Monday, March 3, 2008

Celebrations and Goal Attainment

Health Fair
What are you doing Sunday, March 9, from 1-4 pm? (remember to change your clocks!) Stop by to say hello me at the Health Fair at the Jewish Community Center (off Hwy. 70S near the 70/100 split)---this is a big one and really will happen (barring tornado, tsunami, ice storm, or the landing of aliens from another galaxy). I’ll be handing out literature, calendars, and offering FREE seminars to three lucky raffle winners! Come on by and enter!
Map for JCC:

Celebrations and Goal-Attainment
This week---Thursday, March 6---I celebrate my half birthday!

A half birthday? What’s that?

Years ago I noticed that the second half of my year was always better than the first half (it may have something to do with the beginning of spring, increased sunlight, crocuses and tulips in bloom), so I decided, hey, it’s my birthday---I can celebrate it however I want---in halves, quarters, whatever! And, there’s no law against it!

Celebration is a very important part of a healthy life. The world throws us enough muck along the way that we need to balance it out through celebrating. Our culture is particularly noncreative in celebrations: We have some fun fireworks on July 4, great decorations and store sales around Christmastime, some late-night revelries on New Year’s Eve, green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, parades on Memorial Day (if you’re lucky) and then you get to celebrate your birthday and anniversary. There are the one-time celebrations, also, such as graduation or a wedding. If you’re Jewish you get a Bar- or Bat-mitzvah, and Catholics have First Communions. Other than those paltry few, there’s not a whole lot of partying goin’ round.

What’s most important about celebrations is that they serve as acknowledgements, life markers. We’ve made it through another year of life…or marriage. We deserve an award! Look, we finally got through the grind of school! We’ve made it! We’ve reached some particular goal!

So many of us set our goals and then plod on and on toward them. We rarely stop to see how far we’ve come compared to where we were before. Maybe we’re afraid that the hobgoblins of the past…the anchors and cement-block slippers and bogeymen fears will rear their ugly heads and get in our way again. Maybe we’re just too busy moving forward to take a moment to look back.

I think the first step in setting and attaining goals is to take a good, long look at where we’ve already been---and then to stop and celebrate how far we’ve already come! To acknowledge ourselves for making it through all the trials and tribulations and stresses and obstacles we’ve encountered. And, most important, to congratulate ourselves for getting to today!

After all, how can you set a map to your future and plan the direction to take if you don’t know where you’re starting?

So take a few moments and lift the mirror. Take a long look at the road behind you. Pat yourself on the back! Shake your own hand! Have a chocolate bon-bon! Light a candle and make a wish! Do something that is celebratory to acknowledge your success in getting to today!

Just like in Alice-in-Wonderland---celebrate your Un-Birthday!!

Step number two: Plan some celebrations on the way to your goals. When I get my first chapter written, I’m going to hold a tea party! When I reach five new clients, I’ll take myself to dinner! When I get my business loan, I’ll buy that beautiful desk lamp!

And for the ‘little’ steps, especially the hard ones---find a mini-celebration for yourself. Pat yourself on the head (when no one’s looking), shake your own hand, do a Happy Dance around your desk…whatever works for you.

These are all moments of self-acknowledgement, of positive feedback. Positive feedback is the single most motivating and inspirational force I know (well, second…the possibility of meeting Robert Redford is the first most motivating and inspirational force I know, personally).

And, by all means---celebrate your half-birthday!

What sorts of celebrations, large or small, do you do? What provides positive feedback that motivates and inspires you in continuing toward your goals? Please feel free to share your thoughts here!