Let's start with a song. Think of the words and tune of that celebration classic, "Happy Birthday to You." What word gets special attention in each line of this song? It's the word at the end of the line: Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear [birthday person]. Happy Birthday to you.
The words in the song convey a cheery good wish. But it's the pauses that really shine a light on the birthday boy or girl. Try singing the Happy Birthday song with no pauses, and see if the birthday person gets quite as much attention!
Pausing at the right time - when singing a song, reading words in a book, teaching a child a new skill or throwing a ball for your dog - adds a necessary rhythm that enhances whatever you're doing. Similarly, pausing to celebrate the achievement of a goal can heighten its balue. Congratulations!
In our fast-paced world, pausing to celebrate can seem like a luxury. But it's actually a strategic last act in meeting a goal.
Taking time to relish the fact that you've met one goal can energize you to tackle the next. When you finish your course, what guilty pleasure would you like to spend a few hours enjoying? What if you cleared an entire afternoon to work on your scrapbook or start (and finish) a jigsaw puzzle? Or maybe you'd love to go on a hike, sneak off to the movies, play computer games or get the full treatment at a day spa.
It takes a certain courage to plan such a pause. As you set your To Do list aside for a few hours of pur fun, that list can call out to you. If the "call" turns into an insistent shout, turn down the volume by reminding yourself that the list will still be there when you come back from your hard-earned celebration. "Seize the moment," wrote humorist Erma Bombeck. "Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart."
If playing hooky from your life for a few hours of personal celebration seems too frivolous, take comfort in the fact that, each year, some people spend a day celebrating the craziest things. The website Holidayinsights.com lists hundreds of annual celebrations, including Fruitcake Toss Day (January 3rd), Thank a Mailman Day (February 4th), Everything You Done Right Day (March 16th), Rubber Eraser Day (April 15th), Lumpy Rug Day (May 3rd), Hug Your Cat Day (June 4th), Ugly Truck Day (July 20th), National Raspberry Cream Pie Day (August 1st), Be Late for Something Day (September 5th), Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day (October 11th), King Tut Day (November 4th) and Eat a Red Apple Day (December 1st).
Pausing to celebrate can be a necessary personal refreshment that steels you to tackle your next goal. In addition, pausing to celebrate can remind you that you're wishing yourself great success. In our preoccupied world, even the people who care the most about you may forget to acknowledge an important achievement in your life. Sometimes, if there's no one else to do it, you need to reach around and pat yourself on the back. Comedienne Lucille Ball expressed it this way: "Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in the world."
Congratulations on approaching whatever it is you're doing.