Kids are so great at acknowledging themselves for little wins and small successes. We teach them this at an early age by congratulating them for small steps, first smiles, rolling over and sitting up. In turn they congratulate themselves early and often:
“I went to the potty by myself!,” “I tied my shoe-laces,” “I cleaned my room without being asked!,” “I’m running for class president,” “I asked someone to the prom,” “I got accepted to college!” Many of these declarations are met with enthusiasm by us.
But, what is even more important than the feedback they get from us, is the internal acknowledgment they give to themselves. Like Dora The Explorer, they celebrate; “we did it, we did it!”
And then, sometime between high school and adulthood, something changes. You don’t hear your colleague say “I managed to make it into the office on time this morning, for the first time in 3 weeks!” This is because she is more interested in hiding the fact that she has been chronically late, than celebrating the progress she made that morning.
Can you imagine if one of the other pre-school moms jumped up and exclaimed “I did two sit ups and a squat yesterday, for the first time since my 4 year old was born!” Instead she is feeling ashamed that she is not taking a daily run with her baby in a jogging stroller, just like her neighbor, Pauline perfection over there with three children and a body that won’t quit. Won’t quit doing exercise, that is.
As adults we have a tendency to focus on two things:
- Where we think we should be in life.
- What other people are surmising about why we are, where we are.
What if instead, of focusing on where we think we should be, we celebrated our own progress? And instead of spending time on what others might be thinking, we put more stock in our own thoughts? Remember the Michael J. Fox quote “what others think of me, is none of my business.”
As we head into the new year, I invite you to focus on your personal best and how far you have come. You are the person who knows what it takes to make progress each day. Give yourself the acknowledgment you deserve!