“The invariable mark of wisdom is to
see the miraculous in the common.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you find that you keep “forgetting” to recognize your accomplishments and congratulate yourself for them, here’s an easy-to-remember technique you can use.
Just as when you were a child and everything you were learning was new, you’re starting with the basics. So just remember three steps:
- Once per hour, stop whatever you’re doing and take a slow, deep breath
- Look back on your activities during that hour
- Recite your ABC’s
You’re probably asking right now, “What the heck do ABCs have to do with celebrating success?”
Well, the ABCs I’m talking about represent the three crucial elements that will not only bolster your self-esteem, but propel you to perform at your very best…so you’ll have even more to celebrate!
Here’s what they stand for:
The “A” is for APPRECIATION – please don’t discount this word just because it gets used a lot! Feel the positive infusion of energy that the act of appreciating creates. When you pause, take a breath and truly connect with the value of each victory and how it has helped you move forward, that appreciation for yourself builds a solid base of self-trust and self-esteem.
The “B” is for BOLDNESS – Declare to yourself that you are amazing. While still handling the day to day tasks of daily life, you also begin to take on more opportunities that you might have avoided in the past because they seemed too big or intimidating. When you decide to stop ruling out options on the basis of whether you “think you can or think you can’t” your choices become more empowering. You’re willing to take risks, and your victories feel that much sweeter.
The “C” is for COMMITMENT – you adopt the philosophy that “it is unacceptable that I will not have this desired outcome!” You respond to seeming setbacks not as failures but as learning experiences, and – just like Thomas Edison’s 3,000 attempts to create a light bulb that worked – you immediately move toward trying something new that might bring you success. You become someone that you, yourself can count on!
Here are just a few examples of successes my clients have celebrated over the last couple of weeks:
- I moved my elderly mother into a smaller apartment, and handled all the stresses without any arguments, and without losing my positive attitude
- I heard my usually argumentative adult daughter tell me for the first time that she likes one of my suggestions!
- I finally let go of some old files and papers related to the past, and freed myself from both the clutter and any remorse or self-judgment I had felt about them
- I was confronted by an anxiety-provoking moment, and breathed through it so I could address it calmly, rationally and successfully – then noticed that I haven’t been having as many anxiety-provoking moments lately!
- I found a comment my spouse made – one that used to make me feel annoyed and defensive – interesting, and just wondered where he came up with that point of view…because I’m clear that it doesn’t describe who I am, so it no longer upset me to hear it
- I managed to get to 3 different appointments on time without any additional stress or worry
- I spoke respectfully and calmly when a colleague was rude to me.
- I organized my office and found important papers I had been looking for
- I accomplished all the things on my “to-do” list and gave myself permission to stop and take short breaks throughout the day so I stayed calm and focused
- I remembered to say thank you all week for small things my husband did for me.
Can you see how acknowledging yourself for these things changes who you are for yourself, in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways? Now imagine if this became an ingrained habit – what might be possible for you if you knew you got to celebrate yourself every time you had a win of any kind? Wouldn’t you put aside your reservations, resentments and reasons for not trying new things, and just “go for it” a lot more often?
So try my method and see how it goes for you. Just pause on an hourly basis, take a slow, deep breath, and ask yourself “what have I accomplished in the last hour?”
Then listen very closely to what comes up first. If it’s less than self-celebratory, gently stop yourself. Remind yourself of your ABC’s, and reconsider or “re-frame” your description so it expresses appreciation, boldness and commitment.
For example, when you shift from self-talk such as:
“Well, I failed to get my report done!”
“I realized there was another important angle I should consider for my report.”
“I tightened up the wording of that important section so it is much clearer now.”
…a whole new you begins to appear! Give it a try this week, won’t you?
And send me your stories of what you learn – I love to hear how all of you are learning and growing and taking better care of yourselves!