Over the past few years, I’ve really come to realise that life isn’t so much about the big goals and achievements (as great as these are, they’re rare and often followed by an anti-climax) but more about the small-wins along the way. Think about it – it’s the difference between how you feel when you’ve finally reached your goal weight versus how you feel today, after actually making it out of bed to go for a run.
We live in a world of instant gratification, where we can order pretty much anything we want at the touch of a button or command of our voice. What if we approached our goals in the same way? How might our daily experience of life differ, if we looked to bolster our self-esteem through small-wins every day, rather than focusing our energy on far-off goals and dreams?
Luckily, if you’re one of life’s meek and timid like I am, you’ve got loads to work with! I’ve spoken before about the many great things that anxiety has done for me in certain areas of my life. This is one of these situations when having anxiety can work to your advantage.
If you’re anything like me, when you’re looking to try things that challenge and frighten you, the list is endless! Here’s a quick 10 of mine:
- Parking in different spaces.
- Not drinking coffee first-thing.
- Meeting new people.
- Sharing things on social media.
- ‘Stop and chats’ with acquaintances.
- Going to new places.
- Speaking my mind honestly without judgement.
- Admin tasks (some are seriously scary!)
- Playing horror-themed VR games.
- A ton of Jiu Jitsu-related situations.
Honestly, I could go on and on and on…. These situations all provoke differing levels of fear and anxiety. Avoiding these situations or tasks as my former super-anxious self, would result in excuses, missed opportunities, arguments and ultimately, a very low opinion of myself.
In the last few years though, having promoted myself to BOSS of my anxiety rather than desperate employee, I’ve taken on these fears to the point where they scare me significantly less. I still get butterflies though – every time I drive to a new petrol station; arrive at a new school; roll with someone new at Jiu Jitsu. I get the small-win.
Interestingly too, the more you look to earn these small-wins by taking on your small-fears, the more your goal posts shift. Once you’ve pitched an idea to one person, and taken the small-win; pitching to a small group of people doesn’t seem like that much more of a challenge. Once you’ve driven to a new place half an hour away, driving to a new place two hours away suddenly seems within reach.
Your ‘big wins’ begin to feel like small ones, but it’s YOU who has grown, which simply makes the goals appear smaller.
Having long-term goals is great, but sometimes this isn’t enough to comfort you at the end of a long day. Notice and appreciate your small-wins every day, step by tiny step. Remind yourself that even when something seems like it’s not a big deal to the outside world, if it provokes an emotional response in you… and you do it anyway, then it’s something that deserves celebration.
What small-wins have you celebrated recently? Have you found that your bigger goals are beginning to feel like ‘no big thing’? Are you moving up the ladder of challenge? Thoughts and comments welcome: