For most of us, life is much, much different right now. The uncertain brink of the future has our minds spinning and reacting to our environment in pure survival mode. The unknown of when normal life will resume is daunting to say the least, leaving us unsure of what life will look like in the weeks to come. So whether this new way of life lasts only a few more weeks or months, being successful during this time is all about adapting to the new way of life and making new habits that point toward your goals.
Our ability to adapt varies from person to person and our personalities and background experiences are big factors of that. Max McKeown states it perfectly that “adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.”
Every day, you are making small wins which usually go completely unnoticed, while mistakes and shortcomings are at the top of our minds and frustrations. What if we made a switch in our minds to focus more on our small wins than mishaps and mistakes? Perhaps that’s where we could find a more joyful life and career.
If you’re anything like me (Enneagram Type 1), taking notice of small wins does not come naturally. It takes work to retrain your mind to quit focusing on nitpicky perfection, or imperfections and fine-tuning the focus on positive small wins. Becoming self-aware of what behaviors you tend to hone in on will give you a starting point to identifying small wins that happen during your day to day activities. Start small. Did you brush your teeth today? Awesome! Did you change out of your pajamas instead of staying in them all day? Celebrate! While small wins won’t necessarily change the world, they will help you gain confidence and create a base for a positive self-image.
The Recipe for small wins
BJ Fogg created a great recipe for small wins called the Tiny Habits method that’s as easy as ABC – Anchor Moment, Tiny Behavior, Celebration! He uses flossing as an example of a tiny victory so that’s the one I’ll use too. It goes like this: after I… brush my teeth, I will… floss one tooth, to wire the habit into my brain, I will immediately… celebrate! Getting excited about small things is what keeps us happy and enthusiastic about life. Just think back to when you were a kid and how excited you were about popsicles on a hot summer day, splashing in puddles and picking dandelions for your mom. When we grow up, we become bombarded with difficulties, loss and failure while our childlike sense of wonder fades away with those realities. It’s time to reclaim that childlike happiness. Sit in the glory of your small achievements and watch as it replaces gloom with happiness.
Get social with your small wins
Find people in your life that will appreciate your willingness to grow and share your plan with them. This is also a great way to have someone keep you accountable and help you stay on track to develop your new habits. Share your small wins daily on social media. Getting those likes and comments will only fuel you to keep finding those small successes that you are already doing and will set yourself up for bigger successes. And who knows, maybe you’ll inspire others to participate in the madness of celebrating and noticing small wins.
Give yourself a reward, not a deadline
Here’s another adult thing that we’re wired to do: put strict deadlines on ourselves. Deadlines can be extremely important and valuable in the workplace as well as other areas of life, but they have no place in your goals with small wins. Doesn’t a reward sound so much better than having a deadline? Make a list of things you would like as a reward for your small wins. It could be small things like a piece of chocolate or something bigger – I’ll let your mind dream on this one. This will take some discipline and self control, but the reward and happiness you will feel will be totally worth it.
I love what BJ Fogg shared about his experience with the Tiny Habits method:
“A few months into my sharing the Tiny Habits method, I had an experience I will never forget. I was reading an email from a woman named Rhonda. She wrote to thank me. She explained that my celebration technique had made a major impact on her life. To her surprise, she felt optimistic that she was finally discovering her potential. Once she started practicing Tiny Habits, she realized that she had endured a ‘lifetime of self-trash-talk.’”
Enough of the self destructive talk. It’s time to celebrate the amazing YOU.