When a significant goal is reached, many people often feel the desire to celebrate in some fashion. However, I’ve often noticed that the “celebration” goes quite a long way towards undoing some of the good work of reaching the goal. Believe me, I’ve fallen into that trap, finding excuses to “celebrate” everything whether it was worth celebrating or not.
Here are some ways to handle celebrating an achievement that truly makes the celebration sweet.
Don’t celebrate the end of a microgoal or a short term goal. Let the pride of completing a major task be enough. I used to find myself in the trap of “celebrating” a goal completion by buying something and this habit undermined a lot of the good work I had done. Save “rewards” for the bigger goals and simply enjoy the good feeling of having accomplished something.
Don’t conduct a celebration that runs counter to the goal itself. For example, don’t celebrate the end of a week of dieting with a Sara Lee poundcake and don’t celebrate a month’s worth of frugal living with a $1,200 shopping spree. In both cases, the celebration runs directly counter to the reason for achieving the goal. Instead, you should celebrate by redoing the element of the task that you enjoyed the most: what was the best “diet” meal you ate? What was the most enjoyable frugal thing that you did? Try doing those again.
When you complete something major, you should celebrate. My only suggestion is to do something that reminds you of the success in some way so that it’s clear why you’re celebrating and not just running amok. For example, when we move into our house, there will be a bottle of 1998 Dom Perignon and also a bottle of sparkling grape juice (my wife is pregnant) in the refrigerator. We’ll have a small celebration then with the family members that help us move. By celebrating in the empty house, it will remind us of the reason for the celebration.
Thus, I’ll be celebrating the end of Goals Week here on The Simple Dollar with just a smile and a desire to write some more.