Advertising
Advertising

Published on February 2, 2021

Small Victories: 4 Reasons To Celebrate Small Wins

Small Victories: 4 Reasons To Celebrate Small Wins

Are you looking for ways to cultivate more motivation, engagement, or life satisfaction? Celebrating the small victories consistently could be the energy boost you need!

What Is a “Small Win?”

First, let’s establish what a “small win” is. Small wins are anything you accomplish that aligns with your intentions. They can be related to work, personal or professional relationships, habit changes, and basically every aspect of your life. Small wins can be easy to gloss over, especially if you’ve been raised on a diet of self-criticism and perfectionism.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that you intend to be less judgmental of others. A small victory might simply be noticing when you start to think something judgmental about how someone else says the word “milk.” Even though the thought still popped into your head when they pronounced it “melk,” you at least noticed yourself in the thought.

Paying attention to your thoughts opens the door for you to question why everyone must pronounce words the same way. Maybe you’re the one saying it wrong? This is awareness. And as they say, awareness is the key to successful life changes.

Why Small Wins?

Instead of celebrating small victories, why not just wait for the big victories to sweep you to happiness?

Imagine that the doorbell rings and you answer it. A spokesperson with way too much fake tan yells, “Congratulations! You have just won 3 million dollars!” Balloons and confetti fall around you. How would it feel to celebrate a big win like that? You’re doing a happy dance in your mind, aren’t you?

Surely, with that sum of money, you would not only feel motivated and engaged, but you’d also have everlasting happiness and fulfillment, right? According to research, people who win large sums of money are more satisfied with the quality of their lives overall.[1] However, they don’t experience more day-to-day happiness than anyone else. So much for big wins.

Advertising

In fact, the internet is already abuzz with articles that extol the virtues of celebrating the small stuff. But happiness is only one of the dozens of reasons you should celebrate routinely.

The reasons for celebrating small can be broken down into 4 main categories:

  • Energy
  • Personal/Professional Growth
  • Love
  • Happiness

1. Energy

When energy is low, it can be challenging to accomplish anything. Try as you might to set goals, without energy, it’s understandable why the couch would have so much more magnetic pull than the treadmill. When you celebrate your small victories, you will give yourself little hits of energy that will add up over time.

Try it right now for yourself. Think of something small you achieved today. Maybe you took out the garbage even though it was really cold outside, you’re extremely tired, and you didn’t want to. Tell yourself, “I’m so proud of you for braving those terrible weather conditions to keep the house running smoothly.”

Or maybe you’re celebrating choosing tea over coffee in the afternoon. How does it feel to congratulate yourself? What does your body experience when you point out the little win to yourself?

Over time, you’ll notice that the little celebrations inject you with boosts of energy that will accumulate. Although you probably will still hate taking out the garbage, you’ll at least have the energy to do it.

Once you start experiencing more energy, you might notice feeling more motivated to accomplish all those items—large and small—on your “to do” list. This becomes a positive feedback loop. You accomplish something, celebrate, increase your energy to accomplish more, and repeat. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that celebrating the small victories leads you to accomplish even bigger ones.

Advertising

The opposite is also true. When you don’t accomplish the little things, imagine how much more challenging it will be to chip away at the big ones. Now that we have looked at this from two angles, let’s celebrate your ability to shift your perspective on this topic so adeptly. Bravo!

2. Personal/Professional Growth

Acknowledging little wins helps you keep track of how far you’ve come. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to instill a new habit or make a lifestyle change.

Behavioral changes can be some of the biggest challenges we undertake.[2] They can also be the most beneficial when you’re on the path to personal or professional growth and development. It can be easy to fall into the “all or nothing” trap.

For instance, a lot of people feel that if they can’t achieve a behavioral change—like quitting smoking—the first time they try, then they might as well give up.

Positive reinforcement through celebrating small wins helps you get back on track after taking a temporary detour. “I only had 3 cigarettes today” might be the small victory that would lead you to only having 2 tomorrow.

Growth in any area of life is a process. This process requires the use of tools. Celebrating the little things is an intentional tool you’ll want to use when you’re in the process of becoming the person you have been saying you want to be. And good for you for holding that vision for yourself!

3. Self-Love

They say that education is the most important investment you’ll ever make. Imagine if you are trying to get your degree but you self-criticize to the point of having major test anxiety. If you are not loving yourself, it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at your education. You’ll never finish the degree!

Advertising

Therefore, self-love is the ultimate investment you will ever make.[3] You are the only person you will know for the entirety of your life. When you love yourself unconditionally, you will be able to navigate any life obstacle or storm. Celebrating your little victories is just one of so many ways to take care of yourself.

What do people do when they get married? They celebrate! What do you do on birthdays to show someone you’re happy they were born? You celebrate! Why do we celebrate? Because celebrations demonstrate our love for others. Therefore, when you actively celebrate small victories, you affirm the love you have for yourself.

Celebrating your small victories is a powerful way to demonstrate that you notice how amazing you are. It helps you rely more on your own positive feedback rather than looking to the outside world to tell you what it thinks of you. Here’s something that nobody ever said: “People-pleasing is the gateway to the Kingdom of Joy.” Stop waiting for other people to tell you how incredibly valuable you are and start acknowledging all your little successes!

As a side benefit, self-love has also been known to lead to better relationships with others.[4] It turns out that when you love yourself, you will show others how you want to be treated.

“Isn’t this just bragging about myself?” you ask. No. It’s showing others that you notice the little things that are going well in your life, which means you’re also apt to notice the little things that are going well in the relationship or others’ lives. Seeing you celebrate your wins can be an invitation for others to celebrate their own wins, too. Pretty soon, you’re surrounded by people celebrating with you and you’re celebrating with others!

4. Happiness

According to Jungian Psychologist, Dr. James Hollis, our quest for happiness is actually not the focus of our lives. Instead, it would be in our best interest to design our lives around finding meaning.[5]

So, why is happiness mentioned in almost every single article about celebrating small wins, including this one? Because it’s what we want. As it turns out, the path to what we want is not a direct one.

Advertising

According to Hollis, “Joy, and happiness, are not goals in themselves, but they are the by-product of those moments when we are doing what is really right for us.”[6]

Happiness is a by-product! When we are fully engaged in our lives, our confidence runs higher, our actions match our intentions, our love for ourselves grows, and we experience a life filled with meaning. So, if you want to experience happiness, you must find ways to incorporate meaning into your life. Celebrating your little victories can be a catalyst for finding this meaning.

Put another way, if you’re not ready to let go of the pursuit of happiness, try viewing happiness as something you practice.[7] And if you want a proven way to engage with that practice, try celebrating all of your small wins.

Now that you have some reasons to celebrate small, let’s celebrate that you made it to the end of this article. Good for you! By reading this, you invested in yourself. Congratulations.

Now What?

Consider keeping a daily log of your little victories. At the end of the week, you can read everything you celebrated, which will help you experience the accumulation of all the little wins. And if you want to experience an even bigger win, re-read your celebration journal at the end of the year!

More Tips on Goal Achieving

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] NBER WORKING PAPER SERIES: Long-Run Effects of Lottery Wealth on Psychological Well-Being
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: Why Behavior Change Is Hard – and Why You Should Keep Trying
[3] Medical News Today: Why Self-Love Is Important and How to Cultivate It
[4] Psychology Today: Self-Love is the New #RelationshipGoals
[5] Jung Society of Washington: It’s Not About Happiness
[6] Jung Society of Washington: It’s Not About Happiness
[7] Psychology Today: Happiness is a Practice, Not a Destination

More by this author

Tess Miller

Life transition coach who helps professionals who love what they do but aren't sure where it's going

8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful Small Victories: 4 Reasons To Celebrate Small Wins

Trending in Goal Getting

1 A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success 2 What Are Vision Boards And Why They Work 3 How to Measure a Goal (With Examples of Measurable Goals) 4 How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples) 5 How To Make Your Dreams Come True in 9 Simple Steps

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 4, 2021

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

If there was a rule book of life, there would be one particular page that was highlighted, underlined, and titled as most important. It would be the one which told you that you need to master effective goal setting and have an aim in mind before you get on with the process. While there may not be an actual rule book of life, we do have this helpful goal setting guide to offer.

Yes, goal setting is important. In fact, it’s more important than achieving the goal itself. This is because it is the sense of direction that is needed for you to fulfill any task in life.

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed if this sounds new to you, as all the following information has you covered.

Today, you’ll find out all about the importance of goal setting, types of goals, and tips to define realistic goals for yourself!

What Are Goals?

To kick off our goal setting guide, you need to first recognize what goals are and how they are different from objectives, dreams, and expectations.

A goal is essentially your aim for the long-term future. It is the bigger umbrella, the main focus.

Objectives, on the other hand, fall under the umbrella of goals. They are the stepping stones that help you achieve your goals[1].

Objects vs goals for goal setting

    For example, you may decide you want to learn a new language. Your goal is to be fluent in the new language. Everything you do to achieve this goal, such as the daily tasks and monthly learning aims, are the objectives.

    Similarly, your expectations, visions, and dreams are not your goals. If you wish to learn a new language someday, that is your dream. If you see yourself fluently speaking multiple foreign languages, that is your vision. If you think you’re capable of learning a new language, that is your expectation.

    However, if you aim to fulfill these visions, dreams, and expectations practically, that is your goal.

    Why Is Goal Setting Important?

    Why should you bother with goal setting at all? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just get on with your daily objectives, follow a dream or vision, and let life take you wherever?

    Advertising

    While that road can feel exciting and spontaneous, if you actually want to tick off things from your list of goals to achieve, learning how to set goals is necessary.

    Being committed to a goal puts your brain to work in one specific direction. Believe it or not, by having a defined goal, your brain does its magic unconsciously, 24/7, with full efficiency, to achieve the desired results[2].

    Goal setting is important to shift your focus, boost your motivation, and give you a sense of direction. Without formally defining a particular aim that you want to reach, you won’t be able to keep your objectives in line.

    Hence, this one tiny step can end up saving you a lot of hassle and time while also encouraging your productivity.

    Types of Goals

    Before we move onto the technique of setting effective goals, we need to first take a look at all types of goals in this goal setting guide.

    These categories will not just help you brainstorm new one for yourself, but it will also guide you to list them down in the right way.

    Time-Based

    One of the two broad categories of goals is based on time. These goals define how far in the future you want to achieve them.

    Daily

    There are certain smaller goals that you can easily achieve in a day or two. In fact, some of these daily goals can be recurring, too. For example, you may want to run for an hour every morning.

    Now, these daily goals can also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. You may be running every day because, in the long-term, you want to increase your stamina.

    Daily goals are highly effective for people who want to improve their mental wellbeing, time management skills, and stress management.

    Short-Term

    Next in line are short-term goals. As you would have already guessed, goal setting in this area is aimed at the near future.

    The great thing about these is that they are generally easier to achieve. This is because short-term goals are set for the foreseeable future. You are aware of the circumstances and have a general idea of how much the situation can change.

    Advertising

    Just like daily goals, short-term goals may also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. Your short-term goal may be to lose 5 pounds in one month. That could be a goal in itself, or maybe it is just one objective to fulfill your goal to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the next two years.

    Another example of a short-term goal is to fulfill the checklist for promotion within the next 6 months. Or, you may want to reduce your screen time within the coming week.

    Long-Term

    Lastly, we have long-term goals that are meant to be completed over a stretched period.

    Whatever you want to achieve in a later stage of life is a long-term goal. An insurance plan, for example, is a long-term goal.

    Some long-term goals don’t have any time frame at all. They are goals that you want to accomplish at some point in your life. So, something like traveling the whole world is a lifelong goal with no specific time constraint at all.

    There’s one thing about long-term goals that isn’t great.

    They are the hardest to keep up with since you’re not seeing any huge achievements regularly. This may take a toll on your motivation. To tackle this problem, it is best to divide a long-term goal into various, short-term and daily objectives so that you’re always tracking the progress you’re making.

    Life-Based

    Moving forward, you can also start goal setting based on the results you want to achieve instead of the time period.

    Career

    Like most people, you will likely want to succeed and excel in your career. Anything that has to do with this intention, regardless of the time frame, is a career goal. These are usually measurable goals, such as receiving a promotion within two years, finding a job at a certain company within the next six months, etc.

    You can learn more about how to set successful career goals here.

    Personal

    The past few years have all been about emphasizing your personal health. So, when it comes to goals, how can we forget the ones that have to do with our personal gains?

    From health to finances to relationships, everything that brings you happiness and composure as a person is a personal goal. It’s important that these are realistic and attainable goals for your life.

    Advertising

    Whether you want to get rid of your debt, quit smoking, start a side hustle, have children, or travel the world, all of these goals are personal and very important to have on your list.

    How to Set Goals

    The best way to guarantee the fulfillment of goals is to set them the right way.

    1. Use SMART Goals

    Every goal you define has to be SMART[3].

    SMART stands for:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-Bound

    In summary, your specific goals should be very well defined. They shouldn’t be generic or broad, and every detail should be clarified as you’re goal setting. 

    If you want to start running, how often do you want to do it? How long will each session be? For how long will you continue this habit?

    There has to be a connection between your goals and beliefs or you’ll never be able to achieve the results you want. Most importantly, do not be unrealistic. You cannot learn to fly, and forcing yourself to try is only going to demotivate and stress you out.

    2. Prioritize Your Goals

    As you’re looking into how to write goals for the next month or year, it’s likely you’ll come up with more than one. In this case, it’s important to prioritize which are the most important or the ones that have the tightest deadline. This is going to be subjective, as only you know which goals will have the most impact on your life.

    3. Think of Those Around You

    As you’re working on goal setting, keep your loved ones in mind. You may have a partner, children, or employees that depend on you, and you should take them into consideration with your goals. For example, if you set a goal to travel to 10 different countries in the next two years, how will this affect your children?

    If you want to lose 30 pounds this year, is there something your partner can do to support you? S/he will need to be made aware of this before you set off on your weight loss journey.

    4. Take Action

    Setting goals is the first step, but in order to be successful, you have to follow this with action. If you set goals but never act on them, they become dreams. Create an action plan laying out the steps you need to take each day or week in order to achieve your big and small goals.

    You can also check out Lifehack’s free guide: The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen. This helpful guide will push you to take action on your goals, so check it out today!

    Advertising

    5. Don’t Forget the Bigger Picture

    Most people refer to the big picture as their vision. Whether it is the long-term result or the connection of the goal with your desire, keep it in mind to keep yourself from getting distracted.

    You can learn more about creating a vision for your life here.

    I also recommend you to watch this video to learn 7 strategies to set goals effectively:

    How to Reach Your Goals

    You can ensure your progress by following some foolproof tactics. The use of relevant helpful tools can also keep you on the right track.

    Tactics

    One rookie mistake that most people make is that they work on too many goals simultaneously. Create an action plan and focus on one thing at a time.

    Divide your goal into smaller, easily achievable tasks. Taking it one step at a time makes it much easier. However, do not break them down too much. For example, for long-term goals, you should go for weekly checkpoints instead of daily ones.

    Also, keep track of your progress. This will keep you motivated to work harder.

    Tools

    With so many categories of goals and so many aims, it is almost impossible to remember, let alone work, on all of them.

    Luckily, numerous goal tracker apps will help you keep track of your goals, as well as your plan to achieve every single one. Have at least one installed in your smartphone so that your plan is always within reach.

    The Bottom Line

    In conclusion, using a goal setting guide is not rocket science. All that it takes is strong will power along with all the knowledge that you’ve learned so far.

    Try out the tactics and tips mentioned above to be able to set successful goals so that you can achieve the life that you want!

    More Tips on Achieving Success

    Featured photo credit: Danielle MacInnes via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Smart Insights: The difference between marketing objectives and marketing goals?
    [2] Confluence: Goal Setting Theory
    [3] University of California: SMART Goals: A How-To Guide

    Read Next