It is easy to be so focused on our bigger goals that we lose sight of the progress we make towards them each day. But by making sure we celebrate the small victories, we increase our chances of reaching our larger goals, improve our self-confidence, and reduce the likelihood of giving up and giving in.
We often hear things like, “Shoot for the stars,” “Go big or go home,” and “You need to aim higher,” as if that were the only way to achieve our goals. But if we focus only on the final goal, we often overlook all the small wins that help us get closer to achieving that goal.
You Can’t Have Big Wins Without Small Wins
Big wins don’t come without a series of small wins leading up to them. You can’t wake up one morning and decide you’re going to run a marathon or play a musical instrument flawlessly. You may set a goal such as run a marathon a year from now, but unless you lay out small steps to take each day, you will never make it. For example, you could set a small goal of running or practicing your instrument for 15 minutes every day.
By breaking big goals down into tiny goals that build into a “bigger picture,” you will eventually experience your “big wins.”
Small Wins Significantly Increase Self Confidence
Studies show that the size of the win is not what matters when it comes to boosting self-confidence. Large or small, all wins activate the brain’s reward center, releasing dopamine and filling you with the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing something. However, it only works if we allow ourselves to view these small victories as something worth celebrating. If we allow ourselves to appreciate these small wins, we will encourage ourselves to keep putting one foot in front of the other and reduce our desire to quit.
Not Celebrating the Small Wins Can Burn You Out
If you constantly focus on your end goal only, you will burn out very quickly and feel like you’ve made no real progress. However, if you break your larger goals into a series of smaller steps, you can clearly see how far you’ve come and constantly celebrate your success in stages.
Without the small wins, it is incredibly easy to give up out of frustration or feel like your goal is so large that you will “never make it.” For example, writing an 80,000-word novel in one year may seem impossible now, but it may seem less so when you realize that that means you only have to write about 220 words per day.
Small wins really do matter. Thanks to them I was able to finish my book! I divided the whole book into chapters and celebrated every finished chapter as a small win. Without those small wins, I would have quickly lost the motivation to continue my progress toward my large goal.
It does not matter how big your wins are. All successes activate the reward center of the brain. When you get your dopamine reward, your brain wants to repeat that action and help you to move toward achieving your bigger goals.
You cannot wake up one morning and decide to do something big. However, you can wake up and decide that today, you will start moving toward your goals one step at a time.