A few months ago I turned 40. In an effort to celebrate, I decided to blog for 40 days leading up to my birthday. I sketched out the month ahead before I was willing to commit to blogging for 40 days because I’ve learned something valuable about myself in these 40 years: I don’t like to say I’m going to do it unless I believe I can. For good or ill, I like to be confident that I can finish something before I commit to starting it in the first place.
In much the same vein, as the summer wound down, I signed up for a 90 day challenge at my gym. I considered my calendar and what was manageable and planned to be at the gym at least three times a week from August until November. I wanted to feel good, better than I had felt in a while, by the time I actually celebrated my 40th birthday.
In joining the 90 day challenge I kicked off my fitness regimen by agreeing with a trainer on what my goals were. While I had to do the hard work, the spirit of the whole thing began with positivity and continued with a team effort as I met with a boot camp team on Saturday mornings to challenge myself further. Instead of attempting to do it alone, I joined a team that was doing it with me. Together, we were led by a coach who believed we could do it.
Each day in my 40 Days Til’ Forty became an opportunity to consider what good stuff was bubbling up. A couple weeks in, a good friend noticed there was a vibe about me that was noticeably celebratory. I told her how my 40 Days Til’ Forty countdown had become an exercise in gratitude, a chance to consider all the goodness in my life and all that I am thankful for.
Both of these endeavors were a refresher on some important aspects of life. So often we reach for our goals but forget a couple of key ingredients to our success. We either try to do it all alone, or we start off with an overwhelmed, defeatist attitude, telling ourselves, “well, I think I can.” We give it a try but keep in view all the same attitudes and habits we’ve had up to that point.
I wanted to get in better shape. By joining a team and signing up for something that was more than just me sweating it out alone on a treadmill, I was celebrating the fact that I believed I could. After all, why start if you don’t think you’re going to make it? Instead, begin by celebrating the fact that you can (not that you might) and then surround yourself with others who agree and are willing to share the load.
Do you have a goal that you’ve been trying to reach or maybe just thinking about it? What’s one way you can kick start your efforts to reach it in a celebratory way? If it’s to lose a few pounds or 100, buy those pants you hope to wear in 8 weeks instead of 6 months. Reach for something that is accessible and will help spring you forward once you reach it, so you can keep moving. Trying to build your savings account? Start with a regular, automated draft that transfers the money straight to savings at the same interval as your paycheck arrives–before you have a chance to spend it. Then smile on your next payday because you just saved a few bucks.
Whatever you do, take one step to celebrate in a way that shows you believe your goal is within reach, and then get started.
Even more important than how you celebrate, though, is who is celebrating with you. Who are your cheerleaders? I have at least one friend in my life who without fail supports and encourages me. It may be a friend who lovingly stands on the side lines and cheers you on or a team of people who are in it with you. Depending on your goal, you may need a financial planner, a coach, or therapist. Whatever and however you celebrate, identify who is with you. Don’t try to do it alone. Together you can conspire on how you’ll celebrate at the finish line, giving you all the more to look forward to.
Begin by celebrating, and decide who’s going to party with you . . because life is too short for anything less.