Cheer each tiny victory: it makes you happier and more productive

Do you always think long term? Do you have big dreams and goals, and you know you will only achieve them several years from now? Are you so focused on the end result, you often forget the importance of each smaller goal, and lose perspective?

It’s great if you dream big, however you must learn to enjoy the process and celebrate each step toward your final goals. When you celebrate small wins, your mind will link them to progress and achievement. This, in turn, will boost your self-esteem and give you the motivation to work toward the big wins.

In today’s article we are going to have a look at the eight reasons why you should celebrate all the tiny victories that lead you to success. At the end of the article you can also read a collection of the best small wins quotes. Without further ado, let’s begin.

Eight reasons to celebrate small wins

1. Training the brain

One of the reasons social media is so addictive is it gives your brain constant tiny dopamine spikes throughout the day. Whether you realize it or not, each time you see notifications, likes, comments, or new posts, your brain releases a small amount of dopamine, which makes you feel good.

The good news is that you can use this process to your advantage. By celebrating small wins, you basically train your mind so it links the new habit, project, or series of tasks to pleasure. The more you cheer the tiny victories, the more your brain will be motivated to keep going.

Though many of us like to focus on long term wins (and think we should only celebrate success one, two, or five years from now), our mind doesn’t work like that. Our brain can only focus on short term wins — the tiny dopamine spikes — so it’s important to reward it frequently.

2. Big wins take time

We’ve just seen how many people only think about the end result, and how it could decrease motivation and make it harder to succeed. Another issue with being too focused on the big wins is that they always take time, so if you wait for the big wins to celebrate and feel good about yourself, you’ll have to wait way too long.

Success — whatever it means to you — takes time. One of the reasons it’s so important to celebrate small victories more often is that you simply can’t wait until your big dream has been achieved. You can’t assume that you are going to be disciplined, productive, and hard-working for years and only celebrate at the end of your journey.

Big wins take time: if you want to enjoy the process, you must learn to be happy about your weekly (or daily) progress; you have to recognize the importance of your small successes as you would with the big ones.

3. Self-esteem

Ideally, celebrating your achievements should turn into a habit. When you reflect on what you’ve been able to accomplish so far, you feel proud and confident, and consequently you will have the motivation to keep working on your goals and dreams.

Many think that by celebrating the small wins, they would lose perspective and forget about the end result. However what happens is almost always the opposite: by cheering each small success, your self-esteem increases, and when you feel good about yourself, you have more willpower.

Our sense of self-worth is directly linked to what we think we have been able to accomplish. If you believe that only the big wins count, and that so far you haven’t achieved much (which is probably not true anyway), it will be harder to have a positive self-image. So do celebrate as often as possible, and do feel proud about your small wins.

Small victories improve your self-esteem

4. Enjoying the journey

Usually, the people that actually achieve big goals are those who enjoy the process. They are not so focused about the end result — winning a competition, selling their business, losing a certain amount of weight, or any other final goal. They are focused on what they can achieve today, and feel good about every single small step.

Ultimately, if you are working toward your dream, you are already living the dream! And chances are that you won’t be able to achieve your big goal if the path leading to that goal makes you miserable. So learn to enjoy the process, celebrate each tiny win, and don’t just think about the end result.

The same can be said about life in general: if you think you’ll only be happy five or ten years from now, when you’ll finally have achieved your big goal, you probably have the wrong approach. Learn to be happy right now, and it will be easier to succeed. I have explained this important concept here.

5. Optimism

Being an optimist is harder than it sounds. As a defence mechanism, our brains are wired to focus on the negative. Our mind likes to think about what could go wrong, the worst case scenario, what we could lose if we finally decide to follow our dreams.

Unfortunately, the same is true for our own achievements. Because our brain tends to focus on the negative, we often think about our failures, and often ignore our greatest accomplishments in life. In other words, we are way too hard on ourselves.

To be an optimist, and to instantly improve your self-esteem, remember to celebrate the small wins, because they do matter. Chances are, you spend way too much time thinking about your mistakes, your negative traits, or those things that didn’t go as planned. Learn to appreciate each small win instead, and you’ll be happier.

6. Gratitude

Being grateful for everything you are, do, and have is probably the easiest way to have a fulfilling life. When you are aware of all the extraordinary things you get to experience on a daily basis, it’s impossible not to feel joy.

Unfortunately, gratitude is rare. Most of us take it for granted that we are able to experience so much in life. By celebrating the small wins, not only do we boost our motivation, we also practice gratitude and learn to appreciate every moment of happiness.

Some people like to keep a gratitude journal — a book in which they note down all the things they are grateful for. Similarly, you could keep a “small wins” journal in which you write, and celebrate, all your successes — big or small. This way you’ll also be able to remember every single tiny win that contributed to your future success.

7. It’s easy

The seventh reason you should always celebrate small wins is that it’s easy. It doesn’t need to be a huge party; you don’t need to buy yourself a gift; you don’t need to tell all your friends.

Though you may want to do something special after a major breakthrough, celebrating a win could be as simple as pausing for a moment, reflecting on what you’ve been able to accomplish, and patting yourself on the back. Just the thought of “wow, I’ve killed it today” makes you feel good about yourself and gives you an extra dose of motivation.

If you use to-do lists, you can celebrate small wins by crossing off a task and adding a comment to it (you can then keep the to-do list so you can have a look at it in future). If you keep a “small wins” gratitude journal, you can celebrate by writing down your positive thoughts.

8. Progress

All human beings are motivated by progress. Jobs that are extremely boring or repetitive, or where you are supposed to do the same thing over and over again, are often exhausting and draining because you feel you never accomplish anything. If every hour, day, and week feels the same, it’s hard to stay motivated.

When you celebrate the small wins, you tell your brain that you are making progress; you tell your brain that even though you are still focused on the end goal, you are now one step closer to it, and so it makes all the sense in the world to celebrate and feel proud.

Many have spoken about the importance of breaking down goals into smaller steps, or tasks. The eight and final reason you should always celebrate small wins is that by doing so you become aware of the importance of each tiny task; you realize how far you’ve come, and how far you will get if you keep focusing on what needs to be done now.

The best small wins quotes

The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance, and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.

— Oprah Winfrey

Track your small wins to motivate big accomplishments.

— Teresa Amabile

Don’t wait until you reach your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of each step you take toward reaching that goal.

— Anonymous

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

— Will Durant

A small win is a concrete, complete, implemented outcome of moderate importance. By itself, one small win may seem unimportant. A series of wins at small but significant tasks, however, reveals a pattern that may attract allies, deter opponents, and lower resistance to subsequent proposals. Small wins are controllable opportunities that produce visible results.

— Karl E. Weick

Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.

— Nelson Mandela

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

— Lao Tzu

Treat every small victory like you just won the superbowl.

— Lewis Howes

Don’t try to rush progress. Remember: a step forward, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.

— Kara Goucher

Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.

— Arthur Ashe

Don’t be ashamed to celebrate victories that may seem small to others. Only you and God know what they really cost.

— Steven Furtick

Greatness is not in where we stand, but in what direction we are moving. We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it — but sail we must and not drift, nor lie at anchor.

— Oliver Wendell Holmes

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

— Winston Churchill

Small wins are the steady application of a small advantage.

— Charles Duhigg

Repeated engagement and action are the keys to success.

— Nelson Mandela

I have found that small wins, small projects, small differences often make huge differences.

— Rosabeth Moss Kanter

I am a series of small victories and large defeats.

— Charles Bukowski

Success is rarely the result of one swell swoop, but more often the culmination of many, many small victories.

— Joseph M. Marshall III

Win small, win early, win often.

— Gary Hamel

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it inspiring! Never forget to celebrate small wins because they are they key to success and happiness 🏆