Small wins pay off big. Social scientists and business experts agree that modest victories can provide MAJOR inspiration.
You may have heard of the progress principle. Researchers at Harvard Business School conducted a multi-year study of what makes employees happy and productive. They found that daily progress on meaningful work was the most powerful factor by far.
Take a look at the general principles behind this foolproof formula for success, along with practical examples about how you can apply a small wins strategy to your life.
General Principles Behind Small Wins
- Keep a journal. Writing in a journal will help you recognize and celebrate tiny milestones that you might otherwise overlook. You’ll also be able to track your progress and understand the conditions that affect your performance.
- Create catalysts. According to the Harvard team, there are two kinds of actions that encourage small wins. The first, catalysts, are related to how you work. Set clear goals, budget your time and resources, and practice open communication with others.
- Seek nourishers. The second kind of action is called nourishers, and refers to interpersonal support. Surround yourself with friends and colleagues who provide validation and constructive feedback. Participate in groups that share your interests, whether it’s a faith community or professional association.
- Set intermediate goals. Lofty goals can be overwhelming. Break any project down into the tiniest of tasks and track them visually. You’ll feel invigorated each time you check something off your to-do list. Marking items off a list is one of my favorite things!
Practical Examples of Small Wins Strategies
- Eat more vegetables. Sticking to a healthy diet may be easier than you think when you focus on only one change at a time. Work your way up to several servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Mix spinach in your eggs at breakfast. Snack on baby carrots and hummus. Baby steps!
- Cut down on sugar. If you like sweetened coffee, use half your usual amount of sugar. The savings will add up.
- Go to bed on time. Adequate sleep keeps your body and mind in tip-top condition. You’ll most certainly accomplish more when you discipline yourself to go to bed on time – even on weekends (at least don’t be too far off). You’ll start to wake up more refreshed and wonder why you didn’t start this earlier.
- Exercise for only 10 minutes. Tired of saying you don’t have time to exercise and get movement into your day? I trick myself with the ’10 minute exercise’ game all the time. I tell myself I’ll only walk for 10 minutes but once I get started, I have the energy to keep going and before I know it, I’ve done 30 minutes! #TinyWinTurnedIntoBigWin ☺
- Practice a little bit at a time. Maybe you’d like to learn Spanish (or in my case relearn it), but your busy schedule gets in the way. Try practicing just 5 vocab words or phrases a day.
- Extend your network. Whatever you do for a living, networking and building relationships are essential. Introduce yourself to one new contact or reconnect with one former colleague each week.
- Dazzle a customer. If you’re in business for yourself, nurturing your customers and clients are more important than anything else – more so than attracting new clients. Take one customer or client a week and share something valuable with them, ask if they need assistance in the area you are an expertise in, or simply send a handwritten thank you card. This allows you to continue building trust and let them know you care about what they have going on as well.
- Nurture the growth of a child. Take 2 minutes and give a child your full attention to tell them how proud you are of them, or empathize with something they’re going through, or simply tell them how you feel about them. Furthermore, take another 2-5 minutes and let them talk to you. Don’t interrupt; just listen.
- Surprise your significant other. Maintaining relationships can be challenging but little things help foster a closer connection. Brighten your partner’s day with a fun surprise. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive. Take out the garbage when it’s their turn. Put a love note in their bag or pick up a carton of their favorite snack on your way home from work.
Over to you…
Grand visions are the sum of many small wins that help you translate your dreams and goals into action. Taking a small step forward each day will bring you the success and happiness you’re hungry for!
Do you celebrate your small wins? How? Chime in below!