As we start a new year, it’s not uncommon for us to be making big plans, setting goals, or making resolutions (you know how I feel about resolutions…), but I digress.
In making these plans and goals, don’t lose sight of the little wins along the way. You know, those things that happen every day, you check them off the list, and you keep on going.
These are the little triumphs in our lives, the small building blocks that take us to the next level and keep us moving every day.
They aren’t fun, they aren’t sexy, and some think they aren’t even important, but to a person that hasn’t done them, or can’t do them, they are a pretty big deal. You should feel the same way.
When we get in the trenches of our lives, particularly as parents and caregivers, it’s easy to pay little or no attention to the routine things we do every day that are in fact little milestones and victories in disguise. In the end, if not given their proper due, these are the same things that ultimately sidetrack us and bring us down, make us second guess ourselves, and cause stress that later pulls us under. However, they are really our little allies.
So, what does a "win" look like for you?
It’s easy to focus on the big wins, the new job, a new car, running your personal best, or losing weight, but what happens in between?
For a lot of folks, if they are not achieving, basking in praise or, even getting on to the next new thing, worry and self-doubt and set in. They feel like they have lost momentum, and something must be wrong.
Nothing’s wrong. We’re just not built to be “on” twenty-four hours a day seven days a week and that’s the trap many fall into. When the big wins are few and far between, we can feel like we are letting ourselves and others down.
The reality is, there will be time between one promotion and the next. The new car will likely get a ding in the door in the grocery store parking lot, we’ll come in second in the next race, and that extra slice of pizza will add a pound to the scale. But all is not lost.
Living in a place of balance provides you with a more realistic outlook, one where our little allies are what keep us in the game.
By focusing on the little daily wins, we stay engaged in our lives and know that we can keep going until the next big test presents itself.
The little “wins” don’t look like a lot but boy are they important! They could look something like this:
Got to work on time
Finished a project early
Gave credit to a co-worker for their role in a project
Ordered the salmon salad at a working lunch and not a burger
Did chair Pilates during your conference call
Held your tongue in a meeting (yeah, I said it!)
Applied for that new job
Didn’t lose your temper or yell at your kids
Cooked at home and didn’t order out
Finished and folded the laundry
Picked up and sorted through the mail
Cleaned the house
Said "no" when asked to do something you had no interest in doing
Took a walk instead of watching another rerun of “Friends”
These may not seem like much to you, but these are all the things that keep your life moving in that positive direction. Handled differently, they could all go another way.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s the routine tasks and actions of daily living that often bog us down and if your mindset looks at them as something negative, you’re not likely to see the “win” in them, or anything else for that matter.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not my intention to celebrate mediocrity, that benefits no one. My intention is to level the playing field in the hopes of not raising it so high you don’t even try.
Because there are those for whom the list above is quite challenging. If you’re one of those people, it’s a struggle. There may be days and circumstances where just getting out of bed or taking a shower are to be celebrated, and that’s okay. That's your win.
If stacking up the little wins where you fear there may be none gives you some hope, it’s all worth it. It’s not about motivation, it’s about action.
Action leads to results that you can feel or see.
Those results create motivation.
You can’t be motivated without action so everything counts.
Don’t discount the small things.
Embrace and celebrate the “little” wins.
As parents and caregivers, we don’t often give ourselves enough credit or celebrate the little victories in our daily lives because we feel like it’s part of the job. Or we’re quick to point out all the things we didn’t do or who’s doing it better when it’s just not true.
Again, don’t discount your efforts or fall into the trap of comparison. No one can do what you are doing for your family members, friends, and colleagues. You bring something special to the mix that only you can provide.
It’s time to stop, pay attention, and give credit where credit is due. You’re winning every day.
If you’re having difficulty cutting through the noise of constant responsibilities, demands, and comparison and are unable to embrace the little victories in your life, I invite you to book a call with me. Together, we can work on the obstacles that stand in the way of celebrating your “wins.”
Take care and be well,
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