All of this can be accomplished through the two “magic motivators”: celebration and appreciation. Most of us know how to appreciate others. However, when it comes to ourselves, we feel embarrassed and uncomfortable if we are too generous with praise.
Years of being told not to brag or to be stuck up when we were young have taken their toll, and self-appreciation comes awkwardly. However, if motivation is a desirable trait, then self-appreciation becomes necessary and desirable too. The good news is that you can learn it.
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If you would like to learn self-appreciation and it is difficult for you, I recommend practicing in several ways. Many of my clients have found it fun to buy small gold foil star stickers (just like in grade school) and award them to themselves for jobs well done, or any achievements they wish to celebrate. Pasting the stars on a calendar daily can be very effective. Go ahead, award yourself lots!
Other kinds of stickers are readily available. One of my clients rewarded herself for being successful in her eating program with small stickers representing jelly beans, chocolates and ice cream cones! She got her dessert in praise instead of calories.
Also, it can be effective to remember back to childhood parties and celebrations. One of my clients was told never to make noise because her grandmother was ill. However, shewas allowed to play her accordion as loud as she wanted to when she practiced. To this day, playing her accordion feels like a celebration and a chance for her to sound off. Early birthday parties or holiday outings that were special can also be tapped for ideas. If Mom always cooked a turkey for a big occasion, or set the table with the best china, or a bottle of champagne was served, then those ingredients can indicate celebration and accomplishment.
Crepe paper streamers, banners, candles, balloons, flowers, special clothing (your fanciest shoes, a new hat) gatherings of friends, trophies, diplomas and awards can all indicate achievements worth celebrating. Try using one or two of these items on occasions for which you wish to generate motivation.
If you are nervous on the first day of the new job, celebrate completing the day with sparkling apple juice or diet cola served in your best champagne flutes, and candles on the dinner table. Put a few gold stars on your calendar for getting through a difficult homework assignment. Buy your little girl a trophy engraved with her name for cleaning up her room for a whole month.
There is no such thing as too much praise or celebration. Is there too much motivation? Of course not—the more the merrier. Fresh flowers on the table just to say how much you appreciate yourself can do a lot toward making you happier any day. A new trashy romance novel can be a great reward/celebration for reading your required technical books.
The important point is that celebration of what you have accomplished already will create motivation to accomplish more.
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Get creative with your celebrations, have fun. Celebrate a cherished friendship with an impromptu lunchtime picnic, and a balloon. Above all, have fun. That’s the objective!