For people with ADHD, a familiar strategy to get things done is to be very clear about their goals, break them down into smaller pieces, and complete those smaller pieces in order to carry out the goal. Weekly we plan for what needs to be accomplished. Daily we check and check off our to do lists for what we accomplish and breathe a sigh of relief when we can look back and see that indeed we have moved forward and made progress. Completing these steps helps create the structure and organization that minimizes the common challenges of disorganization, distraction, procrastination, etc.
This path of a goal, whether it’s a goal set for your personal, professional or academic life, is generally seen as having four steps: 1) assess the situation, 2) set goals for how you want it to be, 3) take steps to achieve the goals, and 4) achieve the goals (completion).
After Step 4, most people return to Step 1 armed with the question: “OK, what’s next?” They devise the next plan for attacking the overwhelm and then it’s on to Step 2 and 3 and 4 again. Over and over. Goals identified, broken into steps, steps taken, goal completed.
Hold on. Stop right there. Something’s missing!
There is actually a very important fifth step that many of us leave out or never even realized in the first place. Step 5 is where we celebrate our achievements! Yes…celebrate! Have fun, rejoice, enjoy yourself…even make merry! After working hard to reach our goals, taking time to celebrate is essential and gives us the opportunity to:
• Capture the learning. When we take stock of what we’ve learned along the way to our goals, we can consciously incorporate those lessons in the future.
• Acknowledge our internal resources. In achieving goals, we bring forth various internal resources, such as courage and persistence, to meet the challenges. To have others acknowledge us—and to give ourselves credit, as well—is deeply satisfying. Too often, we miss seeing these qualities in ourselves and others. Acknowledging our strengths has the power to call us forth to use them even more.
• Build a sense of unity or community. Nothing can bond people more than striving toward a common goal and then sharing in the joy of the achievement. However, if you don’t stop to appreciate the people who helped make it happen, connection and goodwill can break down. Your team or family will feel more inclined to go the extra mile if you give them the appreciation they deserve.
• Send a “thank you, can I have some more” message to the Universe. Stopping to savor and celebrate your successes sends the message out into the Universe that you know how to appreciate this accomplishment in your life and you are ready for more!
• Have fun! Knowing you get to celebrate in a fun and meaningful way after your goal is achieved is a great motivator. Who wouldn’t be more willing to go through that challenge again if you know you get to enjoy yourself afterwards? Having completed the goal, large or small —of course you want to be rewarded with some fun and enjoyment. You deserve it!
There are countless ways to celebrate and savor your successes. Celebrating doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant (unless you want it to be). Sometimes even simply taking an hour to yourself for a walk in the sunshine, enjoying a new flavor of tea, sleep in an hour, read that new bestseller or how about a long talk with an old friend. Whatever brings you a sense of joyous completion is the ticket. Be as creative as you can! How do you celebrate?
Let me know about your favorite ways to reward yourself for a job well done by commenting on this blog.