Karen Darrin

9 Steps to Create Your Best Year Yet:

  1. Mindset
  2. Imagine -> Wheel of Life
  3. Imagine -> Visualization
  4. The Framework of Change -> The Hero’s Journey
  5. The Framework of Change -> The Change Cycle
  6. Plan -> Turtle Steps
  7. Plan -> Strategy for Obstacles & Setbacks
  8. Plan -> Reward & Celebration
  9. Repeat Steps 1 – 8 to continue improving your life

Step 8:  Plan -> Reward & Celebration

Punishing ourselves for bad behavior usually comes very naturally to us. We usually don’t have any problem feeling guilty about what we felt was a poor performance. It doesn’t matter how small the screw-up was, we’re usually still bringing out the stick.

For some reason, we’re not as fast to bring out the carrots. The more clients I’ve worked with, the more apparent this has become:

When we make a small mistake, we almost always feel bad about it. But when we accomplish a small goal, we almost never feel good about it.

Do you see the discrepancy here? We’re very fast to punish ourselves for a bad performance and yet very slow to celebrate a good performance.

And this is actually a big problem because it decreases our motivation and makes it much harder to achieve our long-term goals.

The practice of recording our progress helps us appreciate our small wins which in turn boosts our sense of confidence. We can then leverage that competence toward future, larger successes.

This is because any accomplishment, no matter how small, activates the reward circuitry of our brains. When this pathway is opened some key chemicals are released that give us a feeling of achievement and pride.

In particular, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released which energizes us and gives us a feel-good aura. This chemical enables us not only to get that sweet feeling of reward but also to take action to move toward what triggered it’s release in the first place.

Most of my clients have a hard time celebrating their small wins. They usually tell me this is because it feels silly to celebrate an effort that doesn’t seem like an achievement. Why celebrate making that networking call you’ve been putting off for weeks, one single workout session or one hour of reading that book you’ve been wanting to read?

But the thing is, you’re not celebrating because you’ve made some huge achievement. You are celebrating because you’re successfully changing your habits. You’re celebrating because of who you are becoming. And you’re celebrating to reinforce the good behavior and develop an addiction to progress.

The big, life-changing achievements will come as a result of your daily, tiny “turtle steps” in the right direction. So, to celebrate your small wins:

1. Document the Wins. Make time for weekly, scheduled time-blocks where you intentionally think about your week. List your progress in all areas of your life.  Documenting your wins gives you visible proof of what you’ve accomplished so that you are more likely to keep at it. It also helps silence that inner critic who tells you that you are never doing enough.

2.  Appreciate the Wins.  Appreciation can sometimes be played down in life and we tend to forget to appreciate what we’ve done and what we have. Appreciating our small wins and the small steps we take can be the difference between failing and succeeding. Pat yourself on the back.  Relive it, feel it, and integrate it – that’s the secret formula for continual progress.

3. Share the Win.  Telling other people what you’re proud of and what you’ve accomplished is the marker of an authentic relationship. Share what you’re doing in your life with real enthusiasm. This is why I love coaching. Every day, I have the pleasure of encouraging and congratulating people improving their lives. I have an awesome job!

Next week, I will wrap up this series with the last Step: Repeat the Steps 1-8 to continue improving your life. Don’t miss it!

Want to read the series from beginning?  Start here: How to Create Your Best Year Yet – Part 1 of 9

CALL TO ACTION –   If you would like help with creating your best year yet, schedule your complimentary 30-min “Breakthrough Session” here: Schedule Free Consult. There is no pressure and I promise to teach you at least one tool to help you continue your own Hero’s Journey.

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