Small Wins

I was having an email conversation with a friend the other day. We were talking about whether making small changes, maybe even relatively superficial ones, can lead to bigger changes.

My feeling is that they absolutely can.

It’s easy to look at the big picture of our lives, and decide that doing something small won’t really matter. In the face of trying to heal from an abusive childhood, losing 10 pounds or finishing a book doesn’t seem like much. It’s not much, but it’s something. It’s a goal that is reached, an accomplishment. The more small accomplishments we get under our belts, the more our confidence grows, the more we learn and develop the small skills that will be beneficial for the larger challenges.

Being successful and accomplishing goals is a learned skill set. You don’t suddenly learn how to make a plan, stick to it, adjust as needed, and reach your goal, overnight. You spend a lifetime learning and refining those skills. Why not start with small goals instead of overwhelming yourself at the start and giving up?

If a small goal is going to make you feel good about yourself, and increase the likelihood that you’ll have the confidence and ability to make larger changes down the road, that’s hardly a superficial outcome, is it?

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  1. I absolutely agree 100%. Every step is a positive win. Every step counts. And every step should be celebrated. Be gentle to yourself!

  2. I’m a social worker, and when my clients get overwhelmed, I encourage them to break each task down into its smallest components. Sometimes that means filling out just one item at a time on a form with fifty questions and then stopping for a break, or making just one phone call.

    I also don’t think you can overstate the importance of rewarding yourself for small accomplishments. Too often in abusive families you don’t get praised for the things you do right, you only get told how you should have done more and done it better.

    I’m a big believer in small steps.

    Debra Stang

  3. I agree. Barbara Sher, who writes books and gives seminars on making change in your life agrees with you as well. Her books and her philosophy is that most change is not made because we see the long-term goal rather than all the short-term goals that we can work on in a process to achieve something. And change is really just the smallest change made over and over in time.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


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