Celebrate Progress to Build A New Habit

Cover art of fireworks for episode 14 of Changes Big and Small - Take Time to Celebrate Progress

When was the last time that you celebrated your progress towards your goals? We get into the habit of always moving on to the next thing, but research shows that stopping and celebrating after completing a new action helps train the brain to repeat that action. We repeat actions and create new habits because of the benefits we perceive from that action. So when you stop and celebrate, you’re making sure your brain recognizes the benefits. You’re using gratitude and savouring to rewire your brain.

Why Celebrate?

I did a web search for the role of celebration in developing habits, and had over 16 million results! Psychologist BJ Fogg summarizes the role of celebration with 3 words: “emotions create habits”. He goes on to say that you can celebrate that you remembered, that you are doing, and that you’ve completed an action. If you celebrate remembering, you’d rewiring your brain for that action. The same with doing, and with completing. So, there are 3 opportunities to rewire your brain with each step you take towards a new habit!

There are 3 opportunities to rewire your brain with each step you take towards a new habit!

Change IS BIG and small

I have reason to celebrate! I’ve shipped an episode of Changes BIG and small every week for the past 13 weeks. That’s 13 episodes that you can go back and listen to if this is your first episode. I was a bit surprised to realize how much I was smiling as I stopped and thought about this. This is the length of some full seasons of shows. This isn’t about boasting, but rather taking the time to feel grateful. And I want to thank you for being part of this journey, whether this is your first, second, third or any number up to 14th. This is not a farewell, but a podcast about change will definitely go through changes.

I really enjoy chatting with people for the podcast, discussing the changes they’ve made in their life, and sharing their journey with you. I hope that you can relate and draw inspiration or motivation from my guests. These conversations will remain an integral part of Changes BIG and small. What will be new is that I will intersperse episodes of just me at the microphone with these episodes. When I was a teacher, regularly attending conferences, I wished that there was a way to consolidate what I learned at a conference. I wanted to be able to talk about it with someone, to try it in my classrooms and get feedback, or even just take time to think about the relevance to my own context and work on implementation.

In the new format of Changes BIG and small, I will be building more of a support community. I’ll pull out ideas from each interview to discuss. I’ll share research about these ideas and how they help with change, and share some challenges for how you can apply those ideas in your life. And throughout it all, the focus remains on action. In all episodes, I’ll share ideas you can use to make progress in your life.

I’m excited about this revised format. I worry that I’m going to run out of things to talk about but if that happens, I’ll pivot.

Invitation to Listeners

I hope that I will be able to share some of your stories. Not everyone wants to be interviewed, but I invite you to be part of the Changes BIG and small experience. So how can you do that? There are several ways:

  • visit https://changesbigandsmall.com and click on Message in the menu bar and let me know one thing you have learned or one thing you’d change after listening to CBas.
  • explore the list of book recommendations from guests at https://changesbigandsmall.com
  • when you complete a challenge or accept one of my invitations, send a message to CBas or comment on the post to share any action that you take
  • Join the Facebook group to support other people on the same journey as you, one of progress. Here I share additional resources that can help us make progress, and you’re welcome to share resources there as well.
  • Leave a review wherever you listen to CBas to help other people find the show
  • Send your favorite episode of CBas to a friend or family member.

If you do want to be interviewed, let me know. Email contact@changesbigandsmall.com or use the Message link on the website.

As I end today I want to encourage you to find one action, one thing that you’ve done today that will help you make a positive change in your life. And celebrate it. Then do the action every day for the next week, celebrating each time that you complete it. Celebration could mean taking three deep breaths and smiling about the experience, calling a friend to let them know about your progress, skipping or dancing around the room, smiling and savoring. It only needs to take a moment, a few seconds.

Find one action, one thing that you’ve done today that will help you make a positive change in your life. And celebrate it.

My challenge to you this week starts with choosing an action you’re trying to complete to build a new habit. Complete that action today and every day for the next week. Aim for 7 days. Remember that this can be the smallest possible action that will help you create your new habit; it doesn’t matter if it is something that you can do in 10 seconds. In fact, Fogg advocates the use of tiny habits of change, easy behaviors that can be done in 30 seconds or less. For the past week, I’ve been working on drinking a glass of water as soon as I wake up. It only takes a few seconds. I want to recognize here that the new habit may be something that you’d like to stop doing (take something away) or something you’d like to start doing (add something). Those are both habits.

If you miss a day, don’t make it two. The quicker you can get back on track, the easier it is to do so. Some people benefit from putting up a calendar and checking off each day that they complete the action; they find the visual reminder inspiring. Use a calendar to see your progress, and a reminder alarm or a visual cue can help you complete the action. Try to remove as many barriers as possible as I discussed in episode 12. And don’t forget to celebrate with each action you take.

The quicker you can get back on track, the easier it is to do so.

Bonus

Here is Fogg’s TED talk, where he presents a 3 minutes challenge to practice celebration:

I’m cheering you on. Have a great week!


Credits

Theme music by Rafael Krux. Inspiration on freepd.com. License: CC0

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.