Achieve Control of Your Life by Celebrating Small Successes
If you want to gain control of your life, you need to celebrate success. But you don’t need to focus on huge successes. You need to watch out for the small successes. When you attain these, you’re on the track to bigger successes.
Not celebrating the small successes is one reason why people end up stuck. They keep looking at the big picture and forget to see all that they’ve achieved so far. It’s kind of like not being able to see the forest for the trees – you have to look at the smaller details.
The Brain Science Behind Celebrating Small Successes
Your brain has reward pathways. When you do something enjoyable, your brain releases dopamine. So you feel good when you celebrate the small successes. You get a rush of pleasure from the dopamine.
This leads to behavioral repetition. In other words, celebrating success leads to more success, which leads to more celebration. That’s because when you’re doing something that pleases you and you feel that pleasure reward, it gives your brain a positive reinforcement that this action is good.
Here’s what’s important about small successes. You should celebrate them even if you’re in the middle of having a problem reaching your goal. Even if you’re going to have to begin again.
Because the successes you have aren’t negated by the problems or the times when you veer off the path. Say that you set a goal to have a task 75% completed by the end of the month.
But things have happened that have derailed your efforts. You still kept plugging away as hard as you could, but by the end of the month, you accomplished 25% of your task. You should celebrate that 25% because you still worked hard, and you still made progress.
The small step is worth rewarding yourself with that celebration. Don’t look at the 25% as a loss. Look at it as a partial win. Because that’s what it is. You want to do this to retrain your brain to think of every step you take as being worthy of acknowledgement.
When you celebrate small successes as you head toward your bigger goal, it helps to make the journey easier for you mentally. This can help keep you from feeling like you’re ready to quit.
It can also help to keep you from experiencing frustration, anxiety and feeling like the end result is just too far in the future. Celebrating small successes not only keeps you from quitting on your journey, but it also keeps you from quitting on others who might be on the journey with you.
It teaches you to have patience and to see how hard your teammates or partners have worked to help you reach your goals. When you celebrate small victories, you train your brain to have a success mindset.
This changes your brain’s subconscious from, “I will be successful” to, “I am successful.” And your brain always acts on what it believes to be true. Taking your long-term success goal and creating smaller ones is the first step that you want to take and there’s a good reason why you want to break down your big goals.
Break Your Big Successes into Smaller Ones
Big goals look overwhelming. They’re big and scary and can look so far out of your league that you’re afraid to even get started. Big goals look time consuming because they’re in the future rather than the here and now and they take longer to achieve.
So, it’s easy for discouragement to take root. When you see the big picture that has to be completed, it can cause some people to rethink what they’re planning on doing. It can even take away their confidence that they’re doing the right thing for their lives.
But when you have mini goals that you achieve, it helps you to feel confident. And the more mini goals that you get under your belt, the more confidence you gain. Think of the long-term goals that you have - but think of the mini goals as the steps that lead you to getting there.
These baby steps are not only physical action steps, but they’re strategy, mental and emotional steps as well. The more that you accomplish, the more you feel motivated to keep going.
Breaking down the overall picture into small steps is easy. For example, if you decide that you want to start a dog grooming business, you would need to take care of the little goals to get there first - such as finding a location if it’s going to be based in a building or buying a van if you’re going into mobile grooming.
Once you secured that, then you would buy the equipment that you needed to get started and then all the other small goals that would feed into the day that you could then open for business.
The reason that you want to focus on accomplishing and celebrating the small successes is because it can lead your mental determination to become solidified. Everyone has doubts about change.
It’s human nature. But when you can see that change slowly taking shape, it does a couple of things. It lets your mind minimize the fear of risk and it shores up your determination.
So what you want to do is to create a plan for what you have to do in order to go from where you are now to where you want to be. Then write down everything that you’re going to have to accomplish.
Then break those down into what you have to accomplish by month. Then by week, then by day. Turn your focus to what has to be done today. Get that finished. When you do, celebrate that.
You’ve taken an action step that’s brought you closer to your achievement. Remember that each step is a big deal. If all you do is order business cards, then celebrate that. If your goal is something like losing weight and all you’ve done for the day is to go out and buy some good workout clothes, then celebrate that.
Frequent Success Celebrations
One thing about making inroads with success is that you have to do it often. Being more frequent with your goals is important. For example, if you’re trying to build an online business that’s geared toward motivating people, you wouldn’t write up all your site’s blog posts and then put them all on your site at once.
If you did that, you wouldn’t have fresh content on a more frequent basis and you also wouldn’t see your achievements continually unfold. It’s easy to get discouraged during the down times - those days when you aren’t doing anything to work toward a goal so you have nothing to celebrate.
Whatever goal that you have, it’s important that you keep it in front of you. That you do something every day to work on that goal. Even if all you do is read an article or a report that’s geared toward helping you reach your big picture goal.
You want to be able to look back over your day and feel that sense of getting things done. Think about how you feel when you get to the end of the day and you haven’t done anything to celebrate your success.
Doing several things every day is better because you can see yourself making progress and that helps keep you motivated because you continually have something to celebrate.
Plus, when you celebrate your small successes every single time they happen, you get a surge of the feel-good hormones. This not only gives you a boost physically, but it acts as a positive reinforcement.
That way, if something happens later that day or later in the week that’s a setback, you’ll have that positive achievement and the associated feelings and thoughts - something to look back on to remind yourself that your goals are achievable and that you are making progress.
When you don’t celebrate the many small successes, what’s going on inside your mind is that you’re teaching yourself that these accomplishments aren’t good enough to celebrate.
That can make you start to feel like what you’re doing is a chore rather than something that’s important that’s leading to your big goal. You need to feel like each small success is equally as important as your overall goal is.
This helps you stay the course and treat each task with the focus and diligence that can make sure you get what you want out of life. It can also help if you keep track of all the many small successes that you’ve accomplished and celebrated.
Because when you get to the end of your plan and get what you want, you’ll be able to look back and see everything as a whole that you’ve done. You’ll see all the action steps, all the hard work and how you didn’t quit.
Progress Is More Important Than Speed
Though it sounds strange, it’s more important for you to take the time to celebrate the small successes than it is for you to zip along toward your goal quickly. You might be someone who doesn’t want to take the time to celebrate the small achievements, but that would be a mistake.
Because the journey and what you’re doing along the way is more valuable to you than how fast you reach your goal. What happens when you don’t celebrate is that you forget that what you’re doing is supposed to be fun!
It’s supposed to be something that you want, something that moves you to make a change in your life and delivers personal satisfaction. It’s not supposed to be a race to the finish line.
You might reach your big goal a lot faster, but you will lose along the way. People who rush to whatever it is that they want to see happen miss out on the celebration. They miss out on the joy of accomplishing things because they dismiss those small successes as unimportant or as a means to an end.
The path that you’re on is more important that the time that it takes you to get there. Celebrating small successes by breaking down your goals into mini goals creates confidence.
It helps you grow and stop always looking at what you haven’t done - or toward how far you have to go to reach the end result. Instead, celebrating helps you look at what you’ve already achieved.
Setting small goals that you can accomplish every day will actually help you succeed better than trying to chip away at a large goal. Because with each step you take, you gain that belief in yourself.
Maybe your goal is in the area of personal finance. You’ve looked over your financial picture and it’s not pretty. Your debts outweigh your assets and you’ve decided that the time is right to do something about it.
You start with your credit card debt. Maybe you’re $30,000 in credit card debt. If you look at trying to pay off that amount of money as a whole goal, then it would easily look overwhelming and unachievable.
However, if you break it down into small, actionable goals, you’ll be able to tackle that debt a lot easier. So instead of looking at all the debt, you look at how it’s all totaled. One credit card has $10,000 in debt, another has $15,000 and the last one has $5,000.
What you would do is continue to pay the monthly payment as usual on the two higher ones. You set your goal on paying off the $5,000 because that goal is smaller. You pay extra faithfully and any lump sums of money that you get, you tackle that smaller debt.
When it’s paid off, having reached that goal will boost your confidence level that you can get rid of the rest of the debt. Confidence is like a snowball. It will get bigger and pick up speed when you get on a roll.
Forget Perfection with the Small Successes
One big thing that keeps people from reaching both small and big goals is that perfection mindset. You may have heard the phrase that anything doing is worth doing right.
That’s correct, but right isn’t the same as not having flaws. And though it might surprise you to hear, every goal that you set is going to be flawed. Because though you have control to set the goals and to celebrate the successes, you don’t have control over external factors.
This means that you’re always going to end up accomplishing your goals but they won’t be perfect. Because you’re not perfect and life isn’t perfect. But you need to learn this: if your goal isn’t perfectly executed, that’s okay.
If you had to patchwork your goal together to get success, that’s okay, too. When you set goals, you have to leave room to be kind to yourself. No one sets out to make mistakes, but it happens.
Say your goal is to lose 50 pounds. You lose 30 of it on the way toward your goal, but then you gain 10 of that back. So what? Don’t focus on the steps that led to the regain. Focus on the success that led to the 20 pounds that you’ve kept off.
Celebrate that loss. It’s still a loss - still a success despite the weight you put back on. It’s still a step in the right direction. When you celebrate each step you take in the right direction, it breeds confidence that while you’re not there yet, you’re on the way.
You have to forget the mindset that your goals should be easy, should happen overnight and should be carried out without fear. Despite the popular belief, there’s no such thing as an overnight success.
That’s a perfection mindset. Reaching your goal takes a lot of hard work, forces you to endure some setbacks and makes you learn how to keep on going through the ups and downs to get to that big goal.
When you set mini goals and you celebrate those successes, you’re creating momentum. This moves you forward along the way toward your goal, but it also moves you forward in confidence.
Progress boosts your confidence so it’s a continual cycle. And the more progress you make, the stronger your determination to get where you want to go becomes. Reaching your mini goals creates the perception of big progress in your brain regardless of how much further you still have to go.
Then when you see what you’ve accomplished, you feel motivated. When you feel motivated, you make more progress on those mini goals. It’s a beautiful cycle of progress that helps lift you to your ultimate level of success.
As you embark on your journey to make changes in certain areas of your life, know that no one has a perfect path – a straight line that gets them from point A to point B. Everyone, even the most successful people, have had to endure obstacles and battle bouts of self-doubt.
Work on your confidence as much as you do your strategic planning and actionable tasks – because it truly can have a large impact on what you can (or can’t) achieve with your efforts.