Celebrate the Little Wins

Celebrate the little wins

I’ve never really been one to celebrate my wins. Big or small, Sparky and I usually allow ourselves a moment or a smile, but we don’t really celebrate. It’s always seemed kind of… self-centred.

But recently I completed a 10-day workout challenge and at the end of every session, when I was out on my feet, I was told to dance a little celebratory dance. The instructor encouraged us to sing out loud, “I did it! I did it! Oh yeah, I did it,” while doing the running man. The sillier the better.

On Day 1, I ignored her. I didn’t win a marathon. I deserved no post-workout dancing.

On Day 2, however, her joy was enough to convince me. So I tried it out. I danced a little celebration. I shook my arms and hopped around like a idiot. I celebrated finishing my workout.

Do you know how good that felt? To celebrate that little win?

It didn’t cost me anything. It didn’t bother anyone else. It simply said to me, “You’ve done something today. You could have skipped your workout, you could have stopped before you finished, but you didn’t. And that’s awesome.”

It filled me up. And, yes, it was self-centred. But that’s the point of celebrating, isn’t it?

Celebrate your little wins

Did you get up early this morning? Dance a little celebration – a little booty shake is all you need.

Run to the top of the hill? Give yourself a Rocky moment up there – hands in the air.

Managed a discipline issue with grace and a level-head? High-five yourself in the mirror.

Sent an email you’d been putting off? Give it a little “whoop, whoop.”

Finished the pile of ironing that’s been sitting there for weeks? That’s worthy of a song. About yourself.

In fact, why not have a little win right now?

  • Pick up 5 things.
  • Meditate for 5 minutes.
  • Do 5 push-ups, 5 squats and 5 sit-ups.
  • Drink a glass of water. (Or 5.)
  • Write a list of 5 things to do this week. Go do one.

Then, celebrate.

Even if you’re not a celebrator, today – just for today – give it a shot. Try telling yourself that you are, in fact, pretty awesome. Because it’s true.

(This post was originally written in 2013, but I really needed to revisit it today. Thought it might help you too.)

14 Responses to Celebrate the Little Wins

  1. This is something I have trouble with, too – celebrating the little wins. My inner critique would roll his eyes and snigger at any glimmer of bliss I get out of my small victories, especially if it involves anything to do with writing. I’ve been ignoring him lately, and this post is a great reminder to continue doing so :) thanks, Brooke!

  2. Oh, yeah, baby! I live with a man who celebrates the opening of an envelope but I still get awkward about it. I am going to try a little more whoop whoop, coz I might just like it. Thank you for the thought!

  3. That´s great. I have to celebrate more you are right. Van says: “the inner critique would roll his eyes”. Try it! You have to smile, haven´t you? It´s a funny little exercise. Thank you for your blog.

  4. I love this post
    Verk very true!!
    Celebrate your little wins and you might find it wasn’t so hard to do it and try it

    I usually give myself some chill time after doing something. Like garden work or cleaning a room. To sit and read a magazine, blog, or book. A little prize for what I achieved :)
    That works for me!

  5. Well, I’m celebrating with you, Brooke! You go, girl! ;-)

    We all worry about being self-centered and arrogant way too much. So much that we really push ourselves to the equally as destructive opposite. If we would celebrate for a friend, why wouldn’t we celebrate for ourselves? There is nothing self-centered at all, with treating ourselves with the same level of kindness that we give everyone else–you know, acknowledging that we actually are a part of humanity! :-)

  6. It’s funny – I am partial to the happy-dance when good things happen. Like just the other night when my fiance asked me if I had any ironing that I needed done (and I did). Then there he was doing it and I HATE ironing and we’ve just moved in together so it suddenly occurred to me that he’s happy to do the ironing which means I don’t have to – I DID A HAPPY DANCE!

    But when it comes to my own wins – things that I have achieved… I don’t celebrate. I tell myself it’s because I’m still developing my work and as Ira Glass advises – I’m trying to build my 10,000 hours if you like – and one day I’ll start feeling happy with the quality of my work and then I’ll feel happy because I’ve finally achieved things at a level that I’m happy with… one day ;)

  7. Hi Brooke

    Your post got me thinking: when my daughter was little we would celebrate things like walking, speaking, feeding yourself, going through the night dry. Then later on celebrate working hard at school, swimming a width in the pool etc. She would love getting the badge, the sticker, the praise and was happy to celebrate her own successes.

    My daughter is now 14 years old and she is embarrassed if she gets a compliment. She really hates it.

    This is so common, as we grow older we have this attitude that false modesty is humble and therefore good.

    Bethany was right, celebrating ourselves isn’t self centred or arrogant and we do need to treat ourselves with kindness.

    Celebrating little wins is important, thank you for the reminder.

  8. How amazing, that this post should appear now. I’m in a state of flux in my life – torn between two phases and two paths – struck down by certain fears and anxieties born of duty and obligation. My small win this week was to start a blog to focus on my photography and writings. Inspired by awesome women, such as yourself, it feels like the biggest win to carve out some sort of digital space for myself in this hectic world.

    I wish you all the best with your new ventures – can’t wait to read Romper! Maybe you could stop by sometime xox

  9. Negative self talk just leads to low self esteem and depression. We shouldn’t be afraid to tell ourselves “good job” when we’ve done a good job! It improves our sense of wellbeing and means we can spread joy and happiness to others.

  10. Ah this is lovely! Good to focus on what we get done and not on what we didn’t! We can’t always have “the big acheivements” so you’re dead right – we need to celebrate the little ones more! As for the celebratory dance – we often get embarrased by the things that are good for us and make us happy. I love that line by William W. Purkey “You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching”!

  11. There are exceptions to this, but I think, for the most part, men and women are different in this regard and I think it is a self esteem issue. Even just reading the comments reinforces this. The guy who celebrates opening an envelope. The 14 yo girl who can’t accept a compliment. Women are hesitant to sing their own praises. Men don’t seem to have that issue.

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