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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

Process Goal vs Outcome Goal: How to Use Them for Success How To Accept Responsibility For Your Life (7 No-Nonsense Tips) 8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful Small Victories: 4 Reasons To Celebrate Small Wins

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Last Updated on May 7, 2021

23 Goals in Life to Set and Achieve for Personal Success

23 Goals in Life to Set and Achieve for Personal Success

Many people want to achieve personal success in life, whether it’s in their business, family life, or hobbies. However, it is only a select few that realize that it is having the right goals in life that will carry you towards the dream of having your best days in front of you.

Personal goals come in every area of life, whether it be deeply personal ones, health-related, financial-related, or how to become a better person in society. Prioritizing sleep, practicing mindfulness, and keeping up with old friends are just some of the goals you need to adopt to lead a happy and successful life.

Imagine if you had a set of amazing goals that you could begin today and continuing pursuing until your final days. How would that make you feel?

Once you realize that there is no set destination in this game of life, only a dance to be danced, you are free to achieve your own version of personal success.

This article is set out to help you achieve just that. It highlights a variety of goals in life in different areas, such as health, finance, and creativity that will help guide you toward fulfilling your own potential.

If you’re unsure which part of your life should you focus on improving first, take the Life Assessment for free. After taking the assessment, you’ll get a customized report for free and understand how you’re doing in different aspects of life. Take the assessment now.

Then you can decide what goals to set for yourself. Below you’ll find 23 different life goal ideas that you can use to get started or to build on for a good life and personal growth.

1. Pursue Equanimity in Yourself

While many people pursue happiness, wealth, and health in themselves, it is usually only through equanimity where most important life goals become accessible.

Equanimity is defined as peak calmness and composure, no matter what life is throwing at you. If you can find equanimity in the most difficult of situations, then you will breeze through situations that others (and your previous self) found extremely stressful.

The best way to achieve equanimity is to practice putting yourself in tough situations again and again. Just like learning to drive a car, gradually what used to terrify you becomes routine, and that is how you start to level up.

2. Travel as Often as You Can

People often talk about travel as being a gateway to the soul, but it is hard to recognize just how true it is until you have done it for yourself as part of your life goals list.

Traveling doesn’t even have to involve flying to the other side of the world to become a Buddhist monk for a year. The benefits of travel can come from something as simple as a weekend away in an unfamiliar city in your own country.

Travel not only opens you up to new people, new cultures, and new experiences, but it also helps you grow as a person by reminding you that there is more life going on outside of your own personal bubble, making this one of the best goals in life to set.

3. Take a Class That Interests You But Is Irrelevant to Your Career

As a person who is passionate about self-improvement and creating a better quality of life, you probably love to learn new things and feel productive.

Sometimes, though, you can overdo the whole career thing and forget about what truly sets your heart on fire. You forget about all of the hobbies you used to pursue before “life got in the way.”

Go out and take a class that you are fascinated by or used to love that has nothing to do with your work. Not only will life get back some sparkle, but it will keep you much more refreshed for when it is time to work again.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Things that get a load of hype very rarely live up to their expectations. Mindfulness is definitely an exception.

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People have been preaching about mindfulness for a long time now, and its roots go all the way back to early Buddhism. Until very recently, the benefits were purely anecdotal, but scientific evidence is now emerging about the power of mindfulness.[1]

Mindfulness is most effective when it is practiced daily, even for just ten minutes. Sit comfortably and simply pay attention to your surroundings and your thoughts. It sounds simple but is incredibly effective.

Take a look at these 7 Simple Tricks To Bring More Mindfulness Into Your Life

5. Love Life for What It Is, Not What You Think It Should Be

There are countless times when life doesn’t go your way. It is useless to fight it, so you just need to accept and embrace whatever life has in store as part of your goals in life.

When you are consumed by what life should be like, you are drowning in your own expectations and shortcomings. This is a sure-fire way to lead a life of frustration and disappointment.

The only way around this is to enjoy every up and every down. Life is a symphony with a variety of notes and melodies; stopping and replaying one note that you like or don’t like spoils the whole thing.

6. Live Presently

Living in the past or in the future is where most of human suffering lies. It is often regrets about what you should have done or worries about what you need to do that lead to unnecessary negative emotion.

It is easy to forget that you only ever live in the present moment. Every thought and experience that you have ever had has taken place in the ever-flowing “now.”

Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to make one of your life goals to live presently, as this is the only place where life happens.

7. Run for 5 Miles

Even if you do happen to fall short of the marker, running is a good health habit to pick up, as it requires no gym membership and is accessible to anyone with a pair of running shoes. It should definitely have a place on your list.

8. Hold a Deep Squat for One Minute

You might think that this is one of the easy goals in life to accomplish because tiny babies can do it with ease. You might want to think again!

Although some of us can do it with relative ease, a surprising majority of people either struggle to get deep enough or fall backwards off balance when they get into the deep squat.

As an article on QZ points out, it is a form of active rest that is evolutionarily designed to counteract the bodily harms caused by sitting for long periods during the day.[2]

Holding a deep squat for a minute or more every day is a great way to boost your ankle, knee, lower back and core mobility, as well as boosting your balance.

9. Eat for 80% Health, 20% Pleasure

One of the best pieces of advice that I have ever received comes from a certified dietician talking about her own diet. She eats 80% for health and 20% for pleasure.

80% of what she consumes is food that she knows is good for her that she may or may not particularly like. The other 20% is food that she loves, no matter how “bad” it is for her.

This is one of the best health goals in life to have and live by. It recognizes that the vast majority needs to be the good stuff but life isn’t truly lived without the tasty stuff every now and then, too.

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10. Drink More Water and Less of Everything Else

Although things like coffee, protein shakes, and soda have their place for making you feel like a more productive human being, it is important to remember the water.

With over half of your body made up of H2O, getting at least a couple of glasses of the good stuff a day is essential to your overall well-being, especially as your body uses water in all of its cells, organs, and tissues and the role it plays in many other vital processes.

11. Prioritize Sleep

The hustling “no-sleep culture” is slowly fading away, and with it, a new appreciation for our oldest biological friend: sleep.

The literature on the importance of sleep is growing every day and is causing even the hardest-working entrepreneurs out there to start prioritizing some shut-eye[3]

Recommended Hours of Sleep

     

    Sleep has been shown to improve learning and reduce risk of depression, and even napping has been shown to be a great way to counteract some of the effects of a bad night of sleep.[4]

    12. Write Every Day for a Month

    This is one of the goals in life that isn’t actually as complicated as it might first seem. By writing every day, it might mean anything from one page of journaling to writing 1000 words per day on your blog.

    The act of writing helps to both clarify and organize your thoughts, which is key when setting personal goals. It is common to be brooding over a problem for days at a time only to realize how silly it sounds and looks when you see it written down on paper.

    Simply keep a small pad of paper and a pen with you wherever you go. Sit down and write a story at your desk, or write down some ideas about your next business venture.

    Even if you only pursue this goal for a short period of time, you will learn a lot about how creative you can be.

    13. Write Down 10 Ideas a Day on Any Subject

    Legendary entrepreneur James Altucher was the first to coin this idea of becoming an “Idea Machine” and the effectiveness of writing down just 10 ideas a day. Since it went viral, thousands of people have adopted it as one of their own goals in life.[5]

    The concept is simple: by writing down 10 ideas, you flex your creativity muscle that rarely gets pushed hard. Your theme for the day might be ideas for a book to write, or ideas for becoming more productive, or even something as silly as ideas about what you would spend $1 million on.

    The theme doesn’t matter, but the thinking does. It is usually around point five or six when people have to start thinking. This is where the goal becomes most valuable, and in no time, you will be an Idea Machine.

    14. Pursue Being a Beginner Again

    As you progress through life, your late teens and early twenties are far behind you. You have a better sense of who you are, what you like doing, what gives you joy, what irritates you, and how to interact with other humans.

    All of this might be convenient, but it involves a slow slide into your comfort zone. And as you probably know by now, not much exciting life is lived in the comfort zone.

    Ask yourself when was the last you time you were a beginner at something? The last time you knew that you looked a fool because you didn’t know what you were doing?

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    The answer should be often if you want to keep growing your character, personality, and fortitude when it comes to dealing with new and uncertain situations. So, get out there and try a new sport or a new hobby.

    15. Learn How to Say Sorry

    Alongside “I love you” and “Irish wristwatch,” saying sorry is one of the most difficult phrases to say in the English language.

    There is something about an apology that can really interfere with your ego and lead the blame to be passed on to something or someone else on a frequent basis. Because of this, not many people apologize in their lives at all.

    Therefore, it might seem like a bit of a trivial goal to have in life, but if you can learn the art, you will be one of the few people out there who knows how to say sorry. That is something worth striving for.

    16. Call or Text Someone You Haven’t Spoken to in Months

    As life ticks on, you tend to drift away from certain people that you were once close to. Even with your best friends or family that you still love deeply, it might be the case that you now only see them once a year as life starts to get in the way.

    Incredibly, you are fortunate enough to live in an era where distance has shrunk because of technology. Those friends and family that you don’t get to see face-to-face anymore are just a text or phone call away, so use this as one of your goals in life to stay connected.

    17. Consciously Maintain a Work-Life Balance

    When you are at your productive best, and the work piles up just as quickly as you complete it, it can become easy to get lost and think that work = life.

    The two are not equated though. Work is just one facet of life, usually the activity that you complete to make money or, if you are fortunate, something that you enjoy, too.

    However, there is far more to life than just work. Your relationships, friendships, hobbies, health and many other aspects are just as important and often become neglected in the face of work.

    It is a noble goal in life to limit your work and to take time for all the other essential parts of life as well. Nobody regrets working too little on their deathbed, only too much.

    18. Communicate Your Ideas With the World

    It is surprisingly common for an infinitely complex human like yourself to put themselves down and not feel like they are worthy enough to share their opinion.

    Whether you realize it or not yet, the world needs you. It needs your ideas, your enthusiasm, and your unique perspective on the human experience. While many people think they are doing good by keeping thoughts to themselves, they are actually doing a disservice to everyone who would benefit from their voice.

    Your communication goal doesn’t have to be giving a TED Talk. A great goal is to simply be more expressive about your thoughts and opinions and to be receptive to those of other people.

    Starting your own blog or podcast is one of the best ways to do this, but simply telling your ideas to a friend is a fantastic start for your goals in life.

    19. Fix Things That Are Broken

    If you pursue this goal, even passively, it will lead to not just a much better life for yourself but also for the world around you.

    The beauty of this goal is that it can be as small-scale or as large-scale as you want it to be. If you don’t like how your bathroom door handle jiggles, fix it. If you don’t like the fact that there is no app for that problem yet, build it.

    Entropy may be the natural state of the observable universe, but we can keep things in order for just a little longer.

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    20. Volunteer for a Charity

    This is one of those life goals that seems to be on everyone’s bucket list, but not everyone gets around to doing. If you can manage to complete it, the results can be life-changing and help you lead a more fulfilled life.

    Volunteering for a charity gives you an impression of what life is like for those in less favorable circumstances than your own. It provides a unique perspective about all of the blessings in your own life and is usually followed by a profound sense of gratitude.

    21. Aim to Live Debt-Free

    Debt is something that will hang over your head for the rest of your life if you let it, and it can definitely be a hindrance to achieving the other goals on this list if there is too much of it.

    Debt is almost inevitable in life, whether you are paying off a mortgage, have monthly car payments, or use a credit card. However, living debt-free has to be one of your goals in life, as well as the associated peace of mind to go with it.

    There are a number of ways to manage it, but perhaps the best way is to save a little more money when you get paid. Not only is it easier to save when you get paid compared to when you are running out of money, but these small savings eventually accumulate to big ones that allow you to pay off big chunks of debt.

    22. Stop Trading Time for Money

    Most conventional jobs do just that. The one resource that you can never get more of (time) is traded away for a resource that you can always get more of and, beyond a basic level of income, is only used to buy wants not needs.

    To stop trading time for money is to enjoy freedom. It is to take advantage of the universe’s scarcest resource and live life on your own terms.

    There are a couple of ways to achieve this goal; either find a job that you enjoy and you get paid for, or build new income streams like a side-hustle that helps you to buy back your time.

    23. Live Below Your Means

    To live below your means is the knot that ties the bow to the previous two goals.

    Just because you earn a certain amount of money doesn’t mean that you should spend that amount. Living below your means is spending less overall than what you earn, and it ties back to the preciousness of time.

    Trying to fund a specific lifestyle to impress others is not only exhausting but costs both time and money.

    Spend less and you will gain much more than money. You will gain time to get after all of the other amazing things in life, including some of these new goals that you have set yourself.

    Final Thoughts

    With all of this information on the various goals in life that you can pursue for greater personal success, I hope that you feel a little less stuck and a little more inspired than when you first stumbled across this article.

    As mentioned in the introduction, these goals are something that you can work at forever. Because the path is so long, don’t be disheartened by all of the bumps and jerks that will inevitably arrive in the journey. This is just part of the process.

    You don’t have to wait to begin any of these goals. You can begin working on any and all of them today. Take Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination now and learn what you can do to start working toward your goals in life.

    Tips for Achieving Your Goals in Life

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

    Reference

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