Throughout my life I've noticed a certain type of person. They have this aura which makes being around them more enjoyable, like they're going to have a good time no matter what. What's key about them is that they have (or bring) a perspective to the lives of themselves and the people around them which ups the level of engagement in the seemingly mundane. While our personalities tend to change more subtly, it doesn't mean we can't add excitement and meaning to the things we do each day. You must celebrate progress towards your goals in proportion to the difficulty of the task you just accomplished (or attempted with your full effort).
There's a lot of writing related to goal-setting that indicates if you have ever-increasing goals, then you'll feel like you're never good enough since you always have another, larger mountain to summit. That's a logical conclusion one could reach when they think of continued goal-achievement, but it's lacking in one area, the reward that is unrelated to the results of the goal you've just achieved.
The moment immediately after achieving a goal is the perfect time to reward yourself for a job well done. Once you have a reward for goal-achievement you change the game. You are no longer in between experiences of achievement with no payoff, you're consistently achieving more and having a wonderful time along the way. I'm not saying that having fun should always be conditional upon accomplishment, but, when the big things are, it makes your work a lot more enjoyable. Failure to celebrate your achievement is a direct indication that what you did doesn't matter. Logically, if it doesn't matter, then there's no good reason to do it (achieve future goals) again.
Our other selves
Conceptually, we have different selves inside of us. The self who is highly productive and the lazy, Sunday afternoon self, for example. Each of these have different motivations and desires, and they each have value. The former wants you to have an improved life and the latter wants you to rest and recuperate. The trick is to recognize that these selves are always together. Your let's-go-have-fun self is hanging out at the back of the room while your productive self is working really hard to achieve your goals. By not acknowledging the former's presence, you are, in effect, neglecting part of yourself. If neglected for too long, that self will come to the productive self, knock him/her out of the seat and say, "it's my turn to run the show!"
...and that's when you end up binging a new TV show for six hours on a Tuesday night. The have-fun self doesn't know when they'll get another chance to have the spotlight so they're going to milk this opportunity for all it's worth. Often this throws your productive self out of balance the next day.
This, of course, then causes an over-correction where you hate your have-fun self for trying to make your life more fun. You feel bad about it, which makes any future lapses even less enjoyable (in the long run). Without maintaining a balance, you'll constantly be fighting an unproductive battle against yourself.
The antidote is to acknowledge your other selves more often. One way to do this for the have-fun self is through consistent celebration. Now, celebration here does not mean (necessarily) spending a lot of money or having a party. It's much more expansive than that. Celebration for a person who loves nature might be a hike in the woods or a camping trip. It could even be buying a nice piece of outdoor furniture so you can enjoy your backyard more. It's something that you look forward to doing, after you've done something that's worth rewarding.
The celebration needs to be commensurate with the task you've accomplished so you can, again, maintain the balance. Going on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure because you got out of bed, would make going to work impossible. It's just far too difficult to top that celebration consistently. Having some chocolate after you knock out that proposal is a great thing, you get to eat chocolate and you got something done that can have a major impact on your business.
When you break down your major goals (you do have goals, don't you?) into clear milestones, make sure to include the celebrations you'll have along the way. It's easy and motivating to know that if you do a hard thing a fun one is soon to follow!
Drop a comment and let me know what you think!