Celebrating the small successes

Photo courtesy of Alaina Buzas (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Alaina Buzas (Creative Commons)

I suspect, like me, you are really good at celebrating the big accomplishments in life – things like graduation, landing that new job, finishing a big project, or other major events. You’ve spent months or years working toward that goal, and you have successfully completed or achieved it. Time to celebrate in a big way!

But what about the little victories? Do you even acknowledge them?

Not everything we do is focused on a major goal. A lot of life is the coping with every day. That’s not to say living well is not a huge aim, but it probably doesn’t pop up on your list of projects that you are working on. Maybe it should.

As I work toward gaining better control of my life, I’m looking at every small thing along the way. And through the online class I’m taking, Work Like You’re On Vacation (WLOV affiliate link), I’m learning that I have to start with the basics, and build some good habits and routines that will allow me the mental freedom to do the big thinking that needs to be done. I’m also looking at the roadblocks that prevent me from accomplishing all I expect to during the day and sidetrack me from my goals.

One example is my fitness routine. I trained for and completed a half marathon in April, but now that I’m not “in training” anymore, I find it difficult to continue the fitness routine. I run every day, but part of the training was weight and core strengthening exercises, which are not my favorite thing to do. In training, I followed the plan without fail but now, it’s easy to just tell myself “next week” – except next week comes and I say “next week” and never get to the gym.

So in an effort to change that process, I am taking Rob Hatch’s suggestion to “Put Success in my Way.” This week, I put gym day on my calendar – since the calendar rules. The night before, I laid out my towel, weights and key card for the gym, and I wrote out my plan for which exercises to do.

You know what? It worked! But I took it a step further – I celebrated that it worked. Not a huge party, mind you, but I did do a personal pat-on-the-back that I accomplished something good. And I’m definitely feeling the results in the soreness today!

In order to continue the success, I immediately put weight training on the calendar for next week. I know it will take several weeks before this becomes a habit, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the little victory to reinforce the value of having achieved it.

Think of how valuable that could be in your own endeavors. If you are on a diet, celebrate a day of healthy eating, or of not giving in to that rich dessert. It will make it easier to repeat the exercise tomorrow.

Whatever new habit you are working on, be sure to applaud yourself for the small successes. And if you slip, don’t give up. You have another chance to succeed tomorrow!

What little victories can you celebrate on the way to your goals?

2 thoughts on “Celebrating the small successes

  1. Great post, Carol. I’m pretty good at recognizing small accomplishments, but not perfect.

    I’ve come to realize I have a somewhat bifurcated life. For 9 months each year, I’m essentially owned and I toil away, sometimes feeling validated and sometimes just feeling like a cog in the machine. Inside the machine, I’m not good at recognizing small victories. Maybe sometimes, but not always.

    But outside of the machine (and, on occasion, within that space), when I’m control of my time and where I focus my efforts, I’m quite good at taking action, rewarding myself for small victories, and so on.

    The scenario I find myself in is all a function of a choice I made 4 years ago. With the exception of one other 5 month span in 1989 (which I quickly exited, when I realized what was going on), I’ve always felt like I was in charge of my professional life. Since I’ve come to realize that I’m not (and never will be under the present circumstances), I’ve been working to find a way to return to my norm.

    I define my norm as “I decide what’s right for me.” In January 2013 I set the course to get there. Haven’t always hit my marks, but I’ve been able to work around the obstacle that’s in front me. At the moment, it’s a bit like navigating between Scylla and Charybdis but I am on course. And I am celebrating those small victories. Especially this summer, as the victories will get bigger.

    • Thanks for commenting Sheree. At least it sounds like you are on course now and celebrating when you can – not a good feeling to be a cog in the machine. Hope you get back to your norm soon – and keep being brave!

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