There aren’t too many reasons to celebrate these days. Sure, there are exceptions. They just vary from person-to-person.
For me personally, I’m thrilled that my parents are getting the vaccine. I have friends and family who are welcoming new members into their households — either newborns or four-legged babies. And, I’m grateful every single day that I have a roof over my head and food on the table.
At the same time, I miss the days before COVID. Some of us might even be mourning the loss of normalcy and loved ones. And, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t anxious about the future.
What keeps me going are those glimmers of hope. That may seem inconsequential. But, there’s something to say about these seemingly minuscule victories.
It actually turns out that celebrating small wins is quite powerful.
Why small wins matter.
“Progress on our goals makes us feel happier and more satisfied with life,” writes Timothy A. Pychyl. Why’s that matter? Because when you acknowledge milestones along your journey, you aren’t delaying the satisfaction of completing a goal.
As a result, these little doses of happiness keeps you motivated. You can notice this in all aspects of your life. Whether if it’s losing weight or scaling a business, seeing progress encourages you to keep on trucking.
Additionally, it boosts confidence.
“Confidence is so important because you may have all of the ability in the world to perform well,” says Dr. Jim Taylor. “But if you don’t believe you have that ability, then you won’t perform up to that ability.”
“For example, a gymnast may be physically and technically capable of executing a back somersault with a full twist on the floor exercise,” adds Dr. Taylor. However, “he won’t attempt the skill in a meet if doesn’t have the confidence that he can successfully execute the skill.”
Of course, this gymnast has to work towards this physical feat. They just aren’t born with it. Instead, they need to properly train by building up their body strength and flexibility, as well as the right technical skills.
It takes a lot of time and hard work. But, whenever they see even the slightest result, they silence that inner critic. And, they become more confident in their skills and abilities.
How can you celebrate your tiniest of victories? Here eight ways to make that possible.
1. Keep a diary.
“Diaries are much more than the domain of angst-ridden teens,” writes Rob Smith, a researcher for The Audacious Project. “In fact, you can reclaim them to serve your growth by using them to chronicle your wins.”
Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile advocates keeping a daily diary of progress as well. The reason? It “helps us to reflect on our days and keep track of all those little achievements that normally go unnoticed,” says educator Mehrnaz Bassiri.
“It helps us to detect and celebrate our small wins even on those frustrating days that we don’t think we got a lot done,” she adds. “Not only that, but it also helps us to work through difficulties and find weak areas that we need to work on.”
2. Give someone a high-five.
I’m not opposed to traveling alone. But, it isn’t always better when you can share the experience with someone else?
The same is true with your victories. Let others know how you’re feeling by giving them a celebratory high-five. You may realize it, but your excitement will transfer to them as well.
Interestingly, studies have found that when NBA players do the team places higher in the standings. Moreover, the team also had better stats on passing and setting picks. So, this might be better reserved for team wins.
Another option? Start a group text with friends, family, or co-workers where you congratulate each other. Receiving that recognition can be a stellar external motivator.
3. Treat yo’ self.
I wouldn’t suggest being financially destructive like Tom and Donna from Parks and Recreation. However, you definitely could reward yourself for your accomplishments — no matter the size.
For instance, I’ve had my eyes on a new hoodie from a local clothing store. It’s not outrageously priced at $55. But, I’ve restrained myself until I’ve actually earned spending that money.
Of course, you don’t need to rely on material possessions. Maybe your reward is ordering takeout and watching a new release on Netflix or dancing to yor favorite song. Or, turning off your phone for the evening and engaging in some self-care by taking a bath or reading a new book.
Another idea? Investing in yourself. For instance, you could sign-up for an online class in order to enhance your skills.
Or, put some money into a savings account for an emergency or your retirement.
4. Repeat a celebratory mantra.
“Every time I complete a Microstep, I repeat the phrase, ‘You’ve accomplished more than you had ten minutes ago!,’ says Thrive community member Kaleen Skersies.
It reminds her “to take a deep breath and move on to the next task or project that needs my attention. By the end of the day, I feel like I’ve had multiple wins on my way towards the larger goal.”
5. Keep a victory jar.
As a kid, my mom put out the cliche swear jar for my dad. I’m not exactly sure if it worked. It did accumulate enough money for us to spend a day at a theme park, so it probably was worth it — at least for us kids.
You can put a more positive spin on this by creating a small win jar.
The concept is incredibly simple. Just write down your small win on a sticky note. And then place it in a mason jar.
It may sound a bit on the tacky side. But, it works. You can use it to track your progress or as a pick-me-up to remind you what you’ve accomplished.
6. Say “thank you.”
You might be flying solo. You’re also responsible for your accomplishments. But, I guarantee that someone assisted you along the way — I mean Frodo wouldn’t have made it to Mount Doom and dispersed of the One Ring without Samwise.
Take a moment and think about who helped accomplish a win. Maybe it was your partner who offered words of encouragement. Maybe it was an assistant who kept you in-check or a co-worker who shared valuable input.
Thank them with a handwritten card. Or, hook them up with a small gift that they would enjoy. It could be a gift card to Starbucks or dinner at their favorite restaurant.
7. Leave your calendar blank.
I don’t mean leaving your entire calendar blank. While there are some benefits to going with the flow, that may cause you to drift aimlessly. Besides, filling out your calendar makes it easier to plan your week and avoid conflicts.
On the other hand, after attending to your priorities in the morning, you could leave your calendar wide open in the afternoon. You can then spend that free time however you want. You’ve earned a much-deserved break from the hustle and bustle.
8. Change your mindset.
“It’s a natural human instinct to spend a disproportionate amount of our focus and mental energy on things that went poorly or on things that we can’t control,” writes Kevin Pho, MD. “That’s part of our survival instinct. It helps us avoid future pain.”
“But realize that failures happen and with continued effort, the overall progress is in a positive direction.” It’s just like that Thomas Edison quote that you’ve likely come across a million times. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
“It sounds like he had the right perspective,” states Dr. Pho. “He seems to have found ways to celebrate even the failures in life.”
“It takes real intentionality to break out of the negative thoughts and focus on the good things in life,” he adds. But, zeroing on the small wins can help with that.
“When you cultivate that positivity, you’ll be better able to make progress toward your goals,” he says. “And, dare I say it, that just might be one of the keys to true happiness.”
Image Credit: min an; pexels