Small Wins: A Recipe For Success Part 2
In his book Atomic Habits, Adam Grant writes that the small wins are what build momentum. “The most effective form of motivation is progress. We get a signal that we are moving forward, we become more motivated to continue down that path. In this way, habit tracking can have an addictive effect on motivation. Each small win feeds your desire.” (198) In The Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday explains something similar, “The little things add up. While the individual action is small, its cumulative impact is not.” (161)
While we, adults, may read these books and learn “hacks” to keep ourselves motivated and able to overcome our setbacks, these books are not high on the kids list of books to read. Not many kids follow thought leaders who can teach bite sized therapy to young minds. So exposure to this idea is minimal.
Therefore, it’s up to us, the adults, to bring this to the forefront and normalize that small wins are just as important as the big wins.
I have a small wins and struggles section on a wall in my office. It’s definitely a feel good board when the confetti bomb of post its are covering a section of wall dedicated to surmounting struggles, right sizing expectations, and mindset shifting to see the small wins within and in spite of the struggles.
It’s those small wins that boost confidence that they can do something right. We’ve all been in those situations where we feel like nothing we do or say is correct. That feeling sometimes snowballs into days or weeks of feeling down, scared, and afraid to try. I think we all felt this adjusting to pandemic life last few years and adjusting coming out.
If those small wins can gain momentum in our lives then maybe we aren’t all that messed up and we can do small things daily that might even lead to big things in the future.
Sometimes we can’t even see the small wins going on in our lives. Close family and great friends can help us see them when we can’t. It takes a village, right? Well, that village can help us see where we made small wins and help boost our self efficacy.
Be that person to your child, student, friend, family, or even stranger. Talk with them. Connect. Help them see those small wins to build their self confidence and help them build momentum to succeed. Then people can see and know exactly which behaviors and habits created positive change or growth. Acknowledge things are hard and what was difficult for you. In those teachable moments, kids learn perspective, how to think flexibly, the power of positivity, grit, perseverance, to identify their tribe and "people", self worth and their own value to accomplish and contribute. Then, eventually, I hope kids and their tribe can learn to be their own and each other’s cheerleaders by looking back on all the ways they can, not can’t.
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