A couple on top of a peak watching the sunset

A is for Accomplishment

Happiness in Achievement

Have you noticed that some people just radiate happiness and health? Even if they’re stuck in quarantine? This could be due to many reasons, among them the “quarantine challenges” that have been popping up recently. I’ve come across an amazing variety of them, such as: 

  • 50 push ups a day
  • growing a massive beard
  • learning a new language
  • keeping indoor plants alive
  • handstand challenges

there seems to be something out there for everyone.

Research has shown that achieving goals has been found to enhance wellbeing over time (Brunstein, 1993). We get a sense of accomplishment after we worked towards a goal and reached it, achieved mastery over an endeavour, and had the self-motivation to complete it. When we reflect on the attempts of doing something that we eventually mastered, we get a positive sense of accomplishment or achievement, which contributes to our wellbeing.  (Seligman, 2012).

Accomplishment and achievement are commonly used as synonyms and often in retrospective. If you accomplish something, it makes you feel good – not just in the present moment, but also when you look upon past achievements, which frequently turn into happy and proud memories. You may also learn about the strengths you possess by looking back, e.g. you may be very patient, courageous, have a great memory for dad jokes, or are a great motivator for those around you… the possibilities are endless. If you look back on past successes you may likely see a pattern of strengths – maybe have a think about how you can use those for any challenges you currently face or are planning to tackle.

One important thing to remember though is that the feeling of accomplishment is highly subjective. Strive after your own goals that mean something to you and align with your values, and try not to compare yourself to everyone else out there. What may mean success to others, may be trivial to you, or vice versa. I recently watched some of the best mountainbikers test a new mountainbike park. Their front flips, backflips, and no-handed jumps were great to watch and I can only guess the sense of achievement they must have felt after riding this park for the first time and showing off their stunts. Watching them gave me a sense of longing… before I went back to the beginner line. However, instead of being disappointed in my lack of skill, I am sure the sense of achievement I got from clearing most of the jumps on the easiest line with questionable technique was no less than that of the pro riders showing off their skills. I felt elevated, happy, and totally accomplished – and my new goal is to clear all the jumps in the beginner line. While that may not be anytime soon, I sure have an awful lot of fun trying.

I do have a little challenge for all of you today:

Every time you say “I can’t” – add “yet” to the end of your sentence. Give it a try!

On that note, I’ll leave you to think about something you may want to achieve over the next few days. Whatever this may be, have fun setting your own goals, enjoy the ride experience, and get creative!

Don’t forget to celebrate once you achieve what you set out to do!


Brunstein, J. C. (1993). Personal goals and subjective well-being: A longitudinal study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(5), 1061–1070

Seligman, M. E. P. (2013). Flourish: a visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. First Atria Paperback edition March 2013. New York: Atria Paperback

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