The Moment of Reaching a Major Goal Doesn’t Compare to the Unexpected Ripples
Accomplishing a significant goal or challenge is a great feeling at the moment it happens, but that feeling doesn’t last long. The next day, you wake up and it’s back to life as normal.
I was very excited when I self-published my first book “Grief is a Mess.” Shortly thereafter though, the excitement subsided and I was left feeling a little disappointed. I wanted the elation, joy, and other exuberant feelings of accomplishment to stay. They didn’t.
It’s been 6 years since I published “Grief is a Mess,” and I can say I had no idea how much that book would shape my life. Over the years, I’ve been contacted by organizations and people, thanking me and wanting to work with me. I was hired at a local high school because of the book, which led to a full-time position and tuition reimbursement for my grad school (which is what got me to be a therapist!).
The feeling I had when I released the book pales in comparison to the long, wonderful life-enhancing impacts on my life.
I feel similarly about restructuring my business. I began restructuring my art therapy private practice in June of 2021 so I could have more emotional, mental, and financial freedom (you can read about that journey in my essay “What is Success When You’re an Art Therapist.")
All of my new policies and structures were finally in place by August 1, 2021. I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to feel elated, but I was exhausted. It was a lot of work and I spent the next couple of months in a low and recuperating.
Over time though, I began feeling the benefits of the business changes I made. I had more energy at the end of the day. I no longer had to juggle and hold a caseload of 40+ people in my mind. I was working with clients I enjoyed. I had more time off.
It’s now eight months later, and I am now more rested and happier than I have ever been in my life. I cannot believe how much ease my business and life possesses. That is due to changes that I implemented last year. And yet, it took months for them to really hit me.
This lesson was on my mind as I finished my personal challenge of writing 100 essays in 100 days (it ended on March 30th). Many people were filled with excitement that I accomplished such a great task. They wanted to celebrate with me.
I did celebrate, but I certainly didn’t experience a sudden burst of excitement on the day I hit 100 essays. Instead, I felt a more subtle, deep pride in sticking with it. I also felt excitement for the future, to see how this accomplishment will ripple into my life.
It’s already impacted me in unexpected ways (you can read about that in my essay "I'm Writing 100 Essays in 100 Days"), and I’m looking forward to the unexpected impacts coming forward.
Now that I understand that a big goal isn’t about the moment of accomplishment, it allows me to live with more excitement and anticipation of reaping the rewards that my accomplishment sewed.
Are you struggling to savor your accomplishments and enjoy the present? I provide therapy for individuals with overwhelming emotions and thoughts.