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“Acknowledge all of your small victories. They will eventually add up to something great.” —Kara Goucher
Arrive at any situation with more than one person and the path each individual took to arrive at that same destination will be revealed to be different.
The reason why success is impossible to define concretely for a broad swath of people is that your success is dependent upon what you are trying to attain, and secondly, what you had to overcome to achieve the desired goal.
The example of travel is apt because for some traveling regularly to far and wide places, unique and different places each time is the definition of success as it reveals to themselves they have the means to do and the wherewithal to adapt and do so well each time to new environments. But to someone else, traveling once or twice to a far and away land in their lifetime is success multiplied by one thousand because no one in their family had ever done so or knew what to prepare the venturer to expect. So success resided not only in the ability to afford the trip, but also in how to navigate well as their own pioneer in many ways. In other words, each of our journeys based on our life experiences and what we are trying to achieve will define uniquely what success is.
On an even smaller scale, our everydays hold numerous opportunities for celebration for commemorating the completion of a highly demanding week with excellence, paying the bills each month with cash to spare, making a discovering about yourself for the first time that enlightened you to a new life path or confirmed a decision that provoked the change you were seeking.
When we remember those days, much like our birthdays and relationship anniversaries, we remind ourselves to celebrate our progress and our growth of becoming more fully who we are capable of being. And while they may seem small, they are significant victories for each individual.
Let’s take a look at moments in our life to remember and celebrate each time they happen, and in so doing, elevate the quality of our everydays as we appreciate how rich and wonderful our life truly is.
1. New beginnings – the date you started your new or current or dream job; the date you arrived in the town you now call home; the date you passed a particular exam enabling your career to officially begin; the date you first stepped onto the terra firma of a once dreamed about destination on the map; the date you signed the papers for something official in your life, changing the course of your life’s journey – home purchase, business filings, marriage license, nationalization in your new country of citizenship, etc.
2. The occurrence of a new realization about yourself or life journey — a successful outcome at a particular task for the first time; an awakening to a new aesthetic, musician, career field, subject of interest that ultimately redirected or confirmed your direction; when you found your voice.
3. The ideal weather you most enjoy savoring, taking place – whether you long to soak up the sunshine and the warmth of the blue sky days or revel in the soaking of a nourishing rainy day, when it happens, celebrate in your own way that amplifies the goodness you have no control over even more.
4. The discovery of a new book or film or play or art exhibit that speaks to you or speaks your language
5. Daily chores being tended to and complete – the house being cleaned, the yard being mowed or weeded, etc., the seasonal tasks that make everything come together
6. Finding your favorite [insert something that is hard to find or only becomes available rarely or seasonally] unexpectedly
7. Receiving unexpectedly something that brightens your day – a sincere compliment, good news at your regular health visits – physical, dental, etc.; a tax refund; an unexpected day off or longer vacation time.
8. Timing that works in your favor just because — a table opening up at your favorite busy bistro or cafe; your train or plane or bus boarding precisely when you arrive; the delivery requiring your signature arriving just as you arrive home; locating a perfect parking spot in a busy parking lot.
9. A particular day of the week has arrived that you have been looking forward to — whether it is the Friday of your work week or the arrival of a day with a particular event taking place that you have been looking forward to – an election, the last day of a particular project or the first day of a particular project, the day the farmer’s market is open, the day of the week a particular meal is served or item in the market is made available
10. Enjoy an entire day with appreciation for all that is taking place — all those you love are healthy and happy, food is in your kitchen, a roof is over your head, money is in the bank account, an invigorating workout has been experienced, a memorable exchange with a friend, family member or acquaintance — all of the little details that when considered reveal how truly wonderful your life is on a daily basis.
11. The completion of small goals along the way to a larger dream – when we acknowledge the small steps forward, we refuel our energies, we strengthen our clarity of what we are doing and remind ourselves that we can indeed eventually be successful at attaining what we seek. Taking time to celebrate these moments is crucial to the journey as a whole being memorable and making the arrival at the destination even more appreciated.
“The great victory, which appears so simple today, was the result of a series of small victories that went unnoticed.” —Paulo Coelho
So how do we celebrate small victories? It is entirely dependent upon you and what is a comfort, a rare or occasional treat or something that serves as replenishment of your being. Below are some examples and parameters.
1. Cook your favorite meal – complete with aperitif and dessert
2. Purchase something special and significant (it need not be expensive), but something that upon looking at it, reminds you of your progress as you continue along your journey.
“With every job I’ve gotten, I’ve bought myself something. When ‘Glee’ was picked up, I rented a piano for the year. For smaller victories, I’ll go to dinner with a friend, or go for a walk and think about it all. It’s important to say to yourself, Today was a good day.” —Dianna Agron
3. Something immediate — you need not delay gratification any longer to enjoy a moment of pleasure, no matter how small.
4. Book an experience in which you are pampered — depending upon what makes you feel pampered, book the experience in advance to be enjoyed on the day or week you expect the task to be completed. I know for me, each year on the day my students are scheduled to take their AP exam, that afternoon/evening I schedule something in which I can relax and unwind – a massage, a facial, etc. – something that commemorates the year of work and time given.
5. Pop the bubbly or open your favorite bottle of wine and make a toast.
There are many ways to celebrate, and each of us will do it in such a matter that feels good and serves to remind us that it is indeed a victory deserving of celebration which is why it is important to do so. Additionally, we don’t always have to share with others why we are doing what we are doing it. Sometimes keeping personal celebrations to ourselves is a wonderful way of strengthening our inner-courage as we remind ourselves that we do not need validation or applause from the outside world. So long as we acknowledge our progress and remain conscious of what we are capable of, we reiterate that we can navigate our life successfully without asking for permission to chase our wildest dreams.