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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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