92% of people who set goals don’t succeed. Studies suggest this is because most people feel like the goal is too big or too far away. Here’s why celebrating small wins is important for success.

Have you ever tried setting a goal and failed to follow through? Or have you given up a task or a project just because you were having a hard time doing it consistently? 

According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, you’re not alone! In fact, only 8% of the people who set New Year’s Resolutions actually achieve them. The other 92%? Most likely failing after the first few weeks.

While you may blame the workload or the difficulty, the problem might not be due to how hard the task is, but how you’re treating yourself during the process. Many people don’t realize that successes don’t come overnight. They may take a few days, months, or even years  to accomplish. That’s why not too many last until the end.

So, how do you achieve success and strong habits?

Psychology recommends that we should simply become nicer to ourselves by celebrating our small wins.

Celebrating little victories fosters a better attitude towards our work and efforts. It enforces positive feelings. Repetition may affect habits, but it is the emotion experienced during these actions that causes habits to form. If your brain associates a positive feeling to a particular action, it will want to do it again. This happy feeling you get when you celebrate something is the dopamine hit to your brain for doing something it likes. It doesn’t matter if the emotion comes from the actual habit or if the feeling is enforced.

There are numerous benefits for celebrating small wins. One of which is it makes you more appreciative of yourself and of others. Instead of pointing out what you did wrong or what you failed to do, celebrating small wins fosters a more positive attitude. This helps by reducing stress and increasing productivity.

When we celebrate small wins, no matter how “ordinary” the task may seem, we acknowledge that we are on the right track. Getting on a simple discovery call with a client, for instance, is only one step away from striking a deal. That’s something that should make you proud and happy. It may not be as great as closing a 6-figure deal, but that sure is one step towards it!

How to celebrate small wins

1. Start the day with optimism and open up yourself to the possibility of more wins.

Persuade yourself to think that you are going to have a fantastic day. This opens up yourself to the possibilities of great things, wiring your brain to detect even the smallest hints of small victories.

2. Set achievable and specific goals.

As tempting as it may be, try breaking down a big goal into several smaller ones where you can easily track your progress.

3. Declare an end to each workday and know when to stop.

Be easy on yourself and know when to stop working. Resist the urge to overwork even if you feel like you need to. After all, balance is still key to a healthy relationship with your work.

4. List down your small wins for the day.

Take time to go through your day and see what you have accomplished or what you have ticked off your to-do list. This gives you clarity on your progress and what exactly you need to appreciate yourself for.

5. Reward yourself.

It could be as small as a cup of your favorite drink, a slice of cake, or a good nap. Taking these quick breaks and small rewards keeps you from burnout and the feeling of overwhelm.

Small wins lead to greater wins.

We’ve grown so accustomed to working hard for the next big goal that we overlook the small achievements we make. Whether it’s waking up early, or having a productive meeting, these small things still contribute to the larger goal and need to be celebrated.

Habits are ingrained when it is followed up with a positive emotion. So by giving yourself credit for being consistent, you motivate yourself to continue working towards the bigger goal and feel happy and proud about it at the same time.