Tomorrow on 31st of December most of us will celebrate the year that has been. Or we might just want this year to end quickly and forget about it, and focus on making the next year a lot better. But how do we celebrate the little things in life? What about all those small wins we have each day that we should be proud of? I’ve often heard that you should celebrate the little things in life. But I always had trouble implementing this in my life. I.e., I found it hard to figure out how I should celebrate the little things. At least that was the case until four months ago.
I tried splitting larger goal into smaller ones, and add a reward item for those. E.g., if I wanted to be able to run 10km, I would set a smaller goal at 1km, 2km, all they way up to 10km. There are, however, three problems with this approach.
1) You have to figure out and list all smaller goals
Figuring out all the smaller goals is somewhat easy for goals that are easily measured, but what about the goal Being friendly towards all people. A kind act could be anything from a smile, calling a friend, helping a lost person. There’s no possible way to list all of those.
Of course, you could rephrase it to Do five kind acts towards people every day. But I never found such generic goals inspiring to celebrate—even though they often are very inspiring as a goal.
2) You have to come up with lots of good and unique rewards
If we take the example of Do five kind acts towards people every day; the fifth time I get that reward, it won’t feel like a reward. Especially not after the twentieth time.
But taking a simple goal as being able to run 10km. Then I have to come up with ten different and unique rewards. Rewards that I want. That isn’t easy, trust me.
3) You must only take the reward when completing a goal
I used to have buy ice cream as a reward quite often because I love ice cream. But I often bought ice cream when I wanted to have some ice cream, regardless if I had something to celebrate or not. I’ve never regretted it, although it sometimes felt like I cheated the system.
After a while, I found that it was a better idea: to buy ice cream only when I had cravings. Because otherwise, I would buy ice cream just because I had to celebrate. And when I got home and starting eating the ice cream it felt more like someone was force feeding me ice cream. It also meant that I ate more ice cream because I had to celebrate
Write a list of things worth celebrating
The problem lies with having fixed goals and fixed rewards. The solution came to me after plowing through tons of videos with Tony Robbins on YouTube. At the end of one video, Tony mentioned how he celebrates the little things in life. Or rather he only got to say something in the lines of “I celebrate by writing down the little things I accomplish in a book,” then the video cut off. xD
After a lot of frustrating moments and head-scratching, I think I figured out how Tony used it.
I had it all wrong. I don’t need any smaller goals and rewards. It’s enough to write what’s worth celebrating, either at the end of the day or when I notice something worth celebrating. I found that this way to celebrate by the act of writing it down is immensely more rewarding than any of the physical or social rewards I’ve given myself in the past.
To make it simple, I created an online document for this. Each line has a date, a celebration count, and a celebration text.
The format makes it easy to write something like “I just figured out how to celebrate.” It’s also fun to scroll through the list and see what I’ve written on other days. And I can also see how much I have to celebrate for because I keep count of the number of things I’ve celebrated. 🙂
The reward I get is to write what’s worth celebrating into the document. It makes me happier, it’s fun, and it beats every physical or social reward I have previously given myself. And as mentioned, there is also the reward of occasionally reading through previous celebration texts, and how much I have to celebrate for in the past.
The only problem I have at the moment is that I used it a lot the first month, even when I hadn’t anchored it to any routine. For now, I’ll work on anchoring it to my just-before-I-get-into-bed routine.
But I’m also working on a celebration app (Celebratorica) for Android. The idea is that this app will replace my current document when it’s finished. It’s a simple app, with just the ability to add items to a list. Version 2.0 will include a reminder at the end of the day to fill in something that’s worth celebrating. And the ability to create multiple lists so you can create a grateful list.
If you want to get notified when the app is released, you can subscribe to my mailing list below. Version 1.1 will be released in the beginning of April.
What little thing can you celebrate today?
What have you done, or what has happened to you that you’re extra proud of? Write it down either in a document or even better, a post-it and put it on your refrigerator. I’d love to hear what you can celebrate today, so please comment below 🙂
Myself I’ll celebrate that I got up at 6:30 am today.
Keep in touch
In a nutshell, the weekly newsletter includes
- Summary of articles, videos, and other content. So you only have to read or watch content you find interesting.
- Experiments I might do in the future. The newsletter is where I ask you what you'd like to know from the experiments, i.e., you will directly shape the experiment 😉
- If I want to create a product (app, coaching, program) I'll ask you what you want from it, i.e., shape the product 🙂
- Tailor the weekly newsletter to what you want to see more. For example, if you want to see what books I'm reading, or have shorter (or longer) summaries. You have the opportunity to shape the newsletter to your needs.