Small Victories

We are always trying to change something about ourselves.

Be nicer to others. Eat less junk food. Exercise more. The list other things we want to change or improve could be endless. Thew beginning of a New Year seems to be a great place to start these changes. The infamous New Year’s Resolution!

Well, according to an article in Forbes I just looked up, only 8% of people are successful in achieving their Resolution goal. Kudos to them! The rest of us, well, if you’re like me, you stumble at some point, and if you don’t regain that discipline or motivation, your Resolution fails, and often, you feel like a failure.

That is probably the biggest fear we all have when we set a New Year’s Resolution, or just want to make a change to our life. Failure can be worse than the thing we are trying to change. If we set a goal for ourselves, and stumble a bit, we can get angry, frustrated, disappointed, and depressed, perhaps in that order. I don’t know how many times I’ve set myself goals to achieve and when I failed, I wallowed in that failure. A lot of us have probably done the same thing, or got angry with ourselves. In the end, most of us just give up and settle back into our regular routines with the habit or whatever we wanted to change, unchanged.

For me, there are a bunch of things I have constantly tried to change. Less junk food. Write more. Be more responsible with my time. Wiser with my money. Exercise regularly. Eat healthier. Like many, I used New Year’s Resolution to instigate these changes. I also had a soft spot for September, which always feels like a new beginning, thanks to all those years of school. But the fact that I’m still talking about dealing with these things means that I haven’t conquered them.

In my opinion, the big “I’m-gonna-change-this!” event-style life changes don’t work.

So many of us are slaves to our habits. Unless we have a serious, life-altering reason to change, we won’t kick those bad habits or makes those changes. Even IF we have a life-altering reason to make changes, many of us don’t. People know cigarettes are a source of Cancer, yet keep on smoking. Obese people continue to over-eat knowing it is doing more harm than good. Even if people have been in multiple accidents and have numerous traffic tickets, they still drive recklessly. Habits are called habits for a reason. They are habit-forming.

That is why we need to start small.

Recently, I have been doing bits of changes here and there, like an experiment, to see if a more piecemeal method would work better than the grand change. The results have been better and easier to maintain. An example of one has been part of my work. As a driver, I used to make a pit-stop (to either use the bathroom, get fuel, or just a slave to my cravings). I’d buy some snacks and drink. Not only was this unnecessary, but it added up financially. So, I started a gradual change. Instead of my usual snacks (Coke and Doritos), I’d get just a Gatorade or a large bottle of water. This past week, I didn’t buy anything!

It may not sound like much to some. But to me, it’s a Small Victory.

Like writing this blog. There have been weeks when I didn’t want to write anything (and disappoint my 2 or 3 readers!). So I re-posted something or just didn’t bother. This week would have been the same thing, especially since I waited until later in the week (Thursday) to write this. But I DID write it! Another Small Victory.

That is my new goal, or goals. Each day, do something that is a Small Victory. To do simple things repeatedly until they become a habit. Like getting on my computer each day. Then, once on the computer, work on something, and stay AWAY from YouTube! Then, to work on current and new projects.

The other important things about these Small Victories is to remind myself that I did something positive. From not buying junk food when I had the chance, to keeping my mouth shut about something I dislike. I may not always succeed in everything I attempt, but I won’t let those small failures strop me. I’ll focus instead on the Small Victories instead.

I think if we all focus on those Small Victories, the positive things we do, instead of dwelling on what we didn’t do, we may find those Small Victories build up to something bigger and better for ourselves.

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