My days are pretty crazy. I’m a mom of six boys, and I juggle a writing business. My time is very parceled out, and my goals tend to be carefully detailed and intricately wrought, because I have to use whatever time I have to do what needs to be done.

That means there isn’t usually a whole lot of margin time to celebrate.

For a while, I thought this was okay. Who needs to celebrate the little things, after all? I have my goals. I’ll celebrate when I actually achieve them.

The problem, though, is that big goals usually take a while to meet. That’s why they’re called big goals, right? So that means we have quite a bit of time and space between when we set our big goal and when we actually accomplish it.

What can happen during this space if we’re not careful is that we begin to forget that the tasks we do every single day are just as important as the actual accomplishment of a big goal. If my big goal is to write 2 million words, which was my goal for last year, every day I write any words at all is a major accomplishment (especially since my kids like to bust the door down to tell me about the cookie their friend gave them in the lunch room today). I forget the importance of these small steps when my vision is solely focused on hitting the 2 million word mark.

Now. I’m not saying that we celebrate every single day. That would make celebration seem too mundane and ordinary for our purposes. But last year, as I was on my way to hitting 2 million words, there were small victories in between that big goal. I published hundreds of blogs. My follower count grew. I released a bunch of books. Most of the time, I let the book launch day pass like it wasn’t really a big deal at all.

It was a big deal, though. Those words contained in the book and released out into the world shoved me one step closer to my big goal. That deserved a celebration.

If we forget the small celebrations in light of the big goals we make for our year, we are in danger of burnout. No one can indefinitely sustain the pace we have to sustain in order to reach big goals if we’re not marking our progress and celebrating the small victories along the way.

Maybe you don’t have a regular writing habit right now. Maybe your big goal is to write every day for a year. Maybe you get a couple of writing-every-day weeks under your belt. That’s worth a celebration. Maybe you’ve written a bunch of books but you’ve never really finished one, and you finally perfect one and release it out into the world. That’s something to celebrate. Maybe you get your 100th email subscriber on your way to 10,000. That’s something to celebrate.

Celebrations mark our path and show us that the small steps we take really do add up to make a difference.

Writing is not easy. We have a whole lot to overcome in our writing careers, not the least of which is our own mentality. Celebrations help us win this mental game so we always choose to continue on in spite of the obstacles stacked against us. We begin to appreciate the process instead of the end goal. And the process is what will make us writers.

So as you begin to take steps toward your big goal in 2017, I want to encourage you to celebrate your small achievements. Oftentimes, this will be the difference between giving up and pressing on.


Week’s prompt

Write a personal essay about the color green. Tell what green has meant in your life—your earliest memories of it, your experiences with it when you were a teenager, what you think of it now. Talk about what you feel when you see the color green. Imagine what stories the color green might say about your life.

If you need it, use the picture below to help generate inspiration.

Photo by Sujan Sundaraswaran.

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