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Achieve a goal? You deserve a reward.

Rebecca Norris
Mar 24, 2021 @ 1:09 pm
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Celebrating milestones is important. While it may seem unnecessary or even self-centered, it's actually a way to acknowledge your own success and motivate yourself to keep striving—whether it be related to your career, finances, or relationships. We live in such a go, go, go world that unfortunately, we often let major moments of celebration pass us by. But know this: The more you acknowledge your success, the more inspired you'll be to work even harder for what you want in life.

"The more you celebrate, the easier it is for your brain to get into the habit of viewing your work or achievements as more than just routine," explains Tanya Dalton, the best-selling author of The Joy of Missing Out and CEO of inkWELL Press Productivity Co. "And as you make celebrating your successes a habit, the more motivation you'll experience, and the more productive you'll be in the pursuit of your goals overall."

With this in mind—and knowing that so often, people forget to spend an equal amount of time and energy celebrating themselves as they do their loved ones—we rounded up a few ways to help you honor your own success. Whether you like to party solo or surrounded by friends, with experiences or tangible items, ahead you'll discover six ways to celebrate hitting a major life milestone. Here's hoping it inspires you to give yourself credit where credit is due and to pamper yourself along the way.

1. Treat yourself out (or in) to a nice dinner alongside your loved ones...

Is there a restaurant you've been dying to try but haven't wanted to splurge on a random Tuesday? If so, now's the time to place a to-go order or book a reservation outdoors.

"I remember when I got my book deal, my husband and I took our two kids out to a really nice restaurant that we don't usually go to and we celebrated together as a family," recalls Dalton, adding, "I like to celebrate with my kids so that they always know they play such an important role in my success. If they are doing all the things they need to be doing on their end to set the team up for success, that gives me the freedom and ability to pursue my goals and turn them into accomplishments. Any success I achieve is really a shared family success in my eyes."

2. ...Or cook a delicious meal at home.

If you prefer home-cooked meals over store- or restaurant-bought ones, there's always the option to whip up a recipe you've been hoping to test out. "To me, there's nothing better than cooking up a delicious meal with friends and loved ones to celebrate big accomplishments," explains New York City-based licensed therapist Risha Nathan.

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And, while cooking and eating may be top of mind, Nathan reminds us that celebrations don't have to be unhealthy. While people often think about celebrating in terms of indulging, whether in the form of overeating, drinking, or partying until 4 am. Nathan recommends the opposite. "Doing unhealthy things can certainly have their place, but why not celebrate with things that actually make us feel good, like we are thriving?" she says. "We often mistake unhealthy things as 'rewards' rather than recognizing that rewarding oneself can actually be healthy and feel good. Because of this, I prefer to celebrate with things that leave me feeling better than when I started."

3. Book a socially-distanced weekend (or week-long) getaway.

Whether short or long, near or far, Nathan says (and we wholeheartedly agree) that travel is one of the most exciting ways to celebrate an achievement. "It offers a nice big hit of dopamine just from being out in nature and exploring the world, and our minds thrive when we fill them with new experiences," she explains. Plus, as she points out, travel is often associated with feelings of gratitude and a sense of renewal, so once your celebratory trip is over, you'll be ready to take on your next goal.

(Of course, it's still a pandemic, so if you're going to travel, please keep cleanliness and social distancing in mind!)

4. Got kids? Get a babysitter.

As fun as it is to celebrate with family, Dalton admits that sometimes you need to celebrate without the kids. With that in mind, she says that unplugging from work and parenting to focus on yourself and your partner or friends can be incredibly rewarding—and a great way to both celebrate a major milestone and strike a better work-life balance.

5. Consider getting a tattoo (temporary or real).

Think about getting a tattoo to mark your accomplishment! If you're not a fan of needles, putting on a temporary tat can also be a fun way to celebrate.

"I have taken myself to get a tattoo to commemorate a milestone or to be a reminder of a moment or mindset of gratitude when celebrating," shares Sonia Petkewich, career coach and CEO of Taurean Consulting Group.

6. Celebrate with yourself, too!

As fun as it is to celebrate surrounded by loved ones, it's beneficial to process your accomplishments by yourself, too. Whether you book yourself a solo spa day, treat yourself to a purse or pair of shoes you've been eyeing, or buy yourself a piece of jewelry, you deserve to do something fun just for you. Be proud of yourself for how much time and effort you put into accomplishing your goals, and enjoy the reward you're able to give yourself as a result.