Rewarding Yourself and Celebrating Small Wins

workplace rewards, progress, goals, employee wellbeing
3 min read

When it Comes to Success Think Small to Win Big

When it comes to success and progress, we typically think about the end goal or a major development. However, the days with these big wins are rare. Shifting your focus towards your progress and small wins along the way, can result in an overall better attitude and mood day-to-day.

When it comes to your work, what would you consider to be a good day compared to a bad day? For most, a good day is when you make progress, and the bad or worst days are those where setbacks occur. When you experience setbacks, you also experience frustration, fear and anger. This is where many give up on a goal or get discouraged and unmotivated at work.

Shifting your focus to small wins can boost your progress and productivity tremendously. On the flip side, when you focus on the negative or the setbacks, motivation and perception greatly decreases. Typically it's our human nature to have an easier time focusing on the setbacks rather than the small positives day to day.
The good news: you can train your brain to make this shift by rewarding yourself more often. Your brain is wired to respond to rewards. If you work the right tools to success, your motivation to reach larger goals will be significantly higher. When you accomplish something, it activates the reward center of your brain, allowing you to feel a sense of pride. Specifically, the neurochemical dopamine is released and energizes you and leaves you with happy emotions. This chemical helps you to experience the feeling of getting rewarded and can set you on a path to wanting to achieve even more. These modest behavior changes set off a positive chain reaction for even bigger developments later.
Here are some steps to begin rewarding yourself for the small wins:
  1. Do the work on goal setting. Setting goals and creating steps or tasks is essential to success in all aspects of life. Having a plan or process to reach your goal is an important first step. These smaller tasks or goals will be the small wins you are looking to focus the brain on more often.
  2. Eliminate hassles. These small mundane stressors will begin to take over the reward/ dopamine part of the brain. What distractions, negatives or energy suckers can you remove or alter to be more focused on daily progress?
  3. Anticipate the setbacks. What usually creates setbacks for you in work and in your well-being? It’s important to anticipate these roadblocks and have strategies in place to better deal with them. Try to view them as healthy challenges you will learn from rather than be upset about.
  4. Stay accountable. Finding ways to be more accountable and to regularly track your progress will help you to recognize the small wins and be reminded to congratulate and reward yourself more often.
  5. Communicate your small wins. Share your wins with a coworker, friend, or family member. Writing your daily wins down can also bring them to fruition and helps you to celebrate yourself.
  6. Find ways to reward yourself. Have a small win mantra that you repeat to yourself or out loud every time you make progress. Perhaps you pick a time to celebrate weekly or monthly to reflect on your small wins and treat yourself to something you enjoy.

Wins That are Always Worth Celebrating

If you are having trouble finding small wins or staying positive in your journey right now, start by focusing on everyday things you may be doing in life. Here are some everyday wins that are worth celebrating. Focus on these to begin your journey of self-reward and happier progress:
  • Taking care your family’s needs, both physically and emotionally
  • Acknowledging a mistake and learning from it
  • Having the strength to walk away from a person or situation that isn’t healthy for you
  • Taking care of your body by exercising or eating a nourishing meal
  • Creating a positive environment for those around you
  • Supporting a cause or volunteering for something that matters to you
  • Listening to a friend or loved one in need

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