Celebrating the little things

Gold balloons spelling yay

Celebration balloons

Why did we ever make it a thing to exclusively hold celebrations for major successes or milestones in our lives?

Why can’t I get myself a large cup of boba and a $5 bouquet from Coles just for finishing my assignments on time? Why do I have to wait until I get an HD or a D to treat myself? Growing up in an Asian household meant that you’re congratulated for getting an A and ridiculed for getting a B but as I grow older, I want to depart from that practice because I’ve realised that even the littlest of achievements matter a lot and should not be taken for granted. 

My past week has been rough because I have two assignments due on the same day and another one due in between those two. To feel some sense of control, I made a tentative timeline of when I should get these essays done. It made me feel good but it only lasted for a couple of hours until I started wracking my brain trying to draft my responses to the problem questions. I was really on track with my timeline though and finished my essay on time but instead of moving on immediately to the next assignment, I decided to celebrate this small achievement by treating myself to some pastries. Surprisingly, it motivated me even more to finish the rest of my assignments once I was done with my one-woman party.

Teaching myself to celebrate my small achievements is, I suppose, my attempt at healing my inner child. It’s so easy to feel like you haven’t succeeded in anything when you grew up with the idea that merely trying is not enough, you must be called on stage every school year and be named the top student in something to validate your hard work. On top of that, constantly being compared to your smarter friends who are also a lot more active in sports and hold executive positions in student body organisations made my accomplishments seem so insignificant. But I’m training myself to accept that trying my best still calls for a pat in the back even if the outcome was lesser than what I had expected. At the end of the day, I was brave enough to challenge myself and risk being ridiculed. 

I also feel that it’s important to acknowledge the smaller milestones because those little steps are the ones that will get you to your major wins. For example, pulling yourself out of bed and attending your classes, even when you don’t feel like it, will contribute to your graduation in the future. It also motivates me to keep on trying. Whenever I’m feeling anxious in class yet still manage to lift my hand up and answer my tutor, I make it a point to treat myself to something afterward whether it be some fries or a pack of washi tapes to celebrate my bravery. To others, it may seem silly to give myself a round of applause for simply talking but when you’ve feared something for a long time, it’s a big deal when you finally overcome it.

So let this post be a reminder to take a moment and reflect on the little victories that you’ve accomplished over the past semester. It could be putting your laundry away, catching up with your lectures, or even making your bed. All that matters and it’s worth getting yourself a gift for it. I’ve just finished another one of my assignments today so I’m taking myself on a picnic this evening as a treat.

Tagged in What messes with your head, motivation