When we are feeling overwhelmed by life, taking time to celebrate can be the furthest thing from our thoughts.

During significant transitions, at our peak parenting times (when our children need us the most), or simply when life is hectic and we are literally running from activity to task and back again; life can feel overwhelming.  It’s at these times when the busy-ness of life and our commitments can feel too much.

This is when it’s okay to celebrate.

Yes, really.  The times when we are rushed off our feet and feel like we are only just keeping everything together are when we most need to celebrate.  It’s precisely because we are so busy that we forget to acknowledge how far we’ve come, and how much we’ve achieved.

Acknowledging our achievements, celebrating and really appreciating our accomplishments is vital to maintain well-being, balance and ultimately, live a joyful life.  Taking a moment to pause, reflect and celebrate how far we’ve come is something we often neglect, but can be powerful.

A weekend of Celebrations

I began thinking about our tendency to push through, keep going and our reluctance to celebrate after I had a weekend of celebrations. It was a beautiful way to spend the weekend, but was not the usual.

One of the celebrations I attend was of a dear friend turning 60 years old. She had the most wonderful celebration.  It was classy and elegant, full of good food, beautiful flowers and lovely company.  A perfect reflection of this friend, her values and relationships and therefore, of her life.

The following day my youngest son celebrated his birthday.  His was a very different celebration!

It was rowdy, raucous and the children consumed a lot of sweet food, topped off with chocolate cupcakes.

The nature of celebrations

Whilst both celebrations were very different, they also had in common a sense of joy, good friends, delicious food and fun.  A true celebration of what makes each person unique and what brings them joy.

It got me thinking.

We are so busy, and rarely have time to pause, consider or reflect upon how far we’ve come.  In our lives, we celebrate the big things; birthdays, weddings, big promotions, end of life (funerals).

But we very rarely celebrate the little things.  The positive feedback, the speech given without error, the delighted smile of our child when they do something well…  Most of us are so busy moving through our to-do list, getting things done, working and just generally getting on with it, that we forget to pause and celebrate the smaller achievements.

Do you celebrate your smaller achievements?  I know mostly I don’t.

There are many achievements in my week, or month or year that perhaps I acknowledge for moment or two, and then move on.  I think this is particularly common in our culture where we always striving for the next thing.  To acknowledge, reflect and celebrate our accomplishments is increasingly rare.

But it is important.

Pausing to reflect and celebrate

Celebrating the small achievements when we have them is important.  It’s important for our own wellbeing, but also when we are parenting our children.

When we pause, reflect and celebrate our accomplishments, we have a chance to express gratitude for how far we’ve come and all we have achieved. This is equally valuable for our kids as much as for ourselves.

Taking stock and celebrating can help boost our self-esteem and sense of well-being, as we realise that we have done many things, overcome obstacles, achieved much and had some pretty significant life events occur.  Acknowledging the good and the bad, we realise we are strong and resilient.  By taking some time to reflect, we can be proud of ourselves.

And helping our children have this same experience of boosted confidence, self-esteem and resilience?  Even better.

Celebrate your smaller achievements – a 3 step approach

I encourage you as you move through life, and the transitions you have weathered, to look back and consider how far you’ve come.  You can do this on your own, or with a child or loved one.

  1. Together, or individually, choose an area you’d like to focus on; personal, professional, school (for the children), home or in your life generally.
  2. Then, consider the time frame you’d like to review.  It doesn’t really matter what time frame you choose – it’s up to you; a month, three months, the year thus far, the past 12 months or even longer.
  3. Look back and really consider your own, or their, accomplishments in that period.  Take some time to consider the journey you’ve been on, and all you have achieved in whatever area you each chose.

I guarantee you’ll find both big and small gems there.  Gem’s which you never thought possible, or had forgotten about, or hadn’t taken the time to acknowledge because life moved on.  Some may be big achievements that slipped past without proper recognition, others might be smaller but no less important achievements that were impactful in their own way.

Regardless of their size, when you remember your accomplishments, take time to pause and truly celebrate all you’ve done and achieved.

Because, it’s okay to celebrate.

I love supporting people achieve their goals and cheering them on.  If you’d like your own cheer squad, feel free to share your achievement (big or small) with me.  Pop your achievement in the comments below, or you can keep it just between us

Keen for more support around celebrating your achievements and experiencing more joy from life?  You will love the Joyful Life Community.  Members receive access to the Joyful Life Member Area which includes e-books, PDF’s and other items to help you live a life you love; a life full of joy, hope and love.  Oh, and best of all, it’s free to join.