In business, and really in life in general, we are taught to set goals – we outline our New Year’s resolutions every 365 days, we set fitness goals to shed a few LBs before an upcoming vacation, we put together plans to save money, and so on. Whether the goal is big or small, once we get to the finish line and successfully complete what it is we set out to achieve, we feel great!
Achieving a goal is an instant confidence booster, provides a great sense of pride and accomplishment, and, for a short moment, we think we can conquer pretty much anything. In fact, accomplishing a goal fuels further goal setting; once we achieve one thing, we set a new goal to strive for the next thing. On the contrary, when we don’t hit a goal, we sometimes feel like a failure. We start back tracking on all things we failed to do or that we could have done better, we blame ourselves for not trying hard enough or not being good enough.
While it is a good practice to step back and recognize where you missed the boat and where you can improve for next time, it is also important to recognize all of the things that you DID accomplish along the way. When we fail to hit the end goal, like saving $10,000 for the kids’ college fund or losing 15lbs before vacation, we discount all of the little things that we did accomplish along the way, like cutting out that daily $6.74 vanilla latte or waking up early 3 days a week to get to the gym.
In Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss talks about the ‘Jar of Awesome’. The idea is that whenever something positive happens to you – no matter how big or small – you write it down on a piece of paper and drop it in the jar. Then, next time you are feeling discouraged or in a funk, you can dig into this jar and remind yourself of all of the good things that have happened to you or the small goals you have accomplished. Revisiting these will instantly bring you happiness and remind you to appreciate ‘the journey’.
So next time you finish a chapter in a book, make a home cooked meal for your family, or clean out your car, write it down on a piece of paper and add it to your Jar of Awesome!