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Acknowledge Small Successes in Life

small successes in life

Acknowledge Small Successes in Life

It isn’t all about hitting it big, you know!

Is this the way you think about achievement? When somebody mentions  the word ‘success’, does the image of fame, fortune, money and all the other great things associated with it spring immediately to mind?

I’d say its a fair bet that it does!

I think its safe to say that you are not alone in this respect.

When most of us think about success, we tend to think in terms of some phenomenal, life-changing event taking place which radically alters everything about who and what we are.

The reality is that we enjoy success all of the time. Yes, its true – every single day, we achieve something in some capacity. All we need to do is recognise that success can come in any format and any capacity.

The best analogy I can use for this is my current 30 day challenge which I’ve set myself. (You can read my recent progress review on this by clicking here.) 

As loyal followers of Success Psychology will know, this month (June 2013 at the time of writing) has been a experimental one. I’ve been applying the idea of a 30 day challenge as expounded by Matt Cutts. The goal is simple – to write at least 500 words each day. Now for me, that has been a fairly simple task. It isn’t anything too taxing – well, not so far. (I think I might be starting to suffer a little mid-way blockage, but it’s nothing too serious as yet, you’ll be pleased to know!)

However, I must admit that I am very pleased thus far. Why? Because as the progress review stated, I’ve managed to write the minimum of 500 words each day and haven’t slacked as yet. (Okay, so I let myself off for my partner’s birthday. That’s allowed – and stopped me having to suffer a long face from the other half!! Plus I wrote 1088 words on a previous day, so that counts as two! ) 

But do you know what’s the really great thing about this? The fact that I have managed to write 500 words each day thus far is a success in itself. Of course, if I hit the target and manage to complete my challenge at the end of the month then that is going to be a pretty major success in itself. I will also have formed a habit, because it will be difficult to miss writing the 500 words after the 30th – plainly because it won’t feel right!

Despite all this, I don’t have to wait until the 30th to enjoy the sweet nectar of success (just as I don’t have to wait until I’ve had my book published and become a best seller, have 10,000 readers of this blog or make several million to taste it either.) I can enjoy success by just writing my 500 words, as I’m doing at the moment.

The truth is, success is relative to how you measure and quantify it. What does it mean to you? Are your beliefs formed by what you see as important or what other’s believe? Does it matter if they might not see things the same way you do? Whilst others might say “Big wow – you wrote 500 words today! So what?”, I say to myself “Congratulations! I hit my goal for today! Now that feel’s great! Well done me!”

This is essentially what my friend and mentor Jurgen Wolff said recently in his blog: Success is what you say it is. (You can read his take on this on his blog here. In fact, for writers he wrote a whole 9 part series on the definition of writing success on Time to Write which is worth checking out.)

Acknowledging these small successes in life can be a very powerful motivator. Why? Because the sum of small things can lead to a very big thing indeed. Also, acknowledging the small successes in life can create a positive mindset, causing the subconscious to adjust itself to the success state-of-mind. This can make the likelihood of you achieving big in future even greater, because you attract more of what you focus on.

So here’s the answer – don’t neglect the small successes in life. Treat them with great respect and welcome them when they happen. You may find more coming your way!

Action Step

Find a small step to acknowledge each day. If you like, you can set this as a target to find and record a small success for 30 days (which gives you a bit of get out clause if you decide you can’t be bothered after a while! However, its probably likely that you won’t because you’ll have formed a habit!) The success can be literally anything you like – as long as its a positive, of course!

For example, maybe you managed to cycle to work for the first time or maybe you managed to bench press 30 kilos in the gym. Or maybe you managed to write a great blog post, or asked someone out on a date and they said ‘yes’? Of course, if you have a 30 day challenge going like me, then you will probably want to acknowledge this anyway!

Now record it somewhere for future reference. Put it down in a diary or in a special journal notebook. You could record it on a calendar or a chart, so that you can keep it visible. Or maybe you could create a special MS Word document or and Excel spreadsheet and record it there? It really doesn’t matter – just as long as you do put it somewhere where you can track your progress. Make sure to look at it regularly and extract as much of the good feeling from the success as possible. You owe it to yourself to do so!

What do you think of this? I’d love to hear your feedback. Feel free to add a comment below.

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