“As human beings we do not celebrate enough. We think, ‘I cannot celebrate the thing until I’ve reached it.’ And I always use the analogy of a project plan. Because not celebrating is like having a project plan, without milestones along the way, that indicate you’re making progress. It’s like making the steps towards it, and then continuously moving that end goal post. How motivating would it feel if that was a project you were working on? So, celebrating your wins is really taking that pause to recognize, you are taking the steps!” said Amy Yip, Transformation and Mental Fitness Coach
It’s the season of celebration. And many of us are immersed in those traditions with our families. But where do you fit in? We’re not taught to celebrate our selves or accomplishments unless it’s sanctioned. Like for our birthday, a promotion, anniversary or move. But what about bringing the pleasing power of ritual magic into your daily life?
After feeling lost in all of the achievements she worked so hard for, Amy decided to pursue her purpose. In that process, not only did she discover her calling as a coach, she uncovered powerful ways to ground herself. Despite life’s uncertainty. While seeking fulfillment, she uncovered celebration among other habits, to help. Can you bring some of that ceremony into your busy routine? Absolutely. Learn how Amy approaches it.
Including How You Want to Feel
Amy said, “I was in such a deep dark hole all I knew was I needed an answer to get out of it. I didn’t know what I was looking for, I just knew I didn’t want to be where I was.” She began her transformation process, before her son was born, while she was still working for Google.
She explained, “I thought, how to get out? Do I go and travel the world, will that make me happier? Do I need a new career change? Or do I need to just have babies and buy a house with a white picket fence? I honestly just felt like I was flailing and grabbing at things.” Although her path wasn’t clear, she knew what she was doing, wasn’t it.
Change is Hard for Humans
Amy said, “So, the thing for everybody to recognize is that habits are hard to create. That’s why a lot of times we start something, fall off and then give up.” Even when faced with ‘change or die’ studies show, most don’t change. Amy said, “It takes 300 times of intentional practice to build muscle memory! And 3,000 times to turn it into a habit.” It feels so painful, because to our brains, it is. How might you incorporate the habits of change? And care for yourself through the discomfort of it?
So, Embrace the Process
Amy explained, “We are always practicing something. By not doing something, we’re still practicing something. So, keep that in mind.” Why yes. Whether it’s avoidance, rumination, or any behavior we aren’t proud of, it’s still a form of practice.
She added, “Anytime I fall off, I think, that’s okay. Let me get back up and try it again and again and remember 300 and 3,000 times. Those numbers can feel scary, it can also feel encouraging. Like ‘I fell off’ and that’s normal.” Yes! How can that self-acceptance become intentional self-care?
And Celebrate Your Momentum
The good news, once you embrace the habit, you can celebrate anything. We are both from immigrant backgrounds. And discussed how our parents tend to expect high achievement. And excellence through a relentless work ethic.
It’s difficult to unlearn that way of being. Amy said, “Something that I worked on for the longest time is how do I let myself rest and not feel guilty about it. And I struggled with that. It was so hard! Even when I was sick, I was pushing and felt like taking care of everybody else. So, I started celebrating myself when I rested.” Brilliant!
Including Intentional Pauses
“I still remember one time I was sick, and I let myself nap. I didn’t try to force myself to do work, I let myself nap. Normally, I woke up, felt guilty and thought, well crap I slept for XYZ hours and now I have all this stuff to do! So, instead I celebrated,” Amy said.
Although many of us felt, the harm from hustle culture in our bodies, it wasn’t discussed openly. And it’s still steeped into most of what we learn and see. How to push past the point of comfort and wellness. And for Mothers, who are the reigning champions of self-sacrifice in most families, pausing can feel unnatural. And uncomfortable. So, how do we adjust?
Because You Can Even Reward Rest
Amy advocates for celebration as a path to lasting habit change. Like many of us, building a career in corporate, only reinforced the missive to ‘just work harder’ despite exhaustion. Amy said, “I do a physical celebration. Because otherwise it will just be a passing thought. Like, ‘okay I did that, great let me move on.’ And that’s not really a celebration. So, I teach people a physical way of celebrating. Do you want to try?” I laughed and of course, said yes.
Make the Reverence Physical
We proceeded to high five ourselves over Zoom by raising one hand and clapping the opposite one to it. Amy added, “I like to stand and do it. So, I’ll jump and high five myself, like ‘good job Amy, you let yourself rest! You’re awesome!’ There’s another one. Bring your arms up and then just hug yourself.” It felt a little odd on video but also freeing. Why not hug ourselves?
Amy said, “And then there’s my favorite. I want you to envision curtains opening up in front of you and as they do, raise both of your arms, do a pageant wave and go, ‘yes I am here! I’m amazing, thank you, thank you! And take a bow.” She explained that any of these solo celebrations can be elevated with a treat. Like chocolate.
Many thanks to the talented Amy Yip!
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Amy is a Life Transformation and Mental Fitness coach who works with high-achieving, ambitious AAPI women to build their mental fitness, quiet the inner critic, and let go of all the ‘shoulds’ so they can be the author of their own life story. Because if you aren’t authoring your story, someone else is.
In January 2020, after 16+ years of building and leading global teams in organizations like Google, Clorox, and Booz Allen, Amy left the corporate world, sold everything, and took a 1-way flight to Ghana with her husband to volunteer at a breast cancer non-profit and travel the world. COVID shifted their plans; they got stuck in Ghana for 7 months.
One of her greatest learnings: Your mindset, NOT your circumstance, makes all the difference in your happiness and success.
Through this lens, she works with clients to find their voice and the courage to speak up, build self-confidence, navigate change, and discover what they REALLY want next in their life and career.
And now for the boring stuff: Amy is an ICF PCC, Certified Hudson Institute Coach, and a pioneer Mental Fitness Coach certified through Positive Intelligence. She holds a MBA from Anderson UCLA, and a BS in Computer Science, BA in Communications from University of Maryland.