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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 June 19, 2019

    How to Invest in Yourself: 3 Valuable Ways to Change Your Life

    How to Invest in Yourself: 3 Valuable Ways to Change Your Life

    Investing in yourself may be the most profitable investment you ever make. It yields not only future returns, but often a current pay-off as well.

    The surest way to achieve a better quality life, to be successful, productive, and satisfied is to place a priority on investing in both personal and professional growth. The effort you put into consistently investing in yourself plays a large role in determining the quality of your life now and in the future.

    1. Develop Your Skills

    Improving your skills doesn’t always mean investing in higher education, though that’s surely an option, and perhaps a necessary one depending upon your career field. Investing in your knowledge and skills can take many forms.

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    In addition, expanding your level of knowledge and skill isn’t limited to the business arena and doesn’t necessarily need to be formal. There are many “skill investment” avenues.

    • Advance your education –  extra classes, advanced degrees, relevant certifications, are all valuable investments. Take classes, either in person or online. (Lifehack also offers this Masterclass that helps you to break free from limitations.)
    • Utilize available training – enroll in workshops, attend conferences or participate in webinars.
    • Expand your knowledge – there’s a lot of information available on nearly any subject imaginable. Read books, articles, white papers, anything related to the talent or skill you want to work on.
    • Keep current – stay abreast of the latest trends or advancements. Subscribe to publications, read blogs of experts, and follow the latest news.

    2. Explore Your Creative Side

    There is a fountain of creativity within most of us that has never been tapped or certainly hasn’t been used to its highest potential. We may need to unearth, and hone our individual creativity.

    Creativity, in any form, helps us to grow personally and professionally, to view problems and solutions in different ways and to utilize other parts of our mind that may have been previously untapped. It’s important to keep in mind that creativity has many faces. It’s far broader than being a painter or sculptor; it’s also about trying new things.

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    • Learn a new language –  take a class or use language training software.
    • Try gourmet cooking – enroll in a formal class, by a new cookbook, or ask someone you know who enjoys cooking in a different way.
    • Write something – a book, short stories, poetry, anything.
    • Explore the outside world – try gardening, bird watching, or landscape photography.
    • Enjoy music – play an instrument, learn a new one or join a music group of some kind.
    • Create something tangible – paint, sculpt, make pottery, make jewelry or design your own clothes.

    Choose some form of activity that you have never tried, haven’t practiced in years, or have never explored fully.

    3. Nurture Your Mind and Body

    Nurturing both your mind and body allows you to have more to give now and in the future — more energy, more knowledge, more compassion, more ideas, greater strength, physical and mental endurance.

    Expand your mind. Learning new things and keeping your mind active even in simple ways helps to grow and maintain your mental ability.

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    • Read – anything and everything.
    • Explore culture – attend performances, listen to different style of music, travel, or join an organization or group comprised of people from different backgrounds.
    • Open your mind – engage in conversations with those who disagree with you. Look at an argument and try to make a case for the opposing point of view.
    • Keep your mind active – play word games, (yes, even Words with Friends counts,) board games that include strategy, or try using your brain to perform simple calculations rather than relying on a calculator.

    Care for your body. Your body is like a well-oiled machine. If you care for it in the way that you might maintain an expensive car, it will perform marvelously and last for a very long time. Remember the basics:

    • Give it high quality fuel – meaning to make healthy food choices as often as possible. What you eat does play a large role in your energy and ability to perform. You truly are what you eat.
    • Don’t push it too hard – meaning to rest and relax often, slow down and don’t overload your system. Also, don’t shift gears too quickly; it causes stress and damage to “your machine,” A.K.A. your body.
    • Get regular and necessary maintenance – meaning to go to the doctor when you’re sick – don’t put it off until you totally break down. Better yet, use preventative maintenance; get check-ups, take appropriate vitamins and pay attention to irregular or erratic behavior.
    • Polish the exterior – meaning to take care of the outside too. Many people dismiss this as frivolous and self-indulgent, but it’s not as long as you don’t go overboard. We’re not talking about facelifts and Botox, we’re talking about getting a fabulous haircut, and wearing clothes that make you feel confident and attractive.

    The Bottom Line

    Investing in yourself truly makes a difference in your life, your well-being, and your ability to thrive and perform to the best of your ability. The extent to which you invest in yourself, mind and body, not only shapes the way you interact with the outside world, it often reflects the opinion you have of yourself.

    Your future is in large part determined by your willingness and ability to invest in yourself now.

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    Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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