We all need to feel like we are achieving, even if you are not a competitive person you sometimes feel like you need to have had a “win” and in my experience it’s the little wins that can make a big difference.
When we think about winning it can often feel that the achievement comes from winning something big or significant. How many times have you fantasised over winning the lottery? I bet you didn’t sit there and talk with your friends about how life changing it would be if you won a tenner did you? No, you talk about what it would be like to win large life changing amounts of money– we’ve all done it and understandably so!
Sports is the obvious place to talk about winning and of course to many, winning means coming first, it means being better than anybody else in that particular field but if you ask many professional sports people, they will also tell you about the other wins they’ve had in their lives, the experiences that have shaped them to achieve what they have achieved today, the small things that have made them feel like they are winning.
The definition of winning is very personal and can mean different things to different people.
As a solution focus coach, I attract many clients who are feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks they have on the good old-fashioned to-do list, it seems never ending, it feels like you just keep adding to the end of the list, the list that never gets smaller, the list that looks more daunting each and every day. Does that sound about right? What happens when you look at that list – do you find not doing any of it because you just don’t know where to start? Well, we start with the little wins.
So what is a little win?
A little win can be as something as simple as being ahead of yourself – having surplus birthday cards in the birthday box which you can then send out on time for someone’s birthday – (you’re allowed to feel smug at this one.) A little win can be making a phone call that you’ve been putting off for ages and then getting a result from it, an appointment booked, an issue resolved, a meeting arranged. A little win can be getting up half an hour earlier and hanging the washing out before work or squeezing a run in so you’re not trying to find the time later in the day.
Basically a little win is something that is relatively easy to achieve if you put your mind to it, something that gives you a great feeling of satisfaction when you’ve done it and when you are tackling your to do lists, if you combine a few little wins each day with some of the more off putting tasks that may be larger and take longer, you will find it easier to plough on through that list.
In the workplace, the same applies – the email that takes 5 minutes to answer, the phone call that will give you the information you need, the diary planning so that you know what you have on for the next couple of weeks. Little wins, big difference to how you feel. If you start the working day with the little wins and then focus on a more challenging task, you are less likely to keep putting off the challenge. It’s when we are faced with an ENORMOUS list of tasks to do, that the more difficult tasks just keep getting moved further and further down.
You don’t need a task list to have little wins, identifying what little wins you can achieve in a day at the start of your day, can motivate you and then at the end of your day, make you feel positive and productive. For me even knowing that I have achieved a couple of small tasks that I then don’t have to think about for the rest of the week can set me up for a much more positive evening make a big difference to how I’m feeling about myself. Who knew that meal planning on a Sunday would remove so much stress throughout the week? Who knew that a little bit of batch cooking so I didn’t have to think about meals every night would leave me feeling less anxious?
Little wins, BIG difference.