Celebrating Success

Successful people aren”t those who set a single goal and reach it. They”re people who plan well, learn from their mistakes and set new goals just beyond their reach. They also persevere.

If you have a history of failed New Year”s resolutions, there”s a good chance you simply haven”t recognized partial successes along the way. Most of us stumble toward our life”s goals without pausing to see how far we”ve come.

Whenever you”re having trouble keeping your eye on the prize, stop and think about whether you”re missing opportunities to celebrate the milestones along the way.

The Road to Success: Benchmarks

People who quit smoking, save up for a house or lose a lot of weight don”t achieve these goals overnight: All of these goals take time and a lot of effort and commitment.

To help you stick to your New Year”s resolution, set some benchmarks for yourself. If your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight, don”t look at the whole picture all at once, or your goal may seem too daunting. Make your goal to lose 10 pounds by a certain date. Then, when you achieve that, set a new goal.

If your goal is to save up enough money to buy a car or put a down payment on a house, focus on saving a certain amount of money every month instead of focusing on the total amount. Striving to achieve a bunch of smaller goals one by one is easier than striving to achieve one large goal.

Rewarding Your Resolution Success

New Year”s resolutions that lead to substantial changes often take many months and even years of dogged determination. Saving for retirement takes a lifetime of diligence. Putting your kids through college takes sacrifices. How can you celebrate those successes before your reach retirement age or before your youngest child flips the tassel on his mortarboard?

Your friends will think you”ve lost your mind if you throw a party every time you put $1,000 into your kids” college fund. But you can find low-key ways to track your progress without fireworks:

  • Chart financial progress on graph paper. You”ll have visible evidence of growth.
  • If you”ve paid off a credit card balance, gather your family together for a symbolic card-cutting dinner.
  • Join a support group. Kindred spirits will know exactly how hard you”ve struggled to reach those milestones.
  • Place a calendar page on the fridge door and mark each day you worked out or walked a mile. When you have 30 stickers, treat yourself to a movie or a manicure.
  • Serve non-alcoholic bubbling apple cider in champagne flutes with Sunday dinner when one of your kids improves his grades.
  • When you”ve finished reading a textbook chapter, written a report or completed a challenging assignment, take time off for a long, hot bubble bath or set aside a day for doing nothing but reading or lying by the pool.

Putting some creative energy into planning rewards along the way will help you realize just how enjoyable achieving your goals can be.

Resources

eHow (2007). How to Make a New Year”s Resolution. Retrieved October 2, 2007, from the eHow Web site: http://www.ehow.com/how_12077_make-new-years.html.