Advancements, Milestones and Graduations – Celebrating your achievements
As I would start school each year, I always had the same thoughts running through my mind. “This is harder than last year! Why can’t I just be done already! And May seems forever away!” And yet the days turned into weeks, which led to months until finally we were at the last week of May. The last day of school always began with an assembly and each class would take turns standing while the others clapped as their advancement to the next grade was made official. As soon as the assembly was finished, it was celebration time. The PTA mothers fed us and we participated in a number of games until the school bell rang one last time and we were on vacation. Those of us who had maintained A’s and B’s all year got an extra special treat at the soda shop in town!
My fifth grade year started and drew to a close the same as the others. Only this time after the assembly, my class boarded buses to the middle school. As soon as we got off, the ninth graders got on and departed for the high school. I’m not sure who looked more frightened. We went on a tour of our new school and then sat through another assembly where we were welcomed and the Principal spoke about this milestone we had reached. We were on to bigger challenges and closer now to our ultimate goal. All too soon (it seems now) I was boarding the bus that had just brought over the new middle schoolers and toured the high school. Again the Principal spoke about this milestone I had just accomplished and what lay ahead as an official high schooler. The years there flew by as well and all of the sudden me and my best friends were planning our graduation party. And folks that party was 4,380 days in the making.
I talk with so many who feel their dreams are unattainable simply because of the time commitment. It’s like we forgot that it took us 12 years just to graduate from high school! Sure, most of the dreams they share are multiyear endeavors. But we’ve already proved that we can do that. We simply need to plan out our journey toward that goal with an eye toward setting aside time to celebrate our advancements toward it, the milestones as we reach them, and the final graduation party. Here are a couple of examples from my own life.
I’ve written before about my addictions. Shortly after I became sober, I decided to reward myself with a steak dinner for staying sober the entire week. I still continue this today. I watch for them to go on sale and cook it myself each week. The only thing that has changed is that now my daughter and granddaughters come over when they have a chance and eat with us. And she doesn’t know that the biggest reward is spending time with them (which would not have been possible had I continued) while we enjoy my advancement treat. When I hit five years, I bought myself a nice truck. My wife didn’t completely understand why I “needed” one but I knew that I had to celebrate the milestone. My wife and I are coming up on 30 years of marriage next year. It’s a big milestone! And we have always celebrated our decade anniversaries big! But that doesn’t mean that we wait 10 years to celebrate. No we mark each November that passes as anther advancement toward our next milestone. Now my examples don’t have a graduation point, maybe like yours (i.e. be a better spouse, parent), which is all the more reason to celebrate advancements and milestones along the way. We need not wait until we fully realize a goal to celebrate, make it part of the journey.
Have a dream but feel overwhelmed? Try this and see if it doesn’t help:
- Break your goal down into major blocks. Call them milestones and set yourself a reward for accomplishing each. Make it a big event! Milestones don’t happen every day. Treat it accordingly!
- Divide the milestones into manageable steps and call them advancement points. Again, figure out a small reward. But enough of an award that it will keep you going toward the next.
If even the above seems too much then invite a friend or enlist a coach to help. Quit procrastinating and get moving toward those goals. A Journey of many days begins with a first step!!