Tag Archive | Celebration

Celebration Optimization 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I’ve been thinking of ways to optimize my celebration practice [<link; medium length].”

“You’re constantly optimizing things.”

“I simply love doing it. For me Optimization is a value in itself, and a form of self-expression.”

“What are your latest optimizations?”

“Firstly, I made it part of my Embodiment practice by making every celebration embodied. I call it Embodied Celebration, or ECelebration [<link; medium] for short. Whenever I celebrate, I also connect with my beautiful BodyMind.

Secondly, I started calling it Loving Celebration [<link; short]. This way, whenever I mentally access it, I access Love as well.

Thirdly, whenever I celebrate I connect with my Future-Self by saying to myself,

I love you Dani-who-I will-be.

“Do you keep it generic, or do you bring to mind a specific time in the future?”

“A specific time: the end of my life. Whenever I celebrate, I think ‘Memento mori’, and bring to mind the image of myself on my deathbed.

“That’s intense.”

“Precisely the point. It’s meant to powerfully emphasize the meaning of my actions.”

On Celebration and Stacking

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“A beautiful idea I got from BJ Fogg’s book Tiny Habits is that the most important factor in habit creation is Celebration. By celebrating immediately after the desired habitual behavior, you make it more likely to engage in it next time.

You may have heard the idea that it takes 40 days to install a new habit. Actually, the more intense the celebration, the less time it takes to install a habit.

“How can you increase the intensity of the celebration?”

“One way to do it is by stacking several practices on top of it, thus amplifying the emotional effect.”

“A kind of emotional flooding [<link; short length]?”

“Yes.

The way I do it is as follows:

That’s like me! (Practice: Celebration)

I love you Dani. (Practice: Self-Love, Connecting with my Inner Child)

I love you Dani-who-I-will-be. (Practice: Self-Love, Connecting with my Future-Self, Recommitment)

I love you [the name of one person whose life touched mine]. (Practice: Active Love)

Thank you [for one thing, or to one person]. (Practice: Gratitude)

I say it like a little mantra.

I’m not only amplifying the celebration, but also practicing several things at once. This is what I call a high-density practice.”

“Do you do this every time you celebrate?”

“No. I say it strategically, when I need it most.”

Habit Optimization 3

Make your best performance your new baseline. (Josh Waitzkin)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize habit-tracking?”

“Marking a habit as done feels good. You can amplify this effect by also celebrating your small win. 

I like to do it by saying to myself ‘That’s like me!‘ I know this little mantra from Brian Johnson. When I say it, I also express Gratitude to Brian, and send him and his family Love. This amplifies the effect even more.

If marking a habit as done feels good, marking ALL of them at the end of day feels even better. I like to call this AD (All Done). You can use this to your advantage.”

“How?”

“The main benefit of tracking a habit is that you can see its continuity. ‘I’ve been doing this for x days in a row.’ The longer the chain, the harder it becomes to break, and the more satisfying it feels. 

What’s even more powerful than seeing the continuity of a habit is seeing the continuity of your AD. 

AD is also a habit – a meta-habit. The habit of completing all your habits every day.”

“So the idea is:

Track your AD, not just your habits.

“Precisely.

I like to do it in writing.

AD tracking

I write the calendar in pencil, and whenever I have an AD day, I write on top with a pen.

Seeing the continuity of your AD feels really good. I’m now working on making it my new baseline.”

“That’s a useful feature for a habit-tracking app. I mean, the AD visible as a separate row, whose continuity you can see at a glance. Once you complete all habits for a day, the AD becomes marked automatically.”

“I guess it is.”

On Habits and Celebration

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

“You may have learned that it takes at least 40 days to form a new habit.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“From the book Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg I learned a very important principle:

Emotions create habits.

Habits can form very quickly, as long as you have a strong positive emotion connected to the behavior. This means celebration is one of the most important aspects of habit creation. 

BJ has a beautiful word for that positive feeling we get from experiencing success: Shine.

There are two key aspects to celebration: 
Immediacy. Celebrating during the habit or immediately after.
Intensity. The more intense the feeling, the more impactful it is.

There are many ways you can celebrate. They can involve 
physical movements (eg deep breathing, smiling, a little dance, raising your fists in victory, etc), 
verbal statements (eg ‘Yes!’, ‘That’s like me!’, etc), 
bringing to mind things real or imagined,
one or more senses (visual, auditory, kinesthetic), 
or any combination of these. 

He stresses the importance of experimenting and finding/creating celebrations that feel natural to you, and suggests cultivating a bunch of them, for various contexts (private and public).

For instance, one of my go-to celebrations involves Brian Johnson, one of the people I look up to most. Every day he posts a little video in which he shares reflections and ideas with the world on how to optimize your life and live at your highest potential. He calls these little videos ‘+1s’ (plus ones).

He often ends these videos by saying ‘plus one’ and making a specific gesture with the fingers from one hand. Picturing him doing this always makes me smile. So I recently thought to myself: what if I used this as a celebration? I imagine him saying it, I say it along with him, and sometimes make the same gesture with the fingers. It works.”

“What are you experimenting with at the moment?”

“Humor.

I started studying humor because I think it’s a beautiful life skill. At one point I thought: what if I used humor for celebration?

For instance, sometimes when I get a very small win I imagine a huge amphitheater of people cheering for my accomplishment. The contrast between the smallness of the accomplishment and the bigness of the imagined celebration has a humorous effect.”

Values as Practice

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

Values are a practice.

“I’d add one important detail:

Values are a mindful practice – which is to say, a deliberate practice.

One aspect of it is recognizing (and celebrating) opportunities to practice. Whenever you have the opportunity to embody a value, say, Humility, you can actually say to yourself ‘I’m practicing Humility‘, or simply ‘Humility‘. You’re thus actively using your values as guides.

Another aspect of it is creating opportunities to practice. This means asking yourself:

What’s the practice?
What specific things can you do to practice value x?

Let’s take Gratitude for instance. The practice might be saying to yourself ‘Take NOTHING for granted‘, saying ‘Thank you‘, and thinking of something or finding something around you that you’re grateful for. Or picking anything around you and finding something about it that you’re grateful for.

Or let’s take Love. The practice might be saying to yourself ‘I am Love‘, expressing love to the present, past and future versions of yourself [<link; medium length], and then sending love to the people you care for most. You might then even use Big Thinking [link; medium] to send love to all humanity.”

Celebration Optimization

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

“BJ Fogg’s book Tiny Habits is excellent.”

“Is it better than James Clear’s Atomic Habits?”

“It complements it beautifully. Tiny Habits approaches habit creation from the perspective of behavior-design. I hadn’t heard of behavior-design before. Now it’s something I want to master.

Let’s go back to James Clear’s four rules of habit-making:

Make it obvious. (Cue)
Make it attractive. (Craving)
Make it easy. (Response)
Make it satisfying. (Reward)

From Atomic Habits, I’d understood how important rewards are for habit creation. From Tiny Habits I got another piece of the puzzle:

When it comes to rewards, timing matters. 

In behavior-science, reward has a very specific meaning. Something counts as a reward only if it affects behavior, and it affects behavior only if it occurs either during the activity, or immediately after. That’s when dopamine is released and associated with the behavior. If the reward occurs outside this time-frame, it does not affect behavior, because the association with the behavior is lost.

One of the most powerful rewards is celebration. These ‘micro-moments of positivity’ – beautiful concept which I know from Brian Johnson – are essential for habit creation. In the words of BJ Fogg:

Emotions create habits.

“How can I optimize celebration?”

“What’s the main obstacle?”

“Remembering to celebrate.”

Celebrate remembering to celebrate.

Also, you can stack it with your Gratitude practice. I call this practice-stacking.

Every time you celebrate, say ‘Thank you‘ and, in the moment, improv-style, find one thing around you that you’re grateful for.

On Tracking and Celebration

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

Track only what’s worth tracking.

“What is worth tracking?”

“It’s more important to track what didn’t go well than what did. That’s where the gems (principles) are found.”

“Tracking what went well allows you to celebrate it at the end of the day. (retrospective celebration)”

It’s better practice to celebrate what went well immediately after. 

Better to spend the day in celebration by filling it with little celebrations throughout than having just one at the end of the day. Their effect compounds.

To make the initial principle more specific:

Track what doesn’t go well.
Imediately celebrate every little thing that does.

On Celebration and Beauty

Fragment from an older imaginary dialogue

“How did you celebrate new year’s?”

“I didn’t. I no longer celebrate the year. I celebrate the day every day.”


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Celebration is commonly seen as something done on certain occasions, with a certain frequency.

What does celebration mean for you?”

“As you know, Beauty is one of my central values. It’s a profound filter through which I look at life – a ‘reality-filter‘.

I view celebration through the filter of Beauty.

I view celebration as Beautiful.

I view the act of celebration as Beautifying.

Moment to moment to moment I celebrate Beauty.

The Beauty of Life, 
the Beauty of my many Gifts, 
the Beauty of my BodyMind, 
the Beauty of Moving,
the Beauty of Growing,
the Beauty of Obstacles,
the Beauty of Playing,
the Beauty of Creating,
and, many many more.

And, above all, 
the Beauty of Awareness.”