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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

How to Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself For Motivation

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How to Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself For Motivation

Franz Kafka, Andy Warhol, Charles Darwin and Kurt Cobain. What did all these people have in common? They were all avid diarists. They were all keeping track daily of the events in their lives.

To be honest with you, I had no idea that a journal was such a common denominator among highly successful and influential characters. Famous 20th-century author Anaïs Nin once wrote:

“This diary is my kief, hashish, and opium pipe. This is my drug and my vice. Instead of writing a novel, I lie back with this book and a pen, and dream, and indulge in refractions and defractions.. I must relive my life in the dream.”

Well, although I love Anais’ poetic reflection on the importance of a diary, I wouldn’t take it that far.

The reason a diary is so important, and so many significant figures tend to evangelize this importance, is because it actually works as a tool to help you monitor your progress on a daily basis.

Progress monitoring is an incredibly valuable habit when it comes to your personal and professional development and consequently your self-motivation levels. Without awareness and control over your progress, you tend to lose contact with your achievements and this is probably the strongest motivational inhibitor one can experience.

Breaking big challenges down into chunks isn’t original advice, of course.

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Our constant pursuit of achievements that will place us in a position of value in the eyes of others somehow disorients us from the idea of the achievement itself. Since our early childhood, our acts were incentivized by the reward we would receive from our parents. These results could be tangible or intangible in a sense that they could be manifested in the form of an appraisal or a present.

Whatever we did, we did it because we wanted to experience a degree of praise and admiration from our caretakers – a praise which would eventually give us strength and motivation to keep doing what we were doing.

The degree to which this praise and admiration was received, obviously, varies from individual to individual. The fact, however, is that the need for it was always there and will always be. Our ability to recognize its importance, however, incrementally affects our performance in our everyday endeavors.

Having big goals and aspirations is of huge importance because it gives you a vision, but monitoring your progress and celebrating small goals and victories is what will eventually materialize this vision. With all the pressures and distractions in our lives, it is all too easy to have our smaller achievements go unnoticed, even by ourselves. I have personally managed to make this idea a huge aspect of my overall emotional satisfaction and intrinsic motivation levels. More specifically I have created a small 2-step system that helps me stay motivated and engaged with my work on a daily basis and also helps me respect my progress even if it isn’t as big as I was expecting.

The 2-step system goes as follows:

1st Step – Create a task list and write in your diary every day

The first step consists of two parts, which are actually equally important.

The first part is to have a task list ready for the day where you will list all your work-related tasks. The task list needs to be well specified and it cannot exceed five tasks because you won’t be able to manage them efficiently.

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I will give you an example of what a well-specified task list looks like by taking a random daily task list from my schedule:

1

    The tasks here are quite random, but also quite usual for my daily life because they are all related to my main activity, which is blogging. Additionally, they are listed by level of importance, which suggests that I am not allowed to move to the next task if I haven’t completed the previous one. This rule helps me become more disciplined and focused.

    Most of the time, I manage to complete all the tasks and that gives me extreme pleasure and fulfillment. But even if I don’t and let’s say I didn’t manage to complete two or three of the least important tasks, I can easily move them to the task list for the next day without feeling bad because I managed to complete the most important ones.

    The feeling I experience whenever I manage to strike out the completed tasks is priceless. It fills me with a sense of immense pleasure and enjoyment to know that I managed to finish hard work and that is needed more than anything after a stressful day.

    The second part is the journal part.

    A journal for me is probably one of the most effective and impactful ways of individualistic expression. The words that you write down reflect your emotional state throughout the day and help you release your anger and pain or elevate your happiness and excitement. By logging your daily experiences and achievements, you create a sense of purpose within yourself. Even if you didn’t accomplish anything important during your day, the way you express it in your journal will reframe your whole reality.

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    Never assume that your life is boring. You are the hero of your own story and everything you do, even if you consider it simple or mundane, should be expressed through appreciation and grandeur. This is probably the most powerful mind hack I have ever learned.

    2nd Step – Reward yourself on a monthly basis

    Now, understanding and being aware of your progress is good and all but there is also something very important when it comes to lasting motivation that we shouldn’t ignore – the power of rewards.

    Rewards or “treats” may sound like a self-indulgent, frivolous strategy, but it’s not. Because forming good habits can be draining, treats can play an important role. When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and contented, which boosts our self-command and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits. Studies show that people who got a little treat, in the form of receiving a surprise gift or watching a funny video, gained in self-control. It’s a secret of adulthood:

    If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish.

    When we don’t get any treats, we begin to feel burned-out, depleted, and resentful.

    Like I said before, it brings us back to our childhood when we were usually expecting gifts from our parents. Whether we got those gifts or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the need was always there and will always be. However, you can’t still expect your parents to reward you, but now you are the one who can reward yourself.

    The best timeframe to reward yourself is on a monthly basis because if you do it more often the crave won’t be that strong and also you can’t invest money on something that has value and you can appreciate more.

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    The nature of the present is up to you. Be it something that you enjoy immensely, like a dinner in an expensive restaurant or tickets for football game, or a subscription service where you can attach the following message:

    2

      Even if you don’t reach all the milestones or don’t work as hard as you expected to, the reward will keep you in a state of constant mental arousal, helping you to keep on going. And this is probably what matters the most.

      In closing

      To sum up, I wrote this piece mainly to help you understand that your life will constantly be an attempt to balance between your inner child and your adult self.

      Both characters are equally powerful and equally important to your emotional and social wellbeing.

      Neglecting one of them or failing to understand its place in your life will only cause confusion and regret.

      Don’t suppress your inner child. It was a huge part of your life and it will always be. Back then it was your caretakers who were responsible for it. Now it’s you and only you.

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      Featured photo credit: Will van Wingerden via unsplash.com

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      Last Updated on December 14, 2021

      15 Simple Ways To Get Confidence Back

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      15 Simple Ways To Get Confidence Back

      Confidence is essential to survival. If you’re a man, you can’t even attract a mate without it, as women (and even gay men) are attracted to tenacity. There are times, however, when a devastating or unexpected loss can sap you of your poise. If you’re down, here’s how to get confidence back into your system so you’re ready to take on the world again.

      1. Find Your Comfort Zone

      Everyone has a comfort zone, whether it’s food, music, art, a favorite book, movie, TV show, a specific geographic location or group of people. Whatever it is that makes you feel comfortable, get into that zone. You’re not there to hide from your problems or dwell on them. You’re there to recharge; just like your muscles and mind need time to recharge, so does your mood. Take a staycation in your comfort zone to regain your composure.

      2. Change Your Thoughts

      Actively make a conscious decision to change your thought processes. Every time you doubt yourself, counter those thoughts with ways you can overcome. Remember most of your problems are in your head. That’s not to say they don’t exist – merely that you’re allowing them to affect you. Stand up to and for yourself, and you’ll learn ways to stand up to and for everyone else.

      3. Smile Like You Mean It

      A smile goes a long way. Even if you’re not fully sure of yourself, you’ll exude a sureness that encourages people to perceive you as a confident person. You’ll be seen as a leader rather than a follower, and things will be more likely to go your way. The media portrays Special Forces soldiers as killing machines, but one of their most used weapons is a friendly smile. Diplomacy is strong, so put a smile on your face, and make the world a better place.

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      4. Don’t Slouch!

      Your posture and the way you carry yourself goes a long way in determining your appearance. If you’re slouched over, people assume you’re weaker. This is how nature works – every plant and animal species on this planet understands survival of the fittest, and you need to look like you’re fit. Make an effort to sit up and stand up straight and tall.

      5. Take Baby Steps

      Everything happens in steps. Don’t get discouraged if there’s no magical change that suddenly makes you confident. Focus on your path, and understand it’ll take baby steps to get where you want. You’ll soon be taking baby steps from confidence to full-on success in life.

      6. Clean Yourself Up

      Cleanliness is close to godliness (or so I’ve heard). Hygiene is vital to your confidence – it’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re stained, sweaty and smelly. No matter what your circumstances in life are, do your best to stay clean, as it’s the key to your confidence.

      7. Face Your Fears

      Everyone has a list of fears and phobias, although many don’t want to admit it. I’m afraid of snakes, spiders, heights, loss of control, drowning, the dark, other people, and just about everything under the sun. I’m even afraid of the sun since I have moles and have a high melanoma risk. These are natural fears that everyone has on some level or another – it’s a fear of death and the unknown. Face at least one of your fears. When you survive, you’ll be that much more confident.

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      8. Define Yourself

      You are your present choices. Your past decisions and future aspirations determine how your present choices are perceived, but you are your present choices. Learn how to define yourself. Set your rules and boundaries and follow them. These are your morals and ethics, and they’re the foundation of who you are. Never forget that.

      9. Embrace Mistakes

      Looking back (even while it was happening), we judge Michael Jordan on his successes. People quote him as the greatest basketball player of all time and use his wins, championships and statistics to back it up. Jordan himself, though, reached that level by focusing on his failures. What drove Michael Jordan wasn’t the high from making a game-winning shot, it was the low of missing one.

      10. Live In The Present

      Learn to appreciate everything around you. By practicing gratitude, you’ll change your perspective. Instead of being upset about losing an important client or failing a test, you’ll be grateful for the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, and the people you love. Focus on the now, because it’s all you truly have.

      11. Take Inventory

      If you’re reading this, you also have a lot of secondary stuff, such as a computer, the Internet, the knowledge to use it, the ability to read. You have a lot of skills and resources available to you, even if they’re not the ones you wish they were. Figure out what you have, and find ways to use them.

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      12. Socialize

      Talk things out with friends and family – they’re normally happy to help you regain confidence. If they (or lack thereof) are the reason you lack confidence, expand your social circle. Go to public places and interact with strangers. If you fail to make an impression or completely blow it, who cares? They weren’t in your life before, and you won’t miss them.

      13. Play A Game

      Video games are great for a lot of reasons, and gaining confidence is just one of them. In real life you may be a boring file clerk with a dead-end life, but in a video game, you can be whoever you want. Every video game console (as well as the majority of computer and mobile games) has achievements. Hunt down some easy wins to jumpstart your spunk.

      14. Do Something Crazy

      I’m a firm believer in spontaneity being the spice of life. Go out and do something you said you never would. When I reached a point in my life where it felt like nothing could go right, I jumped out of an airplane. As I fell through the air, I had several epiphanies that forever changed my life. No other decision in my life had more of a direct impact on my life than that one crazy act.

      15. Try Again

      If your lack of confidence is caused by failure, pick up and try again in any way possible. It doesn’t have to be immediately – you can practice, learn and evolve prior to trying again. This time, however, go in as an experienced veteran who took a few licks and got back up stronger, faster and smarter than before.

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      It’s easy to lose your confidence. Unexpected things happen, and you can very easily find yourself on the short end of the stick. Even though it seems like you’re the only one it’s happening to, we all experience inequalities and failures. Stick it out, and you’ll eventually get the confidence it takes to succeed.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Mowe via unsplash.com

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