The Case for Small Wins

winbigI love a big win. Work, home, financial, personal–no matter what life area it’s in, setting a big goal and achieving that big WIN can be exhilarating and rewarding and definitely worthy of big celebration.

The downside, of course, is all that time in between the setting and achieving parts. It’s hard to stay focused when celebration is so far off in the distance and even harder to stay motivated with all of the ups and downs along the way.

Or is that just me?

When I first started my quest for better health, I chose the path of small steps simply because that seemed more manageable. Also, I really had no idea how/what/when/where I wanted to go in the future and figured that would give me time to evaluate and decide. I didn’t really have a goal of losing 100 pounds when I started. I just wanted to live better and have more energy.

As it turned out, taking the small steps approach was a really good decision on my part, because a) it worked, and b) I got to celebrate a whole bunch of small wins along the way!

Accumulating and celebrating small victories has many benefits, among them:

  • builds confidence
  • promotes a positivity mindset
  • silences the inner critic
  • eliminates the all-or-nothing mentality
  • creates momentum and a desire for more victories
  • allows time for evaluation and adjustment
  • results in frequent celebration

When you focus on small wins, small accomplishments get recognized and rewarded. They aren’t lost in the many steps of achieving the big WIN.
Having big goals is a good thing, but if you’re like me and tend to get lost in the bigness, you might want to take the scenic route via small wins.

In the end, the best path for me turned out to be…both. My big fuzzy goal of better health/greater energy was with me all along, but the path was filled with many smaller goals to be undertaken. And many wins to be celebrated.

big win vs. many small wins

Big win or small win–they’re ALL wins and cause for recognition!

Do you celebrate the small wins? Or are you a ‘go big or go home’ type person?



20 thoughts on “The Case for Small Wins

  1. One thing Weight Watchers is good about is celebrating small wins as you go along. My first goal was to lose 10% of my weight, but they also celebrated a five pound loss or a ten pound loss. It really is encouraging. :)

    • I like that about WW, too, Caron! Even way back in the Dark Ages, when I went, they had little ceremonies and trinkets for accomplishing smaller milestones. I like trinkets! :)

  2. I’m for small wins all the way! I do have big, long term goals. But, it is hard to focus on something so far away. And, it is also an issue of what I can control. I can’t always control whether I will have a loss at the scale in a given period of time. What I can control is what I do today. And, if what I do today promotes weight loss then it will show up on the scale and the long term goal takes care of itself. Or, if I want to “eat healthy” that’s all well and good but I do better focusing on things like eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal and maybe over time ramping that up.

    • ” I can’t always control whether I will have a loss at the scale in a given period of time”

      *applause* This is one of my mantras, Kitty. We can control our actions, but that’s about it. The rest will follow (or not), but we have the satisfaction of knowing we’ve done what we needed to do. That doesn’t always help in the moment, when the scale seems stuck, but it IS a win.

  3. I love all kinds of wins, big or small 😀 Sometimes the loses aren’t so bad, either, once you figure out how to get a win out of them in the future.

  4. I’m all for small wins. Like jogging an ENTIRE mile without stopping … yes, you read that right. Impressive huh? *Ü*

  5. I love the small wins! Those big long term goals are so difficult for me – better to break them up in smaller bits so I can celebrate sooner!

  6. If I didn’t celebrate the small wins, I might never get to celebrate. Because sometimes I just don’t make it to the big wins.

  7. I love small wins and think it’s even important to redefine what “win” means to you. My definition needed to be widened. Sometimes my “small” win thoughts were still too big. Last night’s decision to forego eating ice cream when everyone else in the room was would’ve been viewed as a “sacrifice” in years past, but earned myself a huge mental “you go, girl” last night. Small Win!!!

    • So true, Sharon. Sometimes a small win is no ice cream; sometimes it’s a small scoop. Sometimes it’s only eating half the pint rather than the whole carton. :) More than anything, though, it’s the reframing of the event as a ‘win’ that’s the best accomplishment of all.

  8. I truly agree with this. Sometimes some of us may think too far to set a goal which is quite hard to see, and when we do not see the result, we often demotivate ourselves and make our own conclusion that this is not working. I often set a small goal at first, so it is not too difficult for me to achieve. By seeing several small wins, I can motivate myself to do more to see good wins ahead.

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