Dealing With The Anti-Climax Of Reaching A Milestone (or How To Manage Your Blues)!

Have you ever experienced this before, or you might even be experiencing this right now? You work hard towards something, and when you finally reach it, it is not at all what you thought… You’ve reached your milestone: you did it, it is over, and yet, you wonder: so what, what was all that hard work and excitement about…? Not at all how you thought you’d be feeling: no joy, no happiness. No, instead you are tired, exhausted, numbed, lost, sad, depressed, overwhelmed, moody, empty…

Dealing With The Anti-Climax Of Reaching A Milestone (or How To Manage Your Blues)!

This happens with any milestones and applies to both your personal life – from passing an exam, to graduating, to getting married, to finding out you’re expecting, to having a baby, to celebrating a special occasion, such as a birthday or Christmas, to training and participating in a marathon, as well as your professional life – from launching a new product or service, to being promoted, to leading an event, to speaking at a conference, to writing and publishing a book, etc.

This is called an anti-climax, or the blues; it is a phase experienced after reaching a milestone. And, you know me, I’d never write about anything that I have not experienced myself. I have had LOTS of anti-climax phases and before I knew what it was, I stayed in those phases for weeks, months even, at a time, until I found out ways to deal with these.

As long as you do not deal with your anti-climax phases, you will hinder your success. You see, when you do not know how to deal with your anti-climax phases, the risk is that your last one impacts you so much that you just decide that it is not worthwhile to go through this again, and it makes you rethink your next milestone, and you decide that there is no need to accomplish it.

The main key is not in avoiding anti-climax – because actually you want to experience one as this is a sign that there was a climax in your life, there was a culmination you had proudly reached; so, in fact, the key is in learning how to deal with your anti-climax phase, so that you reduce its impact on you and your life, and you continue to move ahead.

Do not fear your anti-climax phases either; remember, we’ve talked about that before: Fear is only your enemy as long as you dread it; befriend it today to support you on your success. By not allowing yourself to experience it, it might come back months down the road and it’d usually hit you harder. Accept it, as being part of your journey; this is a phase and it can be reduced.

Here are my ways to help you deal with your anti-climax phases:

NORMALISE – this is very common, and it is normal. It actually happens to all of us, and we tend to notice it more when it is something BIG. I have found, both personally and with clients, that the bigger the milestone is, the bigger anti-climax you’ll experience. What’s however exciting is that the ways I am sharing here with you today work for all of these: the same principles will apply and work as you long as you follow and implement them. The best way to deal with it, is to normalise it by consciously acknowledging that this is happening, and in no circumstances, label this anti-climax phase as something negative. When people do that, and for instance, let’s use the word “depressed”, you label yourself with something that is seen and known as so negative that it actually has a very destructive effect, and it prevents you from dealing with it by boxing you in.

ANTICIPATE – you have control as you actually can forecast your anti-climax phases, since you know they’ll follow you having reached your milestones. The best way to deal with it, is to anticipate these phases by planning them in advance in your diary. Review your next 12 months, identify your milestones, and ensure you allow yourself for your anti-climax phase, as in, allowing yourself to accept it comes, and by doing so, ensuring you also let it go too.

RELATIVISE – you did it, you have achieved your milestone, and you have indeed added an additional piece of jigsaw to your ever-growing jigsaw puzzle, that represents your whole life, career, and business, but this is only the beginning. The best way to deal with it, is to relativise by taking a moment to place this milestone into your BIG picture. This will help you see it as a single milestone along your journey, and not as an end (think of you putting YOUR jigsaw puzzle together, piece after piece); there is a lot more excitement to come.

PLAN – before even reaching one of your milestones, now that you know that it is one milestone on your success journey, ask yourself what will come next. The best way to deal with it, is to plan in advance by deciding and committing on what your next milestone will be. This will ensure that you have something exciting to look forward to, once this particular one has been accomplished and, it will fill the void, so that you are not left wondering what to do, and you’ll make the most of it.

CELEBRATE – one of the first things you want to do once you’ve accomplished your milestone is to celebrate. Do not avoid this, thinking that the faster you go from one milestone to another, the better it will be, as you will burn out. The best way to deal with it, is to celebrate by booking something or at the very least having decided what your celebration will be. That way, as soon as you reach it (YEAH, you!), you know already how you are going to celebrate it: be proud, you did it.

REFLECT – as soon as you’ve celebrated, take the time to reflect. Again, here, do not avoid this, thinking that the faster you go from one milestone to another, the better it will be, as you will miss out on an important lessons learned process. The best way to deal with it, is to reflect by letting yourself be in the celebratory moment. And, you need to time your reflection time, so depending on you and your milestone, decide what the length of this time-out will be: 1h, 1 day, 1 week…? This will not only allow you to process and learn, but also to be in the present.

DETOX – you’ve accomplished something big, and it is time to detox. Whatever your milestone was, often, from experience (personal and with clients!) our health falls into second place. The best way to deal with it, is to detox. Your anti-climax phase is an ideal time to hit the reset button and detox; you can detox your office, by decluttering it, your body by following a juicing programme, or your mind by relaxing and meditating (my Reach New Heights audio track helps you do that!), or all 3.

So, to recap: this is normal; I am normal; everything is fine with me: I have reached this milestone, and I am now in an anti-climax phase, which is normal. Then, you move onto the next ways by applying them straight away. All of these ways will help you deal with your anti-climax phases, thus boosting your performance as these allow you to go from one milestone to the next, and move forward.

Your success is a journey, where you achieve milestone after milestone along the way. Click to tweet! 

See these ways as a series of activities to help you transition easily during, what I refer to as, your “M3 Triple A Success Journey”: anticipation => achievement => anti-climax, followed by anticipation => achievement => anti-climax, and anticipation => achievement => anti-climax, see where I am going, right? 

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever experienced any blues? What are your tips for managing it? Are you experiencing one right now? How are these shifts going to help transition out? 

Please leave a comment and join the below conversation!

Until next time ;-)

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Some of the comments received via Twitter:




  • ntathu

    Frederique, this was an interesting article as its something I’ve become aware of over last year or so. I never used to celebrate achievements/milestones, but now nowadays I recognise the importance of doing so, and yes, now that you’ve mentioned it, I do sense a feeling of “down/being deflated” after achieving something. When I’m working on something I put so much energy and effort into it, that other things (self-care, other day-to-day taks) suffer and its only when I’ve finished xyz I realise how tired I am or notice just how much clutter/paperwork has accumulated, so detox-ing, putting sleep back on the agenda and clearing away stuff makes perfect sense. Also, in the past (and to some extent this habit is still there, but less when I take the time to celebrate) I used to rush into the next project, without taking time to reflect and review, Nowadays, I realise how important that breathing space is, to regroup, refocus and then march on to the next project. Thanks, I like how you’ve broken this process down and make it feel normal and part of the journey.

    • Frederique Murphy

      Hi Ntathu,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I’m glad you found it interesting and that it got you to identify/recognise some of your patterns.

      As I mentioned, the key is not in avoiding these phases, but in embracing them to powerfully jump forward! Now that you have consciously increased your level of awareness, the next time you reach something, and you enter this anticlimax phase, you’ll have tools to implement to make the most of it.

      To your wonderful journey,

  • Sian Phillips

    Slightly off-track but still talking about anti-climax I feel the same with Christmas and my birthday. I’m not a Christmas person really as I always associate it with working as the family business was a hotel and restaurant and we always worked through the holidays. Now I look forward to Christmas for some time out doing very little.

    However as a child Christmas always seemed an anti-climax – once the presents were opened and the turkey eaten that was it……after all the weeks (now months!) of the lead up to it. Something one of my older brothers did – and I now do as well – is open one present a day often taking you through to New Years Day – depending on how lucky you are. This spreads the fun and anticipation out over a longer period.

    And I do love to celebrate my birthday – even though I’m getting older now – so I try and have a couple of celebrations with different friends or family, or even if it’s just one night make it a different day to my birthday so it spreads it out again.

    I’m not sure if you can apply this to a business model Frederique but thought I’d mention as on a personal level this works well for me.

    • Frederique Murphy

      Hi Sian,

      Thanks for the comment.

      And, you know what, I cannot believe I omitted special celebrations!!! ;-) So, an extra thanks for adding this in (and if you check the article, I’ve now added these in to my original list!).

      The M3 Power always applies to both personal and professional matters in your life, career & business, and when I teach and share via an article, I always endeavour to list as many examples as possible, so that whoever reads it, connects to it as we can then all identify and recognise ourselves in the various scenarios.

      So, this is not off-track at all, as it works exactly the same way with special celebrations, such as Christmas and birthdays. You are right, it is caused by the lead up to those events.

      Thanks for sharing your Christmas and Birthday strategy, I see how effective it is as it, and referring to the Triple A mentioned above, extends the Accomplishment phase, which then leads to the Anti-climax phase more smoothly, where you can then apply the above strategies to help you deal with it. I’m sure many readers will enjoy reading that, and apply it to their own life.

      Business wise, this strategy applies as well, as for instance, let’s take the leading an event, as an example, if you wanted to extend the Accomplishment phase, you would listen to the audio recording, or watch the video recording, or read the attendees testimonials. And, these activities would overlap with the Celebrate way I’m suggesting to use when you’ve reached that Anti-climax phase — it really helps the smooth transition, from one phase to another!

      Have a fantastic weekend,

  • Donald Kevin Thomas

    Hi Frederique – Interesting and useful post here. I remember feeling this way after I bought my house and people would say that is was buyers remorse. I didn’t buy that. I thought there was more to it than that. I think you hit it on the head. People do see milestones as an end to something and maybe not so much the begging of something else.

    Interesting read.



    • Frederique Murphy

      Hi Donald,

      Thanks for the comment, delighted you’ve found it useful!

      I appreciate you sharing one of your own anti-climax times, and you were right, buying a house is one of those milestones, and does go through the Triple A Success Journey: Anticipation / Accomplishment / Anti-climax.

      What I’ll add is that “buyers remorse” is what some people experience during their anti-climax phase after having completed their milestone, such as buying something. It is a behaviour triggered during this phase. Awareness is critical to sort out what is really going on and see this behaviour as a symptom of something bigger, the anti-climax. That way, you can powerfully progress to the next milestone, and the next one…!

      Have a superb week,


  • SharpestJim

    I go back to work Monday after two weeks of vacation. It has been years since I’ve taken more than one week at a time. So the “OMG-I-have-to-go-back-to-work” blues are worse than typical (and I still have four days to relax).

    But great article. I’m so happy that I saw it.

    • Frederique Murphy

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for the comment, delighted you saw it and that it was so timely for you.

      One of the greatest things is our awareness, and it is great that you are aware of a pattern that is already at play, that way, you can do something about it. I recommend you fully utilise the tools and strategies I’ve described in this article to help you with that smooth transition.

      Also, here is a previous article I wrote about the importance of taking a break: I feel it’d add to your process, by strengthening the why you took the break, and allows you to return to work on Monday feeling re-invigorated, relaxed, refreshed, re-energised, re-focused, re-motivated, keen to re-evaluate, re-assess, full of new perspective and insights, and eager to accomplish even more things!

      Have an excellent week,

  • Adam Luckey

    Hi Frederique,

    This is a great post with quality content. I know this feeling all to well. I think part of it is we still have our identity attached to our accomplishments instead of to who we are. I believe we should live out of our identity. For some beliefs that may be living with the realization we are children of God, others it may be understanding that our true self is greater than the stuff we own. If we need to things to make us happy we will be forever in a cycle of ups and downs. I believe we can be content with who we are and still have a drive to move forward. As long as we are taking steps forward we can live in a place of abundance! Thanks for the info!

    • Frederique Murphy

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for the comment, delighted you’ve enjoyed the read, and honoured by your word, thank you.

      And, thanks for sharing this insight. It is important to see the accomplishment for what it is indeed, and not completely have it define us, as we are SO MUCH MORE bigger than that. Our journey is compiled of a series of accomplishments, and being happy along the way, as opposed to only when reaching the next top, is absolutely critical.

      Have an incredible week,