Celebrate small wins

Celebrate small wins

It’s a new week and you’re starting by reviewing your family mission statement to see that it aligns with where you are right now. You’re designating everyone’s workspace for the day with a space usage plan, and you’re setting your SMART goals, but as you reflect on how things went over the weekend or last week, you realize, it didn’t go so well. That’s okay. This is a challenging time and not every day is going to go as planned (reality check: they didn’t go as planned before stay-at-home became our new normal.) Don’t be too hard on yourself.

  • Celebrate the small wins. Success can be found when you start to mark and celebrate small wins. Your perception of losses and wins might be different from your kid’s. Ask them what they consider the wins to be and record their responses as reminders. You may find out you’re doing better than you thought!
  • Cultivate gratitude for the small wins. Gratitude improves psychological health by reducing such toxic emotions as envy, resentment, frustration and regret.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Negative self-talk can zap the energy you need to pick yourself up and start again.
  • Get realistic. We get into trouble when we don’t base our expectations in reality.

Philanthropist W. Clement Stone’s quote—aim for the moon, if you miss, you may hit a star—is appropriate right now. Not every day goes as planned, or as hoped. Any win, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is worth celebrating. Small wins lead to even bigger ones later.

Small wins are signposts that lead to bigger wins later
The point of celebrating our, and our kid’s, small victories is to give us a sense of progress and accomplishment as signposts along the way to accomplishing a much bigger task or goal. The Harvard Business Journal calls this the Progress Principle, and it boosts our emotions and motivates us to do meaningful work in the long term. 

So if you’re trying to get your kid to do household chores or clean their room every day without being reminded, start by celebrating today’s win in whatever currency helps your child feel good. It could be a special dessert, praise, or a family dance-off in the middle of the living room floor. As long as they have fun, they are likely to do it again. And before you know it, today’s small win has turned into a long-term habit that can fuel your kid’s progress into adulthood.