I’ve been thinking about the importance of small wins, lately — breathing, waking up with the sun, watching it set…
Small Wins vs. All-or-Nothing Thinking
One of the most difficult things about survival mode is: it can make you feel as if you aren’t accomplishing anything. You put all of your energy into making it through the day, but when your head finally hits that pillow, you always seem to be two steps behind.
I think that’s because we so naturally incline ourselves toward “all” or “nothing” thinking as human beings. If everything we envision doesn’t come to fruition, then nothing we do is enough.
But there is power to be found in small wins.
Small wins enable you to have more faith in who you are.
It’s all about the story we tell ourselves. If I believe I’m not competent, too busy, too tired, or just generally not enough — that is what manifests in the way I’m able to carry out and act upon my goals.
I once read the book Mini- Habits for Weight Loss by Stephen Guise. It was the first time the concept of small goals was introduced to me. Every day for months I woke up and… got in my workout clothes.
That was my threshold. I knew if I could just do that, the hardest part would be over.
But do you know what changed the most?
Instead of an attitude of “I will never be a runner.”, I began to believe “I can do this!” And that belief permeated everything else I was doing.
Before I knew it, I became a living, breathing example of one of my favorite scriptures:
Small wins led to me hope, which led to a deeper faith in my own divine (and, coupled with grace, very capable) identity.
Small Wins and the Principle of Vectoring
And small win thinking yields not only greater faith in our potential, but also possible yet monumental change!
In other words, vectoring — the idea that a tiny course adjustment now, creates a large and lasting future impact.
There is so much power in the small, but consistent daily actions and habits you and I form on the foundation of our most deeply cherished beliefs.
Small wins encourage gratitude for the “extra” ordinary.
But I can feel you asking, what is the application here? It sounds nice, but what is a small win? How do I implement small win thinking?
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is to share with you the small wins I had this week:
- My kids know I love them.
- My husband and I went on our first date in a month-and-a-half.
- I read the scriptures with my kids, even if it wasn’t long, or a perfectly mapped-out lesson.
- I chose one thing from my stress management list to practice every day.
- We ate, even if it was cereal.
Here are a few things I didn’t do:
- I didn’t exercise this week.
- I didn’t cook.
- I didn’t clean the house until my husband got home to help me.
- I didn’t get all of the writing done that I needed to.
- I wasn’t able to make it to church.
But focusing on the first list? Focusing on my small wins? It allowed me to cherish the extra snuggles with my kiddos and gave me the freedom to focus on my sweetheart more than my to-do list.
I feel so much gratitude and love for those little moments. I know that God is in the details of my life, because that is where I see Him the most! It’s an incredible blessing.
Setting Goals with Small Wins
Now, would I like to improve upon a few things? Absolutely.
Do you ever feel like you get stuck in the thought stage (I have that down pat), but transitioning those thoughts into action — that is where the work truly begins?
It makes it easy to give in to overwhelm, but I try to remind myself:
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.Martin Luther King Jr.
So, while, the goals on my mind might have previously looked like this:
- Follow our homeschool objectives every day.
- Keep the house clean.
- Go running 6 days a week.
- Only use social media for 30-60 minutes a day.
- Keep up with my scripture curriculum, lessons, and resources with my kids.
My beliefs and small wins now look a little more like this:
- Read to my kids every day. (I am a good mom. And I love to read with my kids!)
- Choose ONE house thing that really needs TLC to cross of my list each day. (When my home is clean, I feel better, but if I can’t do it all, that’s okay.)
- Go for a walk every day. (Getting outside makes me feel good! And when I don’t have a chance to get out for something more serious, the kids love to go with me. It’s fun for all of us 😊.)
- Always put the phone down for my kids/spouse. Keep certain times/places sacred. Make sure my family knows that they are not an interruption. (I love my family more than my screen.)
- Read at least one verse of scripture to my kids each night and teach them how it applies to them. (The path Jesus teaches leads to lasting peace and true joy. God loves us, and we love to spend time with Him.)
*Note: if you haven’t heard of the idea of “Floors & Ceilings” by Brooke Snow, along these same lines, it is a must listen!
If the bigger goals get met, great, but, in the meantime, I am 100% going to celebrate those small wins, because I believe in their potential. And because I know that I am enough.
The journey lies in discovering that for yourself.
Here’s to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary!