Advanced degree holders and high achievers are always setting – and accomplishing – goals. Sometimes we live from goal to goal without ever stopping to savor the victory.  An assistant professor from a northeast R1 university emailed me after our coaching session to ask, “What do you think is the best way to celebrate reaching the smaller goals along the way?”

Small victories can look like anything; there’s no milestone too small on the way to reaching your goals. Your small goals may include completing a dissertation chapter, sticking to the time limits you set on your teaching prep hours, meeting your goal to read a fun book once a month, maintaining your daily writing practice, adhering to race training goals, and so on.  

Whatever the goal accomplished, you must take time to celebrate. Celebration helps you keep your energy up as you live on purpose and with intention. 

Celebrate holistically. 

In other words, celebrating a milestone in a way that does not violate your other goals.  For example, you’ve completed that book chapter and now you want to kick back and enjoy your accomplishment with a double scoop Haagen Daz Brownies a la mode on a waffle cone. Too far? Well, that’s totally how I would celebrate, if I weren’t trying to keep to maintain a healthy daily calorie count and reduce my sugar intake. To celebrate without regret, I’d swap the deluxe version of my favorite ice cream with a kiddie cup. 

Celebrate with others. 

Incorporate people you care about, and who care about you, into your celebration. People who genuinely want you to succeed will be happy to share in your success. Their energy can fuel you to reaching your next milestone. Sometimes, I’ll share a business milestone with one of my women business owner mastermind groups. It’s a virtual group so I’ve only met a handful of the participants in person. Still, it’s nice to post one of my victories to our members-only group, and watch the number of comments and likes rise as they cheer me on to continue offering my gift to the world.

Celebrate through reflection. 

Simply put, take a moment to recognize the work you put into bringing your accomplishment to fruition. You maintained a regular gym routine, wrote daily, or got out of your comfort zone to attend new networking events. You did not allow fear, barriers, or distractions keep you from reaching your goal. Think back to the moments of flow: When did you feel most accomplished while working toward this goal? How did you keep moving when you hit a wall? Take stock of your responses so you can replicate them next time you are working toward a hard-to-reach goal. 

Celebrate by treating yourself. 

This one may feel a little frivolous, but it’s real. I keep a short wish list of things I’d like to treat myself to. These items are not at the top of my budget or shopping list. My wish list has small and large items like a new leather journal to a wellness trip to Arizona. When I cross a milestone, I take a look at my list and see what I can afford to treat myself to.  (Back to celebrating holistically!)

Comment below to share how you most enjoy celebrating small accomplishments on the way to achieving your big goals.

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