don’t get rewarded for our accomplishments.
It’s not selfish to toot your own horn. As long as you’re not rubbing anyone’s face in it, your friends and family want you to succeed and they’d love to help you celebrate. If there’s margaritas involved, all the better.
We reward puppies for pooping in the grass because we know it will make them eager to do it again. The same method works on us, even if we’re (supposedly) smarter and more self-aware than your average Labrador.
Heaping on the praise makes you more likely to repeat the behavior.
Acknowledging your success makes you feel good about yourself, putting you in a frame of mind for further success. It’s a snowball effect – win begets win.
Celebrating success also honors the people who helped you along the way toward your goal. If you can’t stomach throwing a party for yourself, throw it for all those who pried you off the ceiling, wiped away your tears, and talked you down from the ledge when the going got rough. Tell them, “I couldn’t have done it without you.”
You share the win, and make them feel good, setting them up for more success, all while making them eager to help you again. It’s a success-laden Lovefest.
How to Celebrate
The size of the celebration is relative to the level of success. Your journal can help you define what reward is the most meaningful to you.
You can revisit your list of payoffs from earlier. Or now that you’ve succeeded, you can generate a new list.
Get out your journal and write about how to best honor your success. Error on the side of extravagance.
Make it memorable
Make journaling part of your celebration ritual. Document how you arrived at your success. Capture how you’re feeling. You can look back someday in the future when you need inspiration and remember how you succeeded, remember how you did it, be motivated by how good it felt to accomplish what you set out to do.
Make it meaningful
I usually perform my little happy dances in private. I treat myself to a cupcake and a new magazine. Or a luxurious day of writing without interruptions. Or a giant expensive sushi dinner out on the town with the Page. Your celebration has to be meaningful to you.
Make it now
Don’t delay. The reward should come immediately on the heels of your success, while you’re still basking in the rays of self-adoration.
Celebrate before you start the next project. Too often we just cross one thing off our list to be replaced with a new To Do or Goal. It’s like a 5-headed hydra that keeps growing the more you hack it down.
Celebrating can include enjoying the state of accomplishment. Sinking into it, basking in it. Enjoying the fruits of our labors. Whether it’s a completed 5K, a finished book, a sold house, 10 pounds lost or a successful merger, enjoy the rewards.
Tips for Quitting
Visit the How to Quit series page for a list of all posts with summaries.
#1 What One Change Do You Need to Make?
#2 Do You Realize What’s at Stake?
#3 You Do It Because it Works
#4 How to Write Plan B
#5 Where’d You Hide the Chocolate?!
#6 Who’s on Your Board of Directors?
#7 Celebrate Your Success