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Whether you’re trying to create better habits or going after a big goal, celebrating small victories can’t be underestimated.
A small wins strategy should be an important part of your long-term success.
Small wins keep you moving towards your goal
Small steps are points along the way to your goal. They’re like road markers that let you know you’re on track.
If your goal is to get out of debt and you owe $30,000, it can be overwhelming to look at. Your resolve weakens and you wonder if you can do it.
The power of celebrating small wins is that it reinforces that you’re accomplishing something. If you focus too much on the bigger goals, it’s easy to start feeling feel like you’ll never get there. That’s why small steps and small wins are so powerful. They motivate us to keep going and each win brings us closer to our eventual goal.
Why you can’t wait for the big win to celebrate
What is your first thought when you make a mistake?
Do you feel bad about it? Maybe even beat yourself up over it?
I can’t believe I did that! What was I thinking?
Beating yourself up seems like a natural response to anything that goes wrong. You don’t have any problem judging and mentally punishing yourself.
What is your first thought when you reach a small goal or complete a small step?
You promised yourself that you’d stop buying expensive Starbucks lattes, drink coffee at the office instead, and put the $5 daily savings towards paying off your credit card. At the end of the week, you have $25 to pay your credit card company.
How do you feel about that small win?
If you give it any thought, it’s likely to be that you only saved $25, a drop in the bucket for your $5,000 credit card balance.
But celebrating small wins means that the $25 this week and the $25 next week, and the weeks after will pay down $1,300 over a year.
One small step. One cup of coffee a day.
What if you also brought lunch from home three days a week instead of paying $10 for a deli sandwich, chips, and a soda?
You’d probably be eating a more healthy lunch, using up leftovers that would have been wasted, and saved nearly $1,500.
The power of small wins adds up to big changes over time.
The reason you need to celebrate the small wins is that acknowledging your commitment and success of your tasks will motivate you to keep working hard to achieve your long-term goals.
You are probably the only one who will see the small wins
No one is likely to notice your $5 a day coffee switch. And for sure, no one will see you pocket the $ 25-week savings.
The power of small wins might be something only you can see.
So no one is going to buy you a cake, congratulate you on Facebook or take you out for drinks after work.
But you know.
Celebrating small victories should be part of your overall goal strategy.
You don’t need a crowd to celebrate the small steps you take each day on the path to your big dream.
You only need to recognize your accomplishment every time you get those small wins.
Rewards reinforce your understanding and commitment to your goals
It’s easy for your goals to get lost in the day-to-day busy of your life.
How much is that darned latte going to matter anyway? What’s $5 in the big scheme of things?
But then you hit the end of the week and you check off your little accountability box in your planner. Saved fancy coffee money all week, check!
And you can pat yourself on the back and remember why you’re doing it.
Just don’t reward yourself with a Starbuck’s latte because … you know.
If saving money or paying off debt is your long-term goal, find some free rewards to treat yourself with. An hour to yourself at the end of a long day, reading in the tub and just enjoying your accomplishment will feel as luxurious as any costly reward.
Always remember that every small win, and the reward that comes with it, speeds you along the path towards the big goal at the end of the rainbow.
Rewards motivate you to keep up the behavior
Imagine you’re on a diet.
Now imagine that every time you order the salad instead of the lasagna, someone magically appears to give you a mini beauty treatment while you wait for your meal.
Buff up that manicure, massage the stress out of your shoulders, give you a drybar blowout.
Boy! Is that salad looking great or what?
Rewards make you want to repeat the behavior that earned the reward.
It’s like a beautiful circle. Action-reward-action-reward.
Rewards mark the good behavior and motivate you to do it again. For more rewards!
How easy is that for behavior modification?
Set your reward early. Make it a promise.
There’s an extra step to having a reward system to celebrate small victories.
If you want to make rewards even more motivating, decide on them before you begin to work on your steps.
Sure, you can work hard all week or all month and then say “You know what? What I really want for a reward is a day trip to the beach!”
Not a thing wrong with that.
But if you write down that reward before you even begin working on the steps you’ll have to do to earn it … you’ll have added the elements of anticipation and competition to motivate yourself even more.
All week long, you can be thinking about the picnic you’ll want to pack for your beach trip. Red or white wine? Brie or cheddar?
You can do a little research to discover that hard-to-reach beach that’s almost always empty. How romantic!
You can arrange for your mom to watch the kids so the beach trip becomes a romantic day together with your hubby.
Anticipation makes the reward that much sweeter and keeps you on track because you can see it just ahead.
The power of small wins, and celebrating them, isn’t about big accomplishments.
Though you heard it here first, you should plan for a big reward for your big accomplishments!
The power of celebrating small victories lies in marking the fact that you’re changing your habits, week by week. It’s celebrating who you’re becoming, and it’s reinforcing the good behavior and developing a pattern of progress and success.
What’s YOUR small victory this week? How did you celebrate it? Share in the comments!
Don’t forget to download The Goal Hacks Guide, free when you join the Plotting A New Course community.