Celebrate to Succeed

How often do you celebrate success? You may be missing out on one of the MOST momentous motivational levers.

Your brain is wired for celebration and throws its own party by releasing reward chemicals in response. These feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and endorphins give a sense of well-being and enable you to experiment, take risks and learn. Serotonin adds focus and can even transform stress into success. Dopamine gives you the ability to pay attention to critical tasks and ignore distracting information.

These neurochemical reactions in your brain drive your state of mind and are strongly connected to motivation. Your brain wants to repeat behaviors that created the positive chemical rush – this is why celebrating is an integral part of successful habit-building or behavior change!

Here are two simple ways to activate the neuroscience of celebration:

  1. Break it Down – if you have a large goal, don’t wait to celebrate. The power of small wins keeps you motivated along the journey. Think of celebration as refilling the motivational tank. The more creatively you celebrate along the way and fill the tank, the more progress you will make!
  1. Be Positive – it’s easy to point out the problems, the issues and failures, and everything else that still needs to be done. When you celebrate success and remind yourself what has been accomplished and what has worked well, it serves to reinforce the positive. You get more of what you focus on, so why continuously remind yourself of what’s wrong or lacking? Celebrate and validate what’s right and what’s been done and your brain responds with the chemical cocktail that energizes you to continue.

WARNING – failure to celebrate can lead to mental lethargy that will result in less focus and decreased performance over time. When you fail to celebrate accomplishments, you are training your brain (and your team’s brains) that what you are doing isn’t all that exciting and important. Is that the message you want to convey?

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