Daily Accomplishments Celebration: Pausing to Review

Sometimes when I think about all that I have to accomplish I freak out- as I am stepping over my dirty laundry, kids’ toys, eyeing the dirty dishes splayed amongst the kitchen, while hearing the ding of a work email hitting my slammed email box. My mind starts going on all of the things I have to accomplish and I feel heat rising up the back of my spine and burning into the back of my neck. I become overwhelmed, stressed out and start in on the self-sabotage that really breaks down to me telling myself that I am not enough and can’t do things right. Fortunately, after much practice I have become aware of this pattern and am able to take a pause and breathe my way out. Can you relate?

There are so many reasons why we get overwhelmed with our daily tasks and so many tips to ease the stress, but there are a couple that I have been practicing recently that have really helped me. When I am self-sabotaging myself that I am not enough (or whatever my favorite saying is that day), I also send that out to world and am critical and blaming of others around me (whoa, epiphany!). Then those people in my life become critical of me and the vicious cycle continues and nothing actually gets done. Getting this awareness was a crucial step in letting go of the anxiety. To not focus so much on the negative, I really had to personally practice on focusing on the successes and accomplishments. Then I had to actually acknowledge these accomplishments. This means truly pausing to notice throughout the day each task or gift as accomplishments and not allowing room for judgement. Then I share my accomplishments; either out loud with another person or in my journal. And finally, I celebrate the accomplishments.

By reviewing the day or event in a positive way, we can paint the picture in a positive light or as a learning experience. This is not to say that we shouldn’t talk about what goes wrong in our day; but really making a point to emphasize and acknowledge the positive as well. Sometimes an accomplishment can even be the fact that we learned a lesson from a “fail” which will serve you in the greater scheme of things in the end. Sounds easy? Sounds impossible? Sounds too fluffy (with an additional eye roll?) Give it a try. Just for a few days. Here’s some tips.

Create intentional space and time for your daily review. It seems that making time for something new in our life, especially towards intentional practice, is one of the hardest things to do. It’s easier to keep doing our same old routines even when we don’t feel good. Tack on your daily review to something that you are already doing. It could be during dinner, during your bedtime routine, in bed before you turn out the lights, in the shower, in an evening conversation, etc.

Find someone to celebrate with. Celebrating the day’s accomplishments is a great way to connect with someone. Ask someone in your household, a friend, family member, mentor, co-worker, or even your pet dog. This should be someone in your life who you feel “safe” sharing with- no judgement allowed. This sharing can be done each day in person (most favorite), phone, text or email.
Journal as a backup. While connecting is important and this is a great way to do so, it is important that you are sharing your celebrations with yourself. If you don’t have someone safe to share with or you want to practice internally first, go ahead and get a journal, note pad or device to help you write out your daily celebrations. This is a great way to take what’s in your mind and put it on paper. It can also spark further journaling and creativity during your review. Also, if you are keeping a specific journal for this, it’s fun to go back and look at everything and reflect. You can journal and share with others as well.

Communicate. Once you have selected who you want to share with, be vulnerable and communicate. Let them know that you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and want to practice celebrating the day’s accomplishments so you are not focused on my tasks or “failures.” Or tell them whatever you are feeling as to why you might to try this. Invite them to join and share as well, but you must let go of them having to reciprocate.

Acknowledge a minimum of 3 things to celebrate in one day. In my hardest days, it seems like I can talk myself out of any success. That’s why there is a minimum of 3 to help you dig and encourage acknowledging even the “small stuff”. You are welcome to do more than 3! This is a minimum, not a limitation.

Make sharing a judgement free zone. Be clear that when talking or journaling about accomplishments to celebrate, you and/or the person you are sharing with have a strict rule that there is absolutely no judgement on any accomplishment. All will be celebrated. This means negative comments internally and externally are just not allowed. For example, if you feel that going to the grocery store was an accomplishment; a negative comment or thought could be: “But I forgot the milk”, “But I didn’t go until super late and I spent a lot of money”, “that’s not really an accomplishment”. Not allowed! Notice as this start popping into your head, out your mouth or from someone else.

Acknowledge and celebrate. Once you have listed and shared out your accomplishments take time to pause, acknowledge and celebrate. This must be done by you. It may sound a little weird at first, but start with phrases like “Cheers to me”, “I am proud of myself”, “That was hard and I did it”, etc. Offer yourself true cheers. If you feel it deems it, take a picture of you or the “accomplishment”, give yourself a break, smile, do something nice for yourself. Invite your friend to join you in the celebration- don’t just have the expectation they will. “Will you join me in celebrating that?” Take a big deep breath and let the rest go.

Repeats are ok- for a bit. If you are in a place where you are only able to celebrate the same 3 things in your life each day, go for it. The point is that you are celebrating without judgement. Then give yourself a time limit on how long you can repeat. 3 days or 3 weeks? Give yourself time to practice and then make space to open up and seeing what else can be celebrated. Your practice will naturally build.
Expand how often you celebrate. As you build this in as a regular practice (perhaps this is an accomplishment you celebrate!), then you will notice yourself celebrating moments throughout the day. Notice ease and a sense of pride within yourself. Take pause at various moments in the day and just reflect on the past few hours or if something “big” happened, reflect and find what you can celebrate. Don’t wait for the evening. You’ll probably find yourself stocking up on celebrations to share.

Celebrate others. Just as my inner critic can extend outward in my relationships, I find that my celebrations can extend two-fold. Start celebrating yourself and you will also become more aware of others’ daily celebrations. While it’s not our job to build other people up, we don’t have to hold back on sharing our celebration for others. If we don’t outwardly acknowledge another’s celebrations, it may not have been properly celebrated. It’s like offering a compliment, gratitude, connection and an “I see you” wrapped up in a bow. I love those presents!
Have gratitude. So often, our ego and perception on life can create a negative outlook on our daily life and our tasks seem overwhelming. What we can be throwing an overwhelmed pity party about, could be someone’s dreams they are struggling with. Try changing view of your tasks from “I have to….” to “I get to….”. I get to go to the grocery store and nourish myself because I have enough money to do so. There are many hungry kids out there with hardworking parents who can’t. It’s true- not just a saying to get kids to eat their broccoli. You don’t have to shame yourself for feeling overwhelmed and grumpy about going to the grocery store, just change your perspective and ground yourself in gratitude to motivate you to move forward and celebrate.

Building from and celebrating our daily celebrations helps us to let go of thoughts that we are not enough, failures and not worthy of success. It’s just not true. But getting ourselves out of this rut takes some intentional action. So go ahead and try this daily practice for a week. Even if it’s hard and feels cheesy, one week is worth a shot. Notice how you feel. Notice what feelings and messages come up for you. You already have one accomplishment to celebrate on day one- that you started the practice!

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