Who among you has not felt frustrated by stalled progress on your dreams, and the seemingly endless flow of tasks to complete?
I firmly believe that we make real progress in our lives when we don’t just look to huge wins and the realization of ambitious goals as success, but rather celebrate the small ways that we make meaning, add value and enjoy our lives on a daily basis.
This month’s ezine article tackles this topic, and encourages you to applaud your small wins so that you create a general positive forward momentum in your life instead of berating yourself because you aren’t making the progress you desire on big projects.
As an example, I found insight and growth from the following tasks this weekend that some of you might consider terribly mundane:
- Completing 5 loads of laundry without complaining or leaving a load to mold in the washer because I was too lazy to throw it in the dryer.
Takeaway: If I don’t spend hours obsessing over why I detest a task so much and just start doing it, it will be over before I know it and I will feel great that it is taken care of.
- Surviving a day of at least thirteen two-year old toddler meltdowns involving varying degrees of screaming, tears, flailing limbs and heartbreaking expressions, all while keeping my cool and only resorting to bribery by candy once.
Takeaway: Deal with conflict and anger in a calm, patient way and call in reinforcements when it gets to be too much. Maintain a sense of humor in the face of adversity and stay centered on the long-term benefit of the conflict.
- Cleaning up my desk and inbox and organizing my projects into folders.
Takeaway: When work becomes overwhelming, stop, clean up, organize and prioritize. Clutter in your environment contributes to clutter in your brain.
By focusing on little wins and seeing the lessons in everyday tasks, you will cultivate an attitude of growth and gratitude that will make your life more interesting, energized and pleasant.
Most importantly, you won’t waste your valuable emotional energy beating yourself up and can get moving on making progress on your goals.
The full article is here.
How do you celebrate the small wins? Do you think it makes a difference, or do you find that tough self love clobbers you into high gear?
I also try to stick to a system of tasks followed by rewards, which I find very helpful and uplifting, but I’d like to add that knowing WHEN to do difficult tasks has been one of my main weapons against letting things pile up. For example, we all have different energetic patterns, but most people are most energetic and productive between their waking hours and noon. I’ve found that is completely true for me. By doing the most difficult task first thing in the morning (and guarding my mornings jealously from any distractions or other commitments) I find I am able to be amazingly productive and it is less painful to do those difficult tasks.
Thank you, that was a wonderful article and so perfect. Those little niggling comments about not having done enough certainly lower the energy level. Here’s a big celebration and win, I did manage to trim my inbox down from 800 messages to 7, and that will be 0 in a few minutes. Yay!
I recently started keeping a daily gratitude list. The last thing I do before going to sleep is write a full page of all the things I am grateful for. My list includes exactly the kinds of little things that you are talking about — did laundry, filed papers, made that call I have been dreading — in addition to the big things — my son called to tell me that he loves me, I landed that big project I’ve been working on for six months. My gratitude list has really opened my mind and heart and shifted my point of view. Even on days when I feel like I haven’t done much of anything, I fill a whole page. It’s really uplifting to remind myself that I am moving forward every day. The acknowledgment motivates me to take the next small step with enthusiasm and to realize that good things really do come in small packages.
This is wild. I wrote a really similar post today about this. (I call mine baby steps. But it’s the same basic idea.) So here’s my small win: I’ve been learning how to invest my Roth IRA money. Reading, studying, etc. And yesterday I was SO TEMPTED to break the rules I’m learning, and invest emotionally. (Read: NOT GOOD.) And I didn’t do it. I held my ground and stuck with what my “tools” were saying. And last night I looked at my husband and said, “I’m so proud of myself for not giving into that temptation to get all emotional!” And we had a little celebration at dinner for my small victory. This kind of thing is really important to do! (Sorry for the uber-comment here. Clearly I was happy with your post.)
People need reward. It makes us feel good. It gives us the motivation to continue on the journey towards success.
I often mentor people to set a big goal and then map out the short term goals along the way.
To lose 20lbs focus on the next 5.
During a 1 hour workout focus on the next 5 minutes.
Business is no different. In fact this is true with pretty much everything in life.
Keep yourself high on short term success and reward. Before you know it, you will blow by your long term dream.