Celebrate the small stuff

Small wins are mile markers for life’s progress
A lot of us are good at celebrating big events. Milestones like birthdays, graduations, new jobs and anniversaries are undeniably celebration-worthy. They often symbolize happy progress and can serve as tangible indicators that we’re making progress toward our goals or even that we are succeeding in life.But it may surprise you to learn that celebrating everyday achievements – no matter how small – can help boost our mood, increase our self-confidence, and propel us toward new goals of all kinds.

BJ Fogg, a social scientist and founder of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford, says behavior change occurs between the milestones when we are taking one small step at a time. The author of Tiny Habits, Fogg says an essential piece of his behavior change theory is that we should celebrate small wins so that our brain links our efforts with positive feelings.

Here’s the thing: Our brains recognize and respond to rewards of any size. According to research published in Harvard Business Review, people who kept diaries to track their small achievements during their work day felt more motivated.

Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer analyzed nearly 12,000 diary entries from 238 employees across seven companies. They learned the simple act of recording progress in some way helps to boost self-confidence and facilitates future successes.

“At least in the realm of knowledge work, people are more creative and productive when their inner work lives are positive – when they feel happy, are motivated by the work itself, and have positive perceptions of their colleagues and the organization,” the researchers learned.

Celebrating small wins outside of our job works the same way.

When we celebrate our accomplishments, it activates the reward center in our brains. Specifically, a little surge of dopamine is released, which gives us a burst of feel-good emotions. This chemical helps us experience the feeling of satisfaction, and can motivate us to want to achieve even more.

Not sure where to find little things to celebrate? You can start by congratulating yourself! You’re doing something productive right now. You could be doom-scrolling, but you’re here creating brighter days. Think about a task you wanted to check off your to-do list. Maybe you wanted to clear emails from your inbox. Then you do that. It’s time for a pat on the back.

If you have a tendency to procrastinate, the small stuff can feel too insignificant to care about. But celebrating the small stuff is about reminding yourself that progress can be made in increments. That’s very helpful when life is busy and your to-do list feels insurmountable.

Psychologist Timothy Pychyl specializes in the study of procrastination. He says noticing little actions can create forward momentum and is something you can practice.

“Progress on our goals makes us feel happier and more satisfied with life,” says Pychyl in Psychology Today. It boosts well-being. Those positive feelings contribute to the motivation to act, creating a positive chain reaction, and lead to bigger developments later on.

Small wins stack up. Pychyl says, “This is a win-win situation if we can just get started.”

“The more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey

Think small: How to celebrate the tiny stuff

Life is a pathway, more than a destination. Small victories are like mile markers of progress. Giving a nod to life’s little triumphs is a great way to fire off some happy vibes, and that helps us repeat behaviors. From Talkspace, an online therapy platform, comes a list of small-win opportunities to get you started. To set off the positive domino effect, try one of these simple exercises each day.

  1. Straighten up your bed before you leave the house When you complete this simple task, admire your work for a nice burst of dopamine first thing in the morning. This sparks the initial feeling of accomplishment, which is carried throughout the day.
  2. Will it take less than two minutes? Check it off now When you can find any small task that feels good to get done, do it and then celebrate. You can start now by crossing off any task you can successfully complete in two minutes. Write it down, do it, and cross it off just for fun. This basic act can help build momentum and propel you forward to accomplish much larger tasks later on. The other positive is getting that surge of dopamine each time something is crossed off your list, no matter how minor.
  3. Take time to daydream Taking time to reflect is linked with your emotional well-being. This can help you come up with creative ideas and consolidate memories. As long as the reflection is constructive, it is a small way to have a positive impact on your mood.
  4. Improve your posture It only takes a moment, but straightening your posture throughout the day can help you feel present and accomplished, whether you are seated at your desk or on the move.

Each time you set a small goal like the ones listed above, take the time to pause and celebrate when you actually achieve one. You may want to consider some light bragging to mark the achievement, to help reflect on how far you’ve come from the start of a project. If you have a friend or someone you know who’d share in your feelings of success, invite them to give you a thumbs up.

Source: Talkspace

Small successes are all around you if you know how to appreciate them

Successful humans are all around us, and you won’t necessarily find them by looking for people with a lofty degree, a hefty bank account, or a fancy house. Turns out, the practice of celebrating everyday small wins can spark momentum. It releases a little dopamine too, which can boost your mood, spark inspiration, and increase your ability to notice even more positive things. It can also boost self-confidence and motivate you to repeat the activity, which in turn, creates a positive mental cycle.

Take a moment and give yourself credit for the positive ways you contribute to the world. Here are some things you may already do that you can celebrate right now.

  • Show a child, through actions, how to be a good person.
  • Take care of someone’s physical and emotional needs.
  • Find joy in your work regardless of your success.
  • Honor a promise that you made, even if it was difficult.
  • Trust your inner voice and believe in your potential.
  • Create a positive environment that nurtures those around you.

Source: Tiny Buddha

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