Create pride and confidence + stay motivated to make progress toward your biggest goals
Ready for a quick motivation tip to give you an instant feel-good vibe? I’m thinking specifically about those who hate studying, ’cause I know you need a boost! Start to celebrate your small successes. If you’re mentally tuning out, stick with me for one more minute while I convince you this strategy helps you do better in school.
Let’s be real…most of us aren’t very kind to ourselves. Our inner dialogue doesn’t feel good and we would never dream of talking to a friend the way we talk to ourselves. We’re hard on ourselves and usually focus on the things we aren’t doing great. My inner dialogue often looks like a list of shortcomings…
- Didn’t study today
- Forgot about the meeting at work
- Ate too much junk food
- Skipped yoga
- Lost my temper with my daughter
Is it no wonder inner motivation is hard to come by with thought patterns like this? Don’t worry if you can relate, I have a quick motivation tip to help flip this pattern around.
Motivation Tip from Positive Psychology
Today’s motivation tip is actually rooted in positive psychology. Not only does celebrating our successes feel good, but it sets us up for future success. The practice of noticing and celebrating what we do well helps the brain to rewire itself to look for the good things, which ultimately leads to more success. Dig positive psychology as I do? Check out this article about how celebrating small wins can lead to bigger wins.
I started thinking about this idea because an article I wrote was recently accepted as a guest post on Time Management Ninja (check it out here). You might be reading this blog full of my words and feel like my guest post isn’t a big deal…BUT IT IS! I’ve never thought of myself as a writer, and definitely not a good one. One of my personal goals this year was to submit articles to a handful of websites I follow and try to be a guest blogger.
It was a scary goal and requires putting myself out there with a high likelihood of rejection. Kind of like making a commitment to enroll in a degree program, no? 🙂
Part of my strategy was to make a series of tiny goals I could complete. You know I like to start small with habits, and I approached this goal the same way. Each time I completed one of my tiny goals I wrote it down on the calendar to mark my success. It is proof I am honoring my commitment to myself and making progress even if I don’t see results right away.
We never see results right away.
You will wait YEARS to see your diploma hanging on a wall. What you need along the way are markers of your progress so you can look at it and say, “Yeah. I’m going to get my degree. Look at how far I’ve come already.”
When you feel like…
- you will NEVER get your degree
- maybe it isn’t worth it
- why are you doing this
- it’s so hard
Then you look back at all of the small successes along the way. You use those as evidence you can do this even when it feels hard. They are a real reminder that not only CAN you do this, but you ARE doing this. To get started with this motivation tip, your small success may look like this:
- setting up a note-taking system, like OneNote
- commit to and set up a calendar
- one week of daily study time (even if it’s just 10 minutes each day, the habit is worth it!)
- one week of attending every single class
- one month of daily study time (and then two months, three months, etc)
- earning a B on an exam (or an A, or whatever is the next step in improvement for you)
- email your professor and ask for help
- getting an A on a paper
- passing a difficult course
There is no perfect answer here. Whatever commitment you make to yourself, like these ideas, pause and make a note when you follow through on these commitments to yourself.
Quick Ideas to Celebrate your Successes
To get you going, here are a few ideas on how to celebrate your small successes:
- Write it on your calendar — Makes it easy to look back and see your accomplishments add up over time. Also helps to get a realistic picture of how long something takes. For example, I submitted my guest post and it took 3 weeks for it to be accepted, edited, and published. That helps me remember next time to be patient (and honestly this went faster than expected).
- Email a friend. — Allow someone else to share in your excitement. You get to share the pride and confidence with someone else, and you might just encourage them to keep making progress as well. Not sure who to email? Send me a note! I LOVE to celebrate successes with my tribe of students.
- Perform a monthly review. — Identify some things to track each month (examples: days you studied, minutes of study time per day, assignments submitted, grades earned) and keep a spreadsheet so you can see your growth over time. I find this extremely helpful when starting out with a big goal. Tiny commitments DO add up over time.
What is your small success this week?
Try It Yourself: 5-minute Challenge
- Take 5 minutes today to reflect on the past week.
- List out three things you did awesomely. You can totally come up with three small successes!
- Write them down so you can keep track of them.
- Repeat the process next week