Monday, July 07, 2014

Creating Big Gains Through Small Wins

Research suggests that the best way to achieve large gains is to make sure you experience small wins.  What is a small win?  Achieving a tangible step toward an important goal generates a small win.  Many times we fail to attain our large goals because we don't pave the path with small successes.

Why are small victories so important?  It turns out that progress in work you find to be meaningful gives energy and fuels creativity.  This is tremendously relevant to goal-setting.  If you fail to set goals, you deny yourself the small wins that come from reaching daily and weekly milestones.  If you set goals that are too distant or ambitious, you can unwittingly set yourself up for frustration and a loss of the momentum that small wins can bring.

Small wins can be very small--as small as engaging in a positive behavior to start the day or maintaining a better posture.  One reason engaging in exercise first thing in the morning is effective is that the energy of the workout also taps the energy of starting the day on a constructive, successful note.

Imagine yourself surrounded by small wins day in and day out.  The mirroring effect of so many wins means that you begin to experience yourself as a winner--which in turn energizes you to further set yourself up for success.

Conversely, consider perfectionists.  Because nothing ever reaches their expectations, they never achieve small wins.  Indeed, they continually experience small losses--frequent episodes of falling short.  What the research tells us is that you cannot internalize the sense of being a winner unless you set yourself up for frequent wins.  When each day is pursued as a masterpiece, over time you experience yourself as an artist.

The trading week to come may be a profitable one or it may not.  If you are focused on small wins and the processes that generate profits over time, however, the coming week can always be a successful one.  And that fuels the drive for truly big wins.

Further Reading:  Creating Change Through Positive Emotional Experience