A sense of accomplishment is important for helping us maintain a healthy sense of purpose as we work toward attaining success. It benefits every area of our lives, from mental to physical well-being.
Conversely, feeling unaccomplished usually results in an overall unhappy life. You may indeed feel disappointed in yourself on some days because you didn’t do as much as you knew you could. Yet, even on the days when you did plenty of things, you may end the feeling unfulfilled and unsatisfied.
If you’re working your socks off but still don’t feel a deep sense of satisfaction for all your efforts, this article is for you.
Here are some practical tips to help you feel more accomplished in life.
1. Define What Accomplishment Means to You
The very first step in your quest for personal satisfaction with your efforts is defining exactly what the term “accomplishment” means to you.
Imagine taking a trip halfway across the globe to a place you don’t know. How would you tell whether you’ve arrived at your destination? How would you even begin the journey in the first place?
First, you need to identify your destination, even if you’ve never been there before. By identifying where you want to go, you will be able to measure your progress.
That principle also applies when trying to create a sense of accomplishment.
What does accomplishment mean to you?
For someone, accomplishment could be completing an academic pursuit like graduating from college with honors. For you, it could mean dragging yourself out of bed as early as 5 am on a chilly morning to go for a run.
Everyone has their definition of success – at least, anyone who’s not in competition with others should have their own meaning of personal success. See accomplishments as the steps on the ladder to whatever success means to you.
Climbing one rung on the ladder may not mean you’re at the top of the ladder. But you can look down and see that you’re no longer on the ground. This will make you feel that you’ve accomplished something, and you are well on your way to accomplishing lots more!
2. Do Not Compare Your Life to Others
I’ve briefly hinted about this in the first tip above. You’re not in competition with anyone – you never have and never will.
Unfortunately, many people beat themselves up for coming short of certain goals because they use other people’s standards or yardsticks to measure themselves. This usually leads to chronic self-blame and thinking that others are better than them.
Comparing yourself to others will only make you feel like a victim in your own story. Nothing you do will feel satisfying because it won’t measure up to others’ progress.
Why is that?
You can only see their achievements, accomplishments, and successes, but you don’t know their true motivations and the circumstances that help them define their own success.
Here’s the deal.
Everyone has a different path; our pace and progress are not the same. It is nearly impossible to feel satisfied with your journey if you focus on someone else’s path while ignoring your progress.
Someone once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Whether that “someone” was Albert Einstein or not is debatable.
However, the truth is that you are unique. There is practically no one else like you in the entire universe!
When you recognize your uniqueness, it becomes easier to understand that there is truly no basis for comparing yourself with others.
With this understanding, you will go to bed each night satisfied that you’ve made some progress, no matter how little it may be.
And even if you determine that you didn’t accomplish anything meaningful throughout the day, you can truly reflect on your mistakes and decide to try again tomorrow.
3. Create Sub-Goals
No doubt, establishing goals can help you clarify what you want to achieve in different areas of your life.
Still, you can shoot yourself in the foot if you create goals too big to complete in one day or a relatively short time.
If you can’t cross items off your to-do list as quickly as possible, you’ll feel unaccomplished, and your brain will start to discourage you from even trying to accomplish your daily tasks or major life goals.
How does our brain discourage us from attempting far-fetched goals?
Our body makes a chemical messenger known as dopamine. It is essentially a neuromodulatory molecule or a type of neurotransmitter that sends messages to and from different nerve cells in your brain and nervous system.
I’m not going to bore you with all the sciencey jargon. The bottom line is that dopamine makes you feel motivation, satisfaction, and pleasure.
In other words, when you do something that increases your sense of accomplishment, a higher level of dopamine is released in your brain, and you’ll want to repeat the activity.
On the other hand, you’re less likely to repeat an activity if it produces little to no dopamine in your brain.
Okay, Jon, what’s the point of all this?
Here’s my point.
Break your goals into smaller, easily-doable tasks or sub-goals. It could be your major long-term life goals or short-term daily goals like a to-do list.
Breaking down your big goals into sub-goals allows you to quickly check them off your list and increase your sense of accomplishment. And the more you feel accomplished, the more your brain will motivate you to accomplish more.
4. Start the Day With an Easy-to-Complete Task
“One down, two to go!”
If you’re anything like most people, the above phrase can fire you up to accomplish more tasks. Now, imagine starting your day – every day – with “one down, two, three, etc., to go.” You’ll be almost unstoppable every day!
One good way to do this is to start your day with a task that’s easy to cross off your to-do list.
Here’s something I practice, and I believe it can be beneficial to you.
Most evenings, when I review my day and spend time on self-reflection, I go through my to-do list to identify tasks that I haven’t completed (trust me; it is simply not possible to check off all the items on your to-do list every day).
I pick one task and move it to the next day’s to-do list. But I don’t just choose any random task. Instead, I pick a task that won’t take more than 15 minutes to complete.
Why do I pick a simple task?
I can focus on it and complete it early on in the day. This allows me to start the day with a sense of accomplishment!
Once I complete the task, it is one down, and 4 or 5 more to go! This sets a positive momentum for my day, motivating me to smash the rest of my goals.
Besides, this practice helps you to start your day intentionally. You won’t waste your morning wondering what task you will take on first because you already picked something to do from the night before.
5. Note Your Daily Accomplishments
It’s easy to feel unaccomplished if you can’t remember the big and little things you’ve done throughout the day.
Keeping a journal is one practical way to help you note down the tasks you’ve completed during the day.
But don’t make a list of tasks or goals you’ve accomplished during the day. Write down tasks you’ve made progress on, too.
Here’s one trap you must avoid when writing down your daily accomplishments. Don’t focus only on performance goals.
Performance goals are specific short-term measurable goals or tasks, and you can check them off your list.
But here’s the thing. You may go an entire day without checking any performance goal off your do-to list, yet that doesn’t mean you didn’t accomplish a great deal during the day.
For example, completing a 15 minutes workout in the morning is a performance goal that you can easily check off your list and write down in your journal.
However, feeling generally more energized during the day isn’t a performance goal, yet it is vital for increased productivity. Noting down your feelings and experiences can increase your feeling of accomplishment.
Remember this also; if you are learning something new, fill your journal with the things you know at the end of the day which was alien to you at the start of the day.
6. Avoid Overworking
In a world where multitasking is hailed as a virtue, many people tend to wear busyness as a badge. But being busy doesn’t necessarily mean accomplishing things or being successful at anything.
If anything, it only leads to overworking yourself.
Many people make the mistake of overworking themselves in a bid to feel accomplished. But overworking yourself can easily lead to burnout and mental fatigue.
That’s because you can’t constantly feel swamped by work and other responsibilities and feel genuinely accomplished at the same time.
A better approach to work and life is to strike a healthy balance in all the aspects of your life. You don’t want to focus too much on your career while ignoring your significant relationships, personal growth, and other areas of your life.
When you live a balanced life, you bring harmony into your life and feel more accomplished.
That brings me to the next point, which is not making the mistake of defining accomplishments from just one aspect of your life.
7. Avoid Defining Yourself by One Aspect of Your Life
You may have worked tirelessly to get a promotion at work, but things didn’t work out as you’d hoped. It is normal to feel disappointed, but don’t let that setback define your entire life.
Your life is made up of different aspects, including:
- Physical health
- Spiritual wellness
- Mental strength
- Love and romance
- Work and career
- Finances and wealth
- Creative expression
Your career, marriage, or finance is just one aspect of your life. Focusing on only one aspect of your life with poor results and using it to define your entire existence isn’t very objective, don’t you agree?
Unfortunately, many people ignore all the good things in their lives and rather focus on that one aspect that is not working out well. To make things worse, they project the failure in that aspect to their future.
A more productive approach would be to focus on the good in every aspect of your life. Understandably, doing this may be difficult for some people.
If that’s you, consider giving your undivided attention to just one aspect of your life with the results you want. Do this every night before you sleep, and you’ll notice a shift in your feeling of accomplishment.
8. Celebrate Milestones
Humility is a great virtue and has plenty of benefits. However, celebrating when you hit a major milestone is hardly considered haughty.
In fact, you should be proud of yourself and your accomplishment. Throw a party if you can. Celebrate with friends and family if necessary.
Here’s the point. Don’t only remember to be hard on yourself when you fail. Make it a point to celebrate yourself and your accomplishments when you hit a major milestone!
Don’t just let major achievements slide without notice. Share your progress with trusted friends and family members. Sharing your accomplishments with others greatly impacts your self-confidence, dignity, and faith in your abilities.
So, go ahead and take a day (or more) out of the entire month and just let it be about you. Don’t be afraid to praise yourself – you deserve it!
There you have it – eight practical ways to create a sense of accomplishment for yourself. Following these tips will help you feel generally better about yourself and appreciate even your smallest efforts.
Ending your day with a feeling of accomplishment puts you in the right frame of mind to start the next day on the right footing. Also, you’ll mostly have productive days, regardless of mistakes and shortcomings.