Many of us find celebrating our achievements difficult – even uncomfortable. Whether it’s down to self-doubt, fear of being in the spotlight, or not wanting to appear proud, it’s common for us to shy away from recognising our successes.

However, research shows that celebrating your achievements in a healthy way has several benefits. We’ll explore why it’s important to celebrate your achievements below.

Why might we avoid celebrating success?

Why might we avoid celebrating success

There are several reasons why people might avoid celebrating their achievements. This includes…

Tall poppy syndrome

Tall poppy syndrome is based on the idea that, in our society, it’s best not to stick out too much because, just like a poppy which gets cut down if it grows taller than the rest, successful people are more likely to be criticised.

As a result, in the face of success, people can often feel inclined to stay silent to avoid criticism.

Imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome describes the experience of believing that you’re not as competent at something as you are – despite having success or achievements that prove otherwise.

Feeling like an imposter or fraud can make it difficult to celebrate achievements because you may constantly doubt or compare yourself.

Not being present

Many of us spend time either living in the past or fixating on the future. For example, dwelling on previous mistakes or worrying about what you’ll do next.

Particularly if you’re a goal-oriented person, you may find yourself constantly looking forward towards your next achievement without taking time to celebrate present successes.

If this is something you struggle with, you might be interested in our articles; 10 everyday activities that can help you stay in the present moment and An introduction to mindfulness.

Fear of things going wrong

If you tend to be a ‘glass-half-empty’ person, you might find it difficult to celebrate your successes due to fear of it not lasting or things going wrong.

This concept was popularised by Brene Brown who described it as ‘foreboding joy’. Tying in with a fear of vulnerability, Brown summarises the idea saying, “If I don’t feel extremely happy, I won’t feel extremely disappointed.”


Some people feel guilty about being successful – and research suggests a few reasons why, many of which may be rooted in past experiences.

Examples include being the first in your family to achieve a certain level of success and worrying that success came too easily.

By-passing small achievements

Some achievements may simply seem like they’re too small to celebrate, so you might bypass them as being insignificant.

Not wanting to draw attention to yourself

Some people may avoid celebrating their achievements if they’re particularly shy or don’t enjoy being the centre of attention.

What are the benefits of celebrating your achievements?

What are the benefits of celebrating your achievements

There are several benefits to celebrating your achievements. We’ll cover some of these below.

Celebrating achievements can increase confidence and self-esteem

Self-worth is marked by the perceptions we have of our abilities and achievements, and is the foundation for confidence and self-esteem.

So, the more you celebrate your achievements, the more likely you’ll feel confident in your own abilities.

Celebrating achievements may help to reduce stress

Taking time to celebrate your achievements may reduce stress by offering emotional respite from the cycle of constantly striving towards or worrying about the future.

Celebrating achievements can boost motivation

Research shows that celebrating and taking pride in your achievements, even the small ones, can motivate you to achieve more.

Plus, there’s plenty of evidence that the emotions we experience while celebrating success are often contagious and give others permission to follow suit.

Celebrating achievements can increase positivity

In his book Hardwiring Happiness, Rich Hanson, PhD, explains how our brains are biased towards focusing on negativity – known as the negativity bias. Hanson recognises celebrating achievements as a strategy for moving our attention towards being more positive.

There’s also evidence that celebrating success, however small, triggers the release of dopamine – a neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasure, motivation, and learning.

Celebrating achievements may improve mental health

By helping to improve confidence and reduce stress, and encouraging people to foster a more positive outlook, it’s possible that celebrating your achievements may benefit mental health.

5 healthy ways to celebrate your achievements

healthy ways to celebrate your achievements

There are several simple ways that you can celebrate your achievements, without overdoing it.

We’ll cover some ideas below.

1. Take time for yourself

Rest is important because it allows us to recharge and reduces the risk of burnout. Particularly if you’ve been working towards a specific goal, it’s important to rest and take time for yourself before moving on to the next thing.

Celebrating your achievements by taking time for yourself in ways that nurture your mind, body, and spirit is a win-win.

Examples of ways to celebrate while taking time for yourself include going for a walk or jog, having a dinner party with loved ones, going for a massage or spa treatment, or doing a fun activity with friends.

2. Reflect through journaling

Achieving something is enough reason to celebrate on its own, but it’s also worth reflecting on the path you took to get there. One way to do this is through journaling.

You might like to reflect on questions like: What did I do well? What lessons did I learn? What obstacles did I overcome along the way? What would I change next time?

Answering these types of questions can provide valuable insights into who you are, where your strengths lie, and how you can plan for future successes.

3. Create an achievement board

You might have heard of a vision board, but perhaps not an achievement board. While vision boards can help us to set goals, achievement boards can be used to celebrate successes.

Achievement boards can be a powerful reminder of who you are and how far you’ve come, and may be particularly effective for staving off imposter syndrome. For inspiration on how to get going, check out this guide to creating an achievement board from Tons of Goodness.

4. Involve others

When we achieve something, it can sometimes be easy to forget those who helped us along the way, whether in big or small ways. So, it can be nice to include others in your celebrations, whether that means going out for dinner or simply telling someone how much you appreciate them.

Involving others in your celebrations can be particularly helpful if you’re someone who struggles with being the centre of attention.

5. Don’t forget to celebrate small wins along the way

It’s just as important to celebrate small wins as it is to celebrate big achievements. Not only can this help to boost motivation, research also suggests that it can be effective for overcoming the natural negativity bias of our brains.

This could mean celebrating anything from cleaning your home to shaving a few seconds off your run time. If faced with a large project, why not break it down into smaller tasks that you can tick off one by one?

Final thoughts...

Celebrating our achievements can sometimes feel difficult or even unnatural – but there are many benefits to doing so. From improved confidence and self-esteem to overcoming imposter syndrome, which of your achievements can you celebrate today?

For further reading, head over to the healthy mind section of our website. Here, you’ll find more personal development articles, including 18 ways to step outside your comfort zone and 10 ways to be more decisive.

How do you like to celebrate your achievements? We’d be interested to hear from you in the comments below.