Are you working to change something in your life? Do you keep getting knocked down? Does progress feel excruciatingly slow? When you’re working on a goal, whether big or small, it seems like obstacles keep popping up. The process feels discouraging. And results seem far away.
In these times, your brain will drift to the negative. Your brain will focus on the failures, the flops, and the wrongs. Suddenly, your thoughts will snowball. Progress will feel daunting. And you’ll start to think you’ll never reach your goals at all.
Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone! This negative, discouraging thought process is pretty natural. Brains tend to do this. And while it’s a bit annoying, there’s good news. You can train your brain to see things differently. You can train your brain to notice the successes, see the good, be encouraged, and keep going.
Want to know my favorite secret to this? Break out the confetti and celebrate small wins. That’s right. I want you to be intentional about celebrating the successes, no matter how small they might be. Cheer for tiny victories. Dance for every healthy choice. A give yourself a pat on the back for every act of courage.
Your brain won’t register wins the way it registers flops. At least not naturally. (Learn more about why your brain focuses on the negative here.) So if your brain won’t naturally notice the wins, you’ve got to tell it to. You’ve got to practice joy and enthusiasm for all of the small things.
Working on some health goals? Celebrate small wins. Give yourself kudos for getting out of bed and making it to the gym. Cheer when you run 30 seconds longer than you thought you could. And give yourself a high five for drinking 64 ounces of water today. Trying to make a scary career change? Celebrate small wins. Do a little dance when you send an anxiety provoking email. Hip hip hooray when you complete a part of a tough project. And celebrate when a task that used to feel hard suddenly feels a tiny bit easier. Working on something new with your little one? Jump for joy when they do the thing. Send up a heck yes when they do it a second time, even if there were 3 misses before it. And give yourself a pat on the back for keeping your patience when it gets tough.
You’re having small wins every single day. I promise. But your brain won’t register these small wins unless you teach you too. It won’t notice success the ways it notices struggle, unless you train it to. In fact, if you don’t start celebrating small wins, your brain is likely to get discouraged, feel like nothing is changing, and give up altogether.
Little wins deserve attention. They keep you going. They keep you motivated. And they help you see the progress you’re already making. So pay attention this week. Celebrate small wins. Cheer for healthy choices. Jump for joy when a good thing happens. Don’t just notice them. That’s not enough to retrain your brain. Celebrate them. Break out the confetti. And practice joy and excitement with intention.
PS: If you’re working on a goal and in need of some extra encouragement, check out this video and learn the two questions you’ve got to ask yourself if you want to stay on track!