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How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals

How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals

We all want to be successful in our goals and it’s these goals that put meaning into our lives – give us something to strive for and help better ourselves. But have you ever tried to reach a big goal with giving up as the end? Have you started working towards your goal but over time felt that it’s just too high a mountain to climb – how are you ever going to reach the top? Have you ever experienced the feeling that you’ve spent so long trying to achieve your goal but felt you’ve got nowhere with it?

If this is you then you’re not alone. As humans, we are built to naturally see the problems and easily punish ourselves for bad behaviour. Poor performances are quickly condemned in our minds and guilt can rise to the surface. Our mindsets can bring us down when we feel we’ve failed and this usually results in giving up on dreams and goals.

So what is the secret to achieving these goals? Successful people make huge achievements all the time so how do they do it? What makes them so different?

Perspective and Mindset

Many people may put the success of others down to luck or a natural talent that allows them to excel at what they want to achieve. Yes, this can be the case but most of the time it is down to a particular mindset and way of looking at their goals as a whole.

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Take Thomas Edison, the American businessman who invented the lightbulb. It took Edison almost 10,000 attempts to create a lightbulb – that’s a huge amount of ‘failures’ before finally finding success. But in response to his repeated failures he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

In other words, he took his failures and turned them into successes because his perspective was focused on achieving rather than failing. It’s quite clear he had a mindset and positive perspective that allowed him to celebrate those small steps and see them as achievements.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s very easy for us to put ourselves down for small mistakes and failures. What about our small successes? Well the irony of this is that although we easily feel negative about failing, we almost never celebrate our successes either and this is where the magic lies.

Celebrate Small Wins

The key to success is realising that our big goals aren’t going to happen overnight, in the next week or maybe even the next year but this is okay. We tend to focus on the end goals rather than the small and significant steps we take to get us to that goal.

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This is why it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate small wins. The problem with not doing this is we end up diminishing our motivation and motivation is what keeps us on the right path and gives us the strength to soldier on to the top of the mountain.

Demotivation usually comes because we are unsure of how far we are to our goals. We sometimes blindly believe that the goal is still so far away when it could actually be just around the corner – something we will never know if we give up.

It’s therefore important to make sure you celebrate your small goals along the way. Acknowledging these sparks the reward circuitry of our brains and releases chemicals that gives us the feeling of pride, giving us the feel-good and happiness factor and makes us want to go further towards our next achievement.

Appreciation is Key

Appreciation can sometimes be played down in life and we tend to forget to appreciate what we’ve done and what we have. Appreciating our small wins and the small steps we take can be the difference between failing and succeeding. Lack of appreciation and gratefulness can lead us down the slippery slope of not being able to see the importance of our small successes. Celebrating the small stuff is us acknowledging that we are well on our way to achievement – in fact we are achieving all the time and it’s a myth that we are only successful once we’ve reached that elusive goal.

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Creating Successful Habits

Successful habits equal success. We all know creating and changing habits can be hard as our minds find it difficult to adapt to new routines but acknowledging and celebrating the small wins are how you help yourself establish the habits you need and to keep you going. Our brains need reinforcement so allowing yourself to be rewarded will develop an ‘addiction to progress’ that will cause your brain to want to carry on to the next steps.

Acknowledge the Importance of the Present Moment

So what is the secret to a successful habit? It’s all about understanding the importance of the present moment. We tend to take the present moment for granted – it seems insignificant and we believe the little things we do in the moment aren’t changing us.

You must invest in the small things over a long period of time and understand that you only have the moment you are in and although these moments seem insignificant when determining whether you succeed or fail at something, it is the combination of moments over time that achieve the big things.

For example, say you want to learn a whole new subject. Reading 10 pages of a book today on this new subject will not significantly raise your knowledge and maybe not even 10 pages tomorrow and 10 pages the next day. However, it’s the combination of all these moments of reading 10 pages a day that will eventually allow you to fully learn the new subject. In other words, reading those 10 pages a day may seem insignificant in the moment but they are all important in the steps towards achieving your goal.

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5 Tips On Achieving Success

With all this in mind, it is the small steps we take that need to be acknowledged and appreciated for what they are. Motivation is a huge factor of whether or not we succeed and being able to reward ourselves and celebrate small wins is the key.

  1. Break down large goals into smaller goals – You don’t want to focus on the bigger picture as tempting as that can be. Make sure you create small, achievable goals that will allow you to see your progress more clearly.
  2. Reward yourself with achieving small goals – Think about what you enjoy the most and do this each time you complete a step. This cold be anything from treating yourself to your favourite coffee, chocolate or even a trip somewhere. Having something to look forward to trains the brain into creating motivation.
  3. Don’t put pressure on yourself – Putting a deadline on your goals can lead to potential feelings of failure. Be relaxed with your time limits and this will increase your happiness and motivation.
  4. Track your progress – Writing down or tracking your progress will remind you of how far you’ve come in achieving your goal. Sometimes we can give up because we are unaware of how close we are to success and forget how much we’ve done. Write down all the small wins – seeing them written down can even be a reward in itself!
  5. Change your perspective – Sometimes when we focus too much on the end goal, it can seem too far away to get to. Try thinking of it, not as climbing a huge mountain, but descending one with perhaps a few nice restaurants (rewards) to stop off at and relax on the way down – this way you can visualise getting there a lot easier!

Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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