The Celebration Habit


Picture this: You are in a race. Ok, pause. Hold up. I know some of you are already thinking “Oh dang, I’m in a race?! I’m going to lose. I’m so out of shape.” So, let’s also pretend that you are in uber good running shape and have been training for this race. You’re completely prepared. Ok, unpause. You’re shoulder to shoulder with some intensely competitive people. Their eyes are on the prize. You’re stretching, warming up, taking some big breaths. Then you hear it over the speakers. It’s time to line up. The race is about to begin. The gun fires, your feet jolt you ahead, and you are flying! The competition is hot, but you’re staying with it. You’ve been training, practicing, and you’ve put in the time. You’ve never run a race like this before. You’ve never considered yourself a runner, but here you are. The finish line gets closer and closer. The crowd gets louder and louder. You narrow your focus and pull out all of the stops. Every last drop of fuel is put into action as you cross the finish line. And guess what? You won!!!! You did it! You did something you never thought you’d do AND you won! How do you see yourself celebrating? Do you put your hands in the air for victory? Do you scream out “YEEESSS!”? Do you give high fives to the people around you? Do you quietly whisper to yourself “I did it!” while tears stream down your face? Do you head to the sidelines to hug your spouse who was cheering you on? Do you pick up your little one who was holding a big sign for you? How would you celebrate?

We all have a natural inclination to celebrate. Think about how kids respond to their “wins.” I’ve heard my own cheer for what they produce in the toilet, give themselves accolades for writing their name and riding their bike. They are so proud of their efforts AND the efforts of others. I’ve watched my boys cheer on bugs and animals as they do their thing. As we get older, where does this natural habit go? How often are we, as adults, celebrating the wins of others and how often are we celebrating the wins in our own lives? Somehow, somewhere, along the way, we have turned in our “permission card” to celebrate. We adopt some kind of belief that celebrating is a waste of time or has to be earned. No wonder we are part of a generation that is more depressed, more in debt, and more addicted than the generations before it.

Consider this, what if having that habit of celebration, as a childlike inclination, was intended to help us produce more of the same greatness? What if it was there to help sharpen our focus and train our eye to see progress while it’s in process? Let’s be honest. “Progress” isn’t always visible while it’s in “process.” Some of us lack the patience and appreciation of the process required for progress. Celebrating along the way, while in process, is like setting up memorials. It recognizes that we had what it took to move forward, so it gives us confidence that we’ll have what it takes to keep moving forward. Every process includes mountains to climb and low valleys to wade through. The “celebration memorials” help us to remember. To remember that we can, that we are moving forward, that change is possible, and that life is meant to be celebrated not accomplished.

March CHANGE Challenge:

Go back to the race scene. How would you celebrate? How would you celebrate if no one was watching? Now think about areas of your life that maybe you’ve neglected to celebrate. Think about something that is in “progress” that you could intentionally plan to “celebrate” the milestones and set up “memorials.” How will you do it? It may seem silly to celebrate small steps, but when celebration is a habit, progress becomes our norm and joy becomes our fuel. We happily achieve instead of achieving to be happy. Life seems, altogether, a package wrapped up with good and bad, struggles and triumphs, a gift worth celebrating.

about the author…Jamie, wife of her high school sweetheart and mom of 4 boys, has been in the fitness industry for 18 years. “Fuel the body, mobilize the soul” is her mission. Connect with Jamie on Facebook or online at

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s March 2018 issue.
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