Ever notice how easy it is to doubt yourself? Or how hard you can be on yourself when something doesn’t go quite right? Yet when something goes smoothly or even better than expected, many of us shy away from celebrating our accomplishments.
If you think about it, life is chock full of many seemingly small wins. It could be getting a workout in, making an excellent point during a tense meeting at work, or getting your kids out the door on time with minimal fuss. By contrast, the big wins tend to fall into place here and there. That’s because human beings are more likely to celebrate milestones such as earning a degree or a big promotion than small victories. It’s almost as if we’ve programmed ourselves to look at milestones as worth celebrating, and everything else just filler. The problem with that, experts say, is that we’re missing out on everyday opportunities to build confidence and self-esteem, which can greatly influence our moods, our motivation, and our future success.
We often jump at the opportunity to celebrate family, friends, and loved ones. But we tend to undermine or hesitate when it comes to our own wins. What if we started taking the time to celebrate every one of our own successes, big or small? What would happen to our relationships and our lives overall? It turns out that changing the way we think about accomplishments can be a game-changer. One Harvard University study looked at how the culture inside some organizations can influence an employee’s performance. The researchers discovered that teams that highlight small wins every day have a more positive, motivated workforce. In some cases, simply recording the progress in some way helped to boost employees’ confidence and made them more excited about future successes.
Making it a point to celebrate every success, no matter how major or minor, can also make it easier to keep pushing and reaching for life’s bigger goals. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to back all of this up, too. Accomplishing things, no matter how small, activates the reward center of our brains and releases the neurochemical dopamine, which makes us feel good. It’s a potentially addictive feeling, but in this case, it’s a good addiction; who doesn’t want to feel prideful and positive as often as possible?
In order to stay motivated, you have to keep motivating yourself. Celebrating even the tiniest examples of growth in life is a simple way to do that. The more small wins you rack up, the more they stop feeling small. You realize that each little accomplishment allows you to move on to the next one with greater ease, confidence, and excitement.
It’s important to remember that every little win in life is worth celebrating. Just look at all the seemingly insignificant things that users post on social media. From a puppy who just learned to potty train, to a college student who just handed in her final dissertation, to a father who fixed his daughter’s bike on Saturday morning, recognizing all of our wins can be a force of positivity in the world. Here are 5 ways that you can celebrate your growth on a daily basis.
1. Take a breath
The minute something good happens, it’s easy to get so excited that you immediately want to start on the next thing. However, taking a pause to reflect on your accomplishments helps put the “win” in perspective. Even if you don’t document your growth on paper or in photos, doing so in your mind alone can help you celebrate your growth and accomplishment.
2. Create a growth board
You’ve heard of vision boards—images that represent your goals to keep them front and center in your mind. But what if you created a growth board instead? Unlike vision boards that feature things you’re hoping to accomplish, growth boards document the big and small wins that you’ve already accomplished. Think: knocking out a major proposal at work or exercising consistently for an entire month. Choose images that represent your growth. There are no rules, so whatever speaks to and makes sense for you is perfect.
If you want to kick it up a notch and personalize your growth board even more, use your own photos. For example, your college graduation picture, a selfie you took the day you got promoted at work, or the landscaping project you finally finished would work wonders. You can even get these photos printed on glass and create beautiful arrangements with them. With Fracture Storyboard, you can display your accomplishments chronologically to tell your unique story. You can also use Fracture Photo Walls (pictured above) to arrange your photos in a collage of your best moments.
Anytime you’re doubting yourself and wondering if you’re making enough progress, all you have to do is look at your growth board. It will help you remember how much you’ve already accomplished.
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3. Find words that inspire your growth
Whether it’s a sign on the side of the road, an actual quote, a poem, or just a few inspirational thoughts jotted down on a napkin, finding words that speak to your growth is another way to celebrate it. This is why so many people choose to put up word art in addition to photos. Find words that remind you to celebrate the big and small things and you just might be more likely to do it.
4. Tackle small items on your to-do lists first
For some people, accomplishing smaller, easier tasks helps give them a sense of satisfaction. This, in turn, can motivate them to tackle the harder stuff. What if you snapped a photo of every cool little thing that represents growth in some way, and kept an album on your phone for those times when you needed a productivity boost? It could be a screenshot of a nice email from your boss commending you on a job well done. It could also be the delicious home-cooked meal you made for your family. Whatever the case, scrolling through images of your past accomplishments can be much more motivating than scrolling through images of things other people are doing on social media. (This only fuels comparison overload. And you know what they say about comparison—it is the thief of joy.)
5. Send yourself flowers or write yourself a note
One of the first ways we celebrate the growth of others is to send flowers or a card. But what if we sent a pretty bouquet to ourselves instead? Practicing gratitude like we do for others is a surefire way to celebrate our growth, however big or small. You might even consider a twist on the “same old”; try writing a thank-you note (or even just a simple, encouraging note) to yourself. What would you say? What would it highlight? Taking the time to celebrate our own growth is just as important as celebrating the wins of others. The lost art of thank-you notes or sending flowers are fun ways to do it.
Taking just a few minutes to mentally or physically log each day’s small wins can stack up over time and become significant markers of progress and happiness. The more you do it, the more you grow, which makes you a stronger, more confident and able person. What’s more, you’ll not only propel yourself forward, but perhaps even propel others forward, too.