When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back?
I’m asking because we might feel it’s “wrong” to blow our own trumpet. We worry it’s arrogant or self-indulgent, when in fact it might be an important part of progress.
The brain is mysterious, but equally fascinating. For example, we know it has something called “the reward centre”. When something feels good (or tastes good), it’s like a fruit machine that’s just got three lemons in a row. We light up, get a “hit” of dopamine and the brain learns “that’s good”.
The downside is the brain doesn’t always seem to be able to differentiate between what’s healthy and what’s not. You can get a “hit” for example from someone liking your Facebook post. As tribal beings, we need to belong, so our brain interprets a “like” as success – it translates this as “you fit in somewhere – keep doing that!”. In the same way, we “feel better” by having that slice of chocolate cake; this is how habit loops occur. We want to feel better so we have another slice of cake.
Imagine then, if we rewarded our success, instead of numbing out fears or sadness; the brain might be motivated to get more done.
This week, maybe set the intention to Celebrate a Moment. Put one thing on your social media (if you use it) this week that you’re proud of – or just tell friends, family and colleagues what you’re glad you’ve achieved. If things to rave about feel a bit thin on the ground, write down one thing you want to get done today, this week and this month, then note how you will reward yourself for achieving it. It might be when you pay a bill, do your filing or have that tricky conversation you’ve been putting off – then tell yourself how great you are.
This article explains the benefits of celebrating accomplishments, including how recognising your success gives others permission to do the same. Be careful not to only measure your success on an oversized scale – the small wins always count.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021