Reaching a goal is typically not a simple or quick task. A serious goal is going to require serious effort. Also, reaching goals is not a straight line progress; the process is full of ups and downs, with progress being intermixed with regression. Sheer willpower and strength of personality is often not enough to achieve a goal; something more is often needed, and the more serious the goal the more that something is needed. One of the things you can do to significantly improve your potential of reaching the goal is to celebrate your achievements.

Power of Success

When you achieve a milestone, you do much more than simply reach a particular point of progress. These milestones give you a real success that you can celebrate, and you can use that celebration to fuel your efforts to reach your goal.

Reaching a milestone provides you with two sources of energy. On the one hand, the fact that you have achieved such a step can provide you with deserved pride of achievement; you can feel good about your record, and this feeling can give you confidence and energy to move toward the next milestone. On the other hand, reaching a milestone is an accomplishment itself, which should be celebrated and rewarded. The reward should be something pleasurable, and that pleasure can inspire you to continue on so you will receive the pleasure again.

Milestone as Proof

The milestone also can provide proof, both to you and to others, in two particulars. First, the reaching of the milestone provides proof of progress. Each milestone is the end of a clearly defined stage of activity; having reached the milestone means you have completed that particular part of the path to your goal. For example, when I am hiking, I define the milestones to be clearly recognizable land marks on the trail; when I reach that milestone, I have completed a particular defined part of the hike. I do the same thing with the path to my goals.

The milestone also provides proof that I can be successful. After all, the milestone is a success in itself, and I have reached it. Therefore, I have achieved a certain level of success, which provides proof that I can be successful. This can give me the confidence needed to continue forward along the path towards the overall goal. Again, back to the hiking example. A milestone could be a particular peak along the path. Having reached that peak, I now can know for sure that I can reach this type of peak because I have done so. Similarly, I now am convinced that I can reach my goal because I have done something similar (by reaching the milestone).


The celebration needs to be pleasurable but not excessive. I want to feel good so that I am inspired to do it again. I want to congratulate myself so that I have pride in what I have done. But I do not want to go overboard, since that could add a negative feeling to the event. So keep the celebration small but pleasurable.

Sometimes the celebration can include a more tangible reward. For instance, if I reach a particular milestone I will treat myself to a good dinner out, or to a movie or theater production, or get a music album. Again, the reward should be commensurate with the size of the milestone reached. Small milestones have small or no reward, while significant milestones can have significant rewards. Make sure that the reward is not overused; overuse of a reward reduces its value, both as a reward and as a source of pleasure.

Finally, keep a journal of your successes and your milestones. Use this journal as a source of pleasure and inspiration by reviewing the contents. By reading such a journal, you can recapture the pleasure and pride you felt when you achieved the milestone. These recaptured feelings could be just enough to overcome the current obstacle to reaching your goal.

Author's Bio: 

John Steely has been teaching mathematics, study skills, and habits of success for over 25 years. You can access a number of free resources he has found and made at Steely Services