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The Little Successes Do Add Up

The Little Successes Do Add Up

    When you look at a set of building blocks, you might notice that each block on its own does not really amount to much.

    But when a whole bunch of building blocks are put together, suddenly they form something much more interesting and significant. This is the same with what happens to our own lives as well.

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    Too often, we all get a little down if we feel that we have not achieved any of our big goals we set for ourselves. We may see our lives filled with failures. But in reality, we probably have achieved much more than we thought. So to help you realize this more, I have an exercise that helps you put things into much better perspective.

    An Exercise to Bring Out Your Little Successes

    It involves taking a look at all areas of your life during the past year — or any other time period you want to consider. Look at everything from:

    • Your health
    • Your career
    • What is happening in your home life
    • What hobbies you participated in during this time period
    • Essentially…pretty much everything

    Now write down on a piece of paper all the successes that you had in all areas of your life — not just the financial ones or those connected to your career — which are often the first ones many people think about. Write down all little successes, no matter how insignificant they might seem at first. This is very important as you will see.

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    It might take some time to come up with a list of successes…especially the little ones that you might not even realize right away.

    Some Examples of Little Successes

    Just to give you some examples, here are some of the successes of various scales that I came up with for myself in the last couple of months.

    • Presented some talks to interesting audiences including a military base
    • Launched an instructional program on dog litter box training
    • Got the weights of both of my dogs down to acceptable healthy levels
    • Kept up my martial arts routines for fun and fitness
    • Minimized eating out for lunch and coffees
    • Got back all the guitar playing skills I previously had years ago
    • Had another great annual medical check up with my doctor
    • Developed new keynote for business sales audiences
    • Improved my short radius turns in snow skiing
    • Became a regular contributor to Lifehack
    • Finally got a new car to replace my dying 1997 Eagle Talon

    Acknowledge Little Successes

    What you will find after such an exercise is that you probably took a lot of your little achievements for granted. When you do acknowledge them, these little successes really do add up.

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    Take my little success of minimizing eating out. Each lunch or coffee on its own doesn’t amount to much but if you consider cutting down such expenses over six months or an entire year, the savings can be quite significant.

    This would be the same for people who want to lose weight. Losing one to three pounds per week might not seem a lot, but doing this consistently over time will result in a big and healthy weight loss success. The little drops in weight each week certainly add up.

    Conclusion

    We should never forget about our past successes no matter how small they initially seem. This exercise will hopefully shows that you perhaps did not do as bad as you think you did. Again, this really gives you a different perspective on things.

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    It also shows which areas you may have to work on for better balance of the different areas of your life.  You can then build upon these little successes for the goals (or New Year resolutions) you set for this year.

    Feel free to share below some of the little successes you had that you may have forgotten about.

    (Photo credit: Building Blocks via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2019

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

    In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

    These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

    1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

    Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

    But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

    Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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    2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

    You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

    The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

    3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

    If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

    Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

    If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

    4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

    Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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    To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

    In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

    5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

    We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

    If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

    Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

    6. Give for the Joy of Giving

    When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

    One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

    So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

    7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

    Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

    Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

    8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

    When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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    So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

    9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

    Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

    It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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    Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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