This month, Matt and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We’ve been married one short year and I have to say, it’s been one of the most trying, frustrating, and beautiful years of my life. Our short marriage has been tested time and time again these last 12 months between my eating disorder, an early miscarriage, and a newfound status as an interfaith couple – but I’m happy to say that we’ve not only pulled through these challenges, but we’ve thrived off of the connection they have brought us. Making it through those challenges has been something we’ve celebrated in our own little way, but more importantly we’ve celebrated how far we’ve come and how far we hope to go after this.
Commitments of all sizes (like marriage) are important parts of our lives not only because they give us purpose and meaning, but because the journey of these commitments challenge us to do better and to be better. Commitments by nature bring hurdles, setbacks, and even heartbreak in their wake, but persevering through those trying times deserves recognition – each new milestone you accomplish deserves a few minutes of appreciation in each journey you undertake.
It can be so easy to look at the road to your goals as never-ending. Often we stand in the middle of our journeys and look forward at the expanse ahead of us and keep our eyes trained on the goal. And while keeping your eyes on the prize is an excellent motivation and should be done often, we very seldom take a few moments to look back at the road we’ve already traveled. Looking back at the spaces we’ve already covered can be a more powerful motivator than just looking at where we will be in the future.
When you’re lacking motivation and drive, looking forward at the tasks left to accomplish can leave you feeling inadequate and push you further down the path of apathy towards your goals. Seeing the looming deadlines and tasks ahead of you can make your goal seem even farther out of reach! But looking back at what you’ve already accomplished can dispel those feelings of inadequacy by pulling to the forefront all the things you’re capable of doing and how far your current skill set has gotten you.
When you’re trying to accomplish a large goal, milestones become the basis by which you measure your progress, and in a way become smaller goals. Taking the time to celebrate the small milestones (and the big ones!) can completely refresh your motivation towards a certain goal.
Understanding that you have accomplished something on this journey can make you feel like you have the power to keep pushing forward and keep accomplishing more and more milestones along the way to your larger goals.
On top of extra motivation, it can be empowering to just be in the moment and celebrate the smaller goal that you’ve achieved. It has taken a lot of strength and effort to get to this current milestone – the fact that you’ve come this far deserves recognition! You can be proud of where you are right now while still wanting to do more and accomplish more later.
The main goal will always be there to chase another day, but when you’ve hit an important milestone along the way, make sure to celebrate it when it happens! Matt and I plan on being married for a very very long time, but forever means baby steps and we’re going to celebrate each baby step as we come across it. Your goals and commitments may not be in a “forever” time frame, but your small milestones should be celebrated nonetheless to remind yourself what you’re capable and how far you’ve grown on your journey!