How to use small wins to feel like a winner

It’s that time of the month.

Most people who made new year’s resolutions have already given up on them. If that’s you, that’s okay. It’s time to jump back on board and pursue your dreams.

It’s okay if you jump off the train. It’s not okay if you give up on your destination.

We can give up and take breaks. We can go off course for a while. But what isn’t okay is giving up on your dreams and passions. So dust off your jeans, leggings, or skirt because we have work to do. We’re going to take stock of our progress.

Setting yearlong goals and creating a plan of action for those goals is necessary. Looking back at the end of the year shows you whether or not you’ve completed big things on your to-do list. This experience is either warm and fuzzy, or sad and frustrating. However you felt a month ago, let it go. A huge factor in continually pursuing our long-term goals is our mindset.

During the month of January, I have committed about 30 minutes per day to the Mindset Reset challenge by Mel Robbins. This free program takes you step-by-step through the process of resetting your mind. This means being intentional with your thoughts and pushing negative thoughts out of your mind to leave room for positive ones that have potential and breathe life into your day. Having a positive mindset helps you live a more positive and productive life, regardless of what is happening around you. 

This free challenge has introduced me to the Progress Principle. I have not read the book yet, but following the Mindset Reset challenge, I have start my mornings by journaling with a cup of coffee. My morning journals follow The 5 Second Journal journaling method, which focuses on recognizing my mood, deciding how to improve it, and setting up my day intentionally by deciding my top project for the day. This has already improved my mood in the morning. (I seriously hate mornings….)

The basis of the Progress Principle is to celebrate small milestones for big projects to make you feel like your making progress in your work, which makes you feel productive and just plain good. This is why you designate your top project for the day. Then you bite off a small task that needs to happen to complete that project and aim to chew that one bite at some point in your day. Making progress on a big project by completing that one small task helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel and makes you feel accomplished because you did something for that big project.

For example: My top project is to edit one of my NaNoWriMo first drafts. One small task I can complete today to start tackling this big project is to refresh my memory on my plot by going over my notes from when I was first writing this draft. That’s it! This task will only take a few minutes, but it’s one bite I can chew to prepare my mind for diving completely into editing mode.

Spending a few minutes every morning to really think about my top project for the day and designating one small task I can complete that day to make progress on that project makes me feel good about myself and my work. Instead of feeling like I’ve done nothing all week for the things that matter to me the most (my top projects), I can go through my journal at the end of the week and see the tasks and projects I’ve completed, remind myself why they were important to me, and feel productive in my work. 

Do I get everything done on my list? No. I have incredibly long to-do lists that are impossible to complete, which makes it easy to feel defeated at the end of the week when I still have a looming project or uncompleted task (or five). But journaling using the Progress Principle has shined light on what I have completed. This helps me focus on my progress, not on my to-do list. The to-do list is necessary, but it can drain my energy quickly just by looking at it. But journaling using the Progress Principle gives me energy and inspiration to continue my top project as well as other tasks. 

It’s important to take time to focus on your progress, not just your to-do list.

Challenge: Try using the Progress Principle in some way to help you take stock of your progress.

Bonus challenge: Check out the free Mindset Reset challenge. It has really overhauled the way I think and improved my life for the better.

Note: I’m not selling anything. I’m just sharing the resources that have helped me become a better person and writer.

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