In the season of renewal and dreaming that is January, many of us become hyper-focused on new goals, or perhaps old goals that were pushed aside for one reason or another. As we solidify our New Year's resolutions lists and begin to focus fearlessly on the path ahead, a question emerges: What about those goals we've already achieved?
In our accomplishment-focused society, actually achieving our goals can feel a little ... deflating. For example, you set a goal to run a marathon. When you set that goal, it felt practically impossible. But then you trained hard for it all year and ran it in record time. Once the adrenaline wears off, you feel a little empty.
So, what should you do next? Here's your action plan.
First and foremost, celebrate! When people congratulate you on achieving your goal, don't shrug it off. Thank them and let yourself revel in that congratulations a little bit.
Better yet, go out and celebrate. Call up your friends, your significant other, your family—anyone who you think will be genuinely happy for you. Let them know you want to celebrate accomplishing an important goal of yours and suggest a dinner or drink out.
You can also reward yourself in some way. As happiness and habits expert Gretchen Rubin writes on her blog, "When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and contented, which boosts our self-command—and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits. Studies show that people who got a little treat, in the form of receiving a surprise gift or watching a funny video, gained in self-control."
Figure out what a rewarding treat would look like for you, then get out there and make it happen.
Allow yourself to sulk a little.
If you're having post goal-achievement depression, don't beat yourself up. Instead, let yourself feel it. Journal on feeling lousy after achieving your goals, letting every sad or weird emotion flow out of you.
Then, explore why you think you're feeling like that. Is it simply because you enjoyed the journey of pursuing something big, that it gave your a sense of purpose? Or is it deeper than that—like maybe you thought you'd finally feel happy when you achieved a big goal, but instead you don't feel much of anything?
Whatever your thoughts or feelings are, allow yourself to feel them and don't judge them. They'll help you gain a better sense of understanding about who you are, what you want, and how to approach your next goal.
Let your achievement bolster you.
Once you've worked through those initial feelings, stop and reflect on just how great it is to achieve something you worked hard for, and let it give you the faith you need to believe you can achieve other goals, too.
In other words, this achievement can serve as inspiration for your next goal. When you feel like giving up (because anyone who's ever gone after a big goal knows you always feel like giving up at some point!), you can say to yourself, "remember when I worked hard enough and was able to achieve what I once thought was impossible?"
Image via @thechicvibe
Set new goals.
Finally, set some new goals. If you're a little addicted to the pursuit of what you want, hey—who are we to judge? That's an excellent quality, as long as you remember to pat yourself on the back for it and make time for self-care.
So get out those vision board tools, crack open your Silk + Sonder, or take your pen to a sheet of loose leaf paper. Jot down your goals, plot the path to get there, and get started. We'll see you on the other side!
Ready to get to work on those new goals? Subscribe to Silk + Sonder today. And while you're at it, let us know what goals you're proud of achieving and how you celebrated.