Celebrating Successes: how to boost self-esteem and motivation

Life can be incredibly chaotic and difficult to navigate. But even in the chaos, there are always little victories you achieve. Yes, I know you don’t believe me. I know you feel that you never achieve anything, and it’s been a long time since your last success. By the end of this blog post you will see that that is untrue. But for now, isn’t it interesting how much resistance comes up when you start thinking about celebrating successes and little achievements? 

As I said, you are achieving little victories, even if you aren’t seeing and acknowledging them. And these victories, no matter how small, are the building blocks of progress. What’s more, paying attention to them can remind you that you are capable, resilient, and worthy of celebration. Now, if that doesn’t warrant a blog post, I don’t know what will.  

Why celebrating successes works

You’re probably still wondering: why bother celebrating small wins at all? Aren’t you just giving yourself a pat on the back for only doing what you’re supposed to do? Well, yes and no.

First of all, who says doing what you’re supposed to do is not an achievement? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: self-compassion will make you a better writer. For people with ADHD, especially, the big and challenging tasks are often a lot easier to accomplish than the small everyday ones. And whether you have ADHD or not, on some days even getting yourself out of bed can feel impossible. So yes, I think we should stop feeling like we can’t celebrate ourselves for doing the things we are supposed to do. Just their necessity or ordinariness doesn’t necessarily make them that much easier to accomplish. 


But celebrating successes is not just about giving yourself a gold star – it’s also about nurturing your sense of self-worth, boosting your motivation, and cultivating a positive mindset. Think of celebrating successes as fuel for your journey. When you acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, you’re countering the negativity bias and giving yourself a little pep talk – a reminder that you’re on the right track and that your efforts are making a difference. It’s like giving your inner cheerleader a megaphone and letting them shout from the rooftops, “You’re doing great, keep going!”

Though I’ve talked about building writing confidence before, in my blog post about not reading back, for example, it’s just as important here. Celebrating successes helps build confidence, which is like armour against the slings and arrows of self-doubt. Especially for those of us who deal with impostor syndrome, this is essential. When you take a moment to celebrate your wins, you’re reinforcing the belief that you’re capable of achieving your goals, no matter how daunting they may seem. 


And let’s not forget about motivation – that elusive little sprite that flits in and out of our lives like a mischievous fairy. Celebrating successes is like leaving out a plate of cookies for motivation – it entices it to stick around a little longer, nudging you to keep pushing forward even when the going gets tough. 

It’s true, celebrating successes provides a much-needed motivation boost. Recognizing your progress reinforces the idea that your efforts are paying off, encouraging you to continue moving forward. What’s more, you get better at recognizing potential causes for celebration down the road, meaning you get better at goal setting – which also increases motivation. When you get into the habit of recognizing progress, you will make it easier on yourself to stay focused and motivated in the long run. And you do that in part by shutting up your inner critic. Writers with ADHD often struggle with negative self-talk. Celebrating successes provides an opportunity to challenge these negative thoughts and replace them with affirming and encouraging messages. 

How to go about celebrating successes

So how exactly do you celebrate these successes? Well, it’s all about finding out what works for you. Here are some ideas: 

    • Give yourself a high five
    • Smile to acknowledge your accomplishment. Though it might sound silly, a smile can trigger the release of endorphins, which boosts your mood and reinforces positive feelings. 
    • Shake off the stress and celebrate your success with a spontaneous dance party! Movement can help release tension and increase dopamine levels, increasing your sense of accomplishment.
    • Share your success with a loved one or community.  
    • Treat yourself to something special, whether it’s a fancy coffee, a nice dinner, or a small gift. 

Whatever shape you choose for this celebration, take a moment to reflect on your journey and appreciate how far you’ve come. Celebrate the progress you’ve made, no matter how incremental, and recognize the resilience it took to get there. The key to success is to find ways to mark the moment and acknowledge the effort that went into achieving your goal. 

Which achievements should you celebrate?

So which achievements should you celebrate? The answer is simple – as many as possible. Whether it’s getting out of bed on time, finishing a task, or finally cracking that tricky problem: every step forward deserves recognition. 

Do you know how hard it can be sometimes to show up to your computer or notebook to write? Well, why not celebrate the act of showing up? Whether it’s your first, tenth, or one-hundredth day in a row, the fact that you showed up to write means you’re making progress. The same is true for writing anything, even a single sentence. It may seem insignificant, but it’s a crucial step forward in the creative process! 

On a slightly bigger scale, you can celebrate the completion of a chapter or a significant section of your work. Every time I finished a chapter for my book Writing Traps: The ADHD Writer’s Map to a Finished Book, I gave myself a jolt of excitement and joy. Even though after the writing of that chapter there was more to do before my book was finished, these little celebrations and moments of appreciation of my own work made it a lot easier for me to motivate myself to keep showing up and get to the end of the chapter rather than getting myself distracted or going on tangents. 

Final thoughts on Celebrating successes

The next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stuck in a rut, take a moment to celebrate how far you’ve come. Acknowledge your progress, no matter how incremental, and give yourself a little pat on the back. Remember, life as an ADHD writer is a marathon, not a sprint, and every small victory gets you a little closer to where you want to go. 

Celebrating success is an essential part of the writing journey. It helps you nurture your sense of self-worth, boost your motivation, and cultivate a positive mindset. 

So go ahead, permit yourself to celebrate. You have earned it! And don’t forget: you’re doing great! 

And so am I: every day I’m getting closer to finishing my book Writing Traps. I’m now done writing the first draft and have begun sharing little excerpts and updates in my newsletters. 

Do you want to join the group of people who will be the first to get updates and excerpts from this book? Use the form below to sign up now!