Finding Success Where You Are Now

At first I thought today was going to be a cereal for lunch kind of day.

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I began my midday meal with a bowl of Honey Nut Chex but 20 minutes later when I wised up and realized cereal keeps me full for 2.3 seconds, I made myself a satiating protein smoothie.

protein smoothie

In the blender:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 handful frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop fitmixer chocolate milkshake protein powder
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 large handfuls fresh spinach
  • Enough almond milk to get everything moving

smoothie chocolate spinach

Much better.

Now it’s time to move on to something I’ve been thinking about a lot this week: Success and feeling grateful for our achievements and the blessings we have in our lives right now.

Finding Success Where You Are Now

Last summer I attended a church service where the pastor addressed success. He said that so often we are reaching for the next thing and the next milestone in our lives that we forget to enjoy our current successes.

I stumbled upon my notes from this service last weekend and it really got me thinking.

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We achieve so many of the goals we set for ourselves in life, but rather than enjoy the process and the end result, we immediately reach for the next thing.

I bet a famous actor at one time just wanted a part in their high school play. Then they wanted to be cast as an extra in a movie or star in a commercial. Then they wanted to move to Los Angeles and get a supporting role in a movie. Then they wanted to get a staring role. Then they wanted to win an Oscar. I bet if you would’ve told that high school student that they would simply have a role in a movie at all that they would be so excited!

It was a very eye-opening service for me, because I often set goals for myself and once I reach a goal, I rarely take time to acknowledge or even enjoy the achievement, and simply make another goal and begin again.

We often focus on what we want and what we don’t have rather than what we do have and what we already achieved.

You’ve likely achieved some kind of a goal you had in your mind for yourself to get you to the point where you are in your life right now.

Maybe you can’t find a job right now… or maybe your job totally sucks. Well, you did graduate from college and that’s a pretty awesome achievement. I bet there was a point you were just hoping to get into a certain college. And that sucky job? It will help you gain experience to apply to your next job.

The example my pastor gave related to salaries. Once you get that raise you’ve been coveting, you’re happy, but it doesn’t take too long before you want more… and more… and more.

That’s great… on some levels. Being ambitious and setting goals is incredibly important. Working hard is important.

But so is recognizing your success and enjoying the little everyday successes. Take time to recognize the amazing relationships you have with your sister, husband, children or friends that you work hard to make a priority in your life. Feel proud of the degree you busted your butt to obtain a few years ago. Pat yourself on the back for making it to the gym four times last week. Acknowledge the positive feedback you got from your boss on Monday.

Celebrating the success and achievements we have in our lives is so important. Making goals is important. But being blinded by these goals can be destructive and cause us to miss out on enjoying the rewards of our hard work and the success that comes our way because of our efforts.

There’s always a better job, more money or someone achieving something amazing that you only dream of achieving, but if we only focus on what we don’t have, we’ll miss out on all of the blessings and successes that are right in front of us every single day.

(And just so you don’t think I’m telling you to chill out and be complacent and never try to achieve anything in life, if you have a BIG goal in your mind that you want to go for, GO FOR IT, just remember to celebrate the little milestones along the way. If you’re struggling with self doubt about whether or not you can achieve that goal, you might be interested in this past post: Changing “Yes But” to “Yes And.”)

Questions of the Afternoon

  • What was the last major goal you set out to accomplish that you achieved? Did you take time to celebrate your success?

Comments

  1. Kaelin says

    This is a great post! Jillian Michaels shared similar thoughts on a recent podcast about acknowledging our current successes before moving forward for the next success. She said she was always moving onward and upwarding and never living in sunshine of her accomplishments. It’s a great message for all of us Type A people, we want to keep going, keep reaching, never satisfied.

    I just had a giant bowl of cereal for a snack, so I know it wouldn’t hold me over for lunch!

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  2. says

    What an amazing post! This is such a great reminder, and I think many of us do overlook how much we have accomplished in our lives. My last major goal was to get into a post-bac pre-med program, so I could begin my journey to become a physician. This was almost a year ago, and now that I look back, I can’t believe how much I have accomplished since then (and how much time flies!!).

    Another major goal I’ve been working towards is starting my own healthy living blog..which just happened a few days ago. I’ve been thinking about it for years and finally gathered the courage to do it. I didn’t actually do anything to celebrate, but I’m extremely happy and proud of myself for taking the first step. Thanks for sharing this post..I love it! Sorry for writing you a book:)

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  3. Kyra says

    I promised myself even before I entered college that I was going to study abroad. My junior year is about to start and I’m headed to Japan for ten months! I’m super excited about it, but I also notice myself thinking about what comes next. Like which classes I’ll take when I get back from Japan, and which Universities to apply for my masters at. Thanks for the reminder to appreciate what we already have!

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  4. says

    Last major goal was weight loss last year for my wedding dress and yes I made it. Currently I have 2 major goals now, one being getting fit for my first trip out of the country in June and getting a job. We’ll see how it goes!

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  5. says

    You posted this at the PERFECT time!! Yesterday, I found out that I didn’t get a job that I really wanted. I was, admittedly, a little upset. But I reminded myself that there are always other jobs. Then I got to thinking about it and remembered (duh!) the fact that I have a really great job that I love right now. Sure, the other one would have been a nice promotion, but if I have to stay in my job, I’m not going to be unhappy about it.

    It’s all about perspective. Thank you for speaking about this and justifying my thoughts from yesterday!! :)

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  6. Debbie says

    Buddha Julie. Sincere thanks and gratitude for your words today. I am so appreciative that I can read your blog everyday, and am constantly amused, inspired and entertained. :)

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  7. says

    Julie,

    I just want to thank you so much for turning me on to protein smoothies. They are a dream come true! Especially adding spinach and cocoa powder – so many health benefits and so much flavor! Thank you for your inspiring words and positive attitude you share through your blog. I truly enjoy reading it every day! :)

    Ashley

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  8. says

    So in love with this post, Julie. I agree with so much of what you said. This is something that I too have been struggling with lately. When am I ever just satisfied? Life isn’t a dress rehearsal – this is it! So I better start enjoying it now. It’s so easy to think we have to keep going, and society and media pushes that ideal so hard. But when you take time to actually look back on what you DID do, it’s awesome! Thanks for a great post!

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  9. says

    A major goal I set out to accomplish was deciding that corporate America was not for me. Instead of using my Business Management degree that I worked so incredibly hard for, I decided to go back to school to become a registered dietitian.

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  10. Danielle says

    Thank you so much for this post! It’s pretty crazy that you posted this because all of this week I have been down in the dumps about my weight and how I look. Thanks for reminding me that in June I reached my goal of losing 16 pounds. I just want more for myself and want to look even better, but I have come a long way! And that 16 pounds only took me three months to lose!

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  11. says

    Thank you so much for posting this. When I won an award at work last Friday (a) I was shocked, but proud, but (b) I kept focusing on how “I didn’t have anyone to share it with.” I had just ended a 6 month relationship, and while that doesn’t feel like a long time, he had quickly become my best friend. Not only did I to snap myself out of it and begin to tell myself “look what I acheived,” but I had to look over the failed relationship and see the strong, smart person I am. Not only should we appreciate our achievements, but we should also believe we deserve them, gain self-confidence of the person we are, and discard any negative talk.

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  12. Katie says

    This is the post I needed after this week! I got a little talking to at work for something I did wrong in a HUGE crisis situation, a person was having a psychiatric breakdown, and after reading this it made me realize more to be proud of myself for all the correct things I did in the situation.

    My biggest accomplishments lately have been finishing my Master’s degree in Psychology and getting a full time position with the city! I constantly think about how to move up and do better…though you are right, I need to be proud of where I am now!

    Thanks!!

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  13. Naomi says

    This is exactly what I needed today! I start my senior year of college next week, and I have really been struggling with deciding what to do and where to go after graduation. I find that I am too focused on the future and what is coming next that I forget to enjoy the present. Thanks for the reminder to live in the present and appreciate what I have right now. As always, I love reading your blog! :)

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  14. Anonymous says

    Thanks for this post. I was struggling with something really dumb and vain the last few days–my wedding dress (which was previously too big now fits perfectly despite my constant working out). Those few extra pounds were really gnawing on me, but after reading this post I realized that I need to enjoy my upcoming wedding and treasure the relationships I have, such as that with my soon to be husband. That is much more important than not losing 5lbs. Life is so much more than one day and one dress. Thanks so much!

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  15. says

    This is BY FAR one of my favorite posts! These are things that we often forget to tell ourselves to do, and it’s been great to have a reminder!

    The last goal I accomplished was at the top of my leap list, Climbing the Grand Teton ourside Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I was pumped, but some of my friends were happier for me than I was as I began to tell them the next climbs, hikes and adventures I wanted to attempt. Thank you for helping me realize that I should relish this achievment!

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  16. Brianna says

    Great post Julie, too often we forget to enjoy successes.

    I had a bowl of cereal for dinner, running late and wanted to get to body pump at the gym!

    I have a question for you, do you ever use frozen brussel sprouts? I am not sure if they get really mushy when you cook them?

    Thanks!

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  17. says

    This is such a great post. I think it’s the perfect time of the year as we head back into fall, where we can all re-evalutate our goals, if we have accomplished them and where are we in this point of our lives.

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  18. Emily says

    I love this post. I can never be reminded enough that I need to live in the moment and enjoy it, not always reaching for future goals. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that wall we have is right now, not tomorrow or next year. Thanks so much for this!

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  19. Margaret says

    This was exactly what I needed. I’m in school to become a Marriage and Family Therapist and constantly tell my clients to keep a “Victory Journal”. I ask them to write in a journal at least one good thing that happened that day. This post pushed me to follow my own advice and start keeping one of my own.

    Also, I did the 5X50 circuit workout tonight and am feeling like jello. Thanks for posting such awesome circuit workouts!

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  20. says

    Love this post! As important as setting a long-term goal is, I think it’s equally crucial to set mini goals along the way…if anything it makes the feat less daunting and more realistic!

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  21. says

    Inspirational post! As someone who deals with anxiety I am very rarely living in the now- nonetheless enjoying the now! I think it is really important to aspire to things but to also celebrate and enjoy it when you do- before moving onto the next biggest and better thing. I definitely will keep this in mind. I guess my current goals is to do more in the fitness industry and I’ve just been offered another permanent class as well as offered paid-for training in another program. Before I think about more classes and more programs I think I’ll just enjoy what I have achieved so far :) Ps. Sorry for the novel Julie!

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  22. says

    I love this post and you are exactly right, find the success in where you are now! We just happened to stumble across a stray pit bull this past week and we are fostering her right now. She is the most happy little bundle of joy anyone could ever ask for. She has made me realize to just step back and enjoy the here and now. Amazing what a little pup could do for our well-being!

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  23. says

    Such a great post and so true! I am always struggling with anticipating and planning for the future andlately have been really trying to just live in the present and enjoy where my life is NOW. Thanks for your encouragement!

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  24. Shalini says

    Loved this post!! So relate-able, I think it’s hard though when everyone around is accomplishing things and you’re just sitting back and “watching”. Not that you’re not doing anything but maybe not having the same success as a friend. It goes back to the comparison trap and sometimes I think we’re trying to do the next big thing for someone else but not ourselves, but only sometimes! great post!

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  25. says

    LOVE this post.. it’s so true. I’m the same exact way – always reaching for more or thinking about the “next step.” Thanks for writing this – I needed to hear this today! And ps. Love your “changing yes but” post too!

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  26. says

    This post is so very true. I always worry about not doing enough and not accomplishing enough when I also need to be aware of what I have done. I worry so much that if I stop and give myself credit, I may not push myself as hard as I need to. On my weight loss journey, I feel like I have tried to find a balance between being proud of myself for what I have done and also being honest with myself about where I am presently. Thanks for this food for thought!

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  27. Morgan05 says

    This was a wonderful post Julie. I too fall into the habit of setting goals and not celebrating my achievements. Thank you for the reminder :)

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  28. Kristen says

    Great post! I left my job in finance a few years ago to go back to school for elementary education – super scary. One of the best things I learned getting my license was just how powerful spending time reflecting is in the growing process. I think too often I rush from one thing to the next without processing not just what I could do better next time, but what went right the first go ’round. I ended up not using my elementary license at this point, but I feel I have so much more peace with my daily life from what I picked up along the journey of changing paths for a short time.

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  29. says

    I made it my goal to get to grad school for Criminology – and low and behold, I start in a week and a half. If you told my 12 year old self that not only would I be going to university but I’d be going back for a Masters Degree I probably wouldn’t have believed you. :-)

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  30. Megan says

    I just want to say that Honey Nut Chex is like crack cereal. I can’t keep it in the house.

    Not only do you need to celebrate small milestones on the way to a larger goal, I’ve found that you have to be flexible on the path to a goal. If you have a particular goal, don’t be surprised by bumps in the road. Just change your path a little, slow down/speed up, or take a break if you need to. It doesn’t have to mean giving up on your goal to do that. The path to achieving your goal might just be a bit different than you imagined, but that’s OK! :)

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  31. says

    I love this post, Julie! I too, constantly feel like I’m always moving from one goal to the next and never taking any time to savor the moment. For example, we just recently moved into a our first home (of our own) in a new town and I am forever bending over backwards to do more, instead of savoring how much we have done so far. Sometimes I have to force myself to slow down and take a breath and realize how much it took to just get here.

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  32. Jessie says

    Just stumbled upon your blog and this post. This is exactly what I needed. I have graduated from university with my dream job, but have not been celebrating this achievement this past year, but rather thinking about things that are still missing from my life. This post made me realize that I need to step back and enjoy this time that I worked so hard for.

    Thanks again!!

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  33. says

    This is such a fabulous post! It can be so easy to wish the days away while we wait for our big dreams to come try while we drudge away with the steps we have to take to get there. I’m really trying to make the most of each day, because God has adventures and blessings for us everyday!

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  34. says

    I love this post and am really glad that I stumbled across it today! Not really enjoying my current job, but I did work really hard to get it and need to remember that if I just try to enjoy my time here, then I can move on to the next big thing. All about perspective. Thanks for sharing, sounds like you found a good church!

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  35. says

    This post was incredibly timely. I am in a job that I’m not particularly fond of and I had such high hopes for it. This post made me realize how the experience I’m getting right now is invaluable and will prepare me for a better one in the future. Thank you so much for posting this, Julie. It definitely made me sit back and realize a lot that I was missing!

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  36. Meg says

    Thanks for writing this. Recently I graduated from uni and accomplished my goal to run a 14k race. It’s been a busy three months achieving personal goals. Now I feel like I am in a lull, but I am not ready to make new goals just yet. I know I need to appreciate the successes that I have had and live in the moment. So thank you for this article- I feel like I am not alone in this feeling.

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  37. says

    My last goal was getting on the vice principal’s list… I think that I enjoyed that success about as long as your cereal keeps you satisfied before I registered for my next goal which was getting a masters degree.

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