You Should be Celebrating Your Average and Tiny Successes

Most of us only celebrate the momentous occasions that happen in our lives. When we get a big promotion or raise we go out to dinner. We splurge and buy an expensive bottle of wine and order whatever we feel like eating, living it up Entourage style.

It’s good to celebrate the big events, but the small victories are what lead up to the big victories. If we don’t emotionally reward ourselves when we accomplish the small things, we aren’t setting ourselves up for success.

Sometimes we write a really well-crafted email, come up with a good plan or have a successful meeting and we just let it pass as if nothing has happened. This is so wrong! You need to have small celebrations to match your small successes.

We often get caught up in doing our work. We plow through to get as much done as time will allow. It’s during these times that you may think that you don’t have time to celebrate. However if you don’t celebrate you risk losing motivation and increasing your stress. Do you ever reach the end of the day and breathe a sigh of relief? And when you get home all you can do is sit in front of the TV because your energy is drained. I used to be there. I put so much energy into everything I did, never taking time for a mini-leisure breaks, just rushing through to make the next day seem a little easier. I was fooling myself into believing that I was being ultra productive, when in reality I wasn’t having any fun.

Create Your Small Celebration Routine

Every time I write an email, whether it’s 50 words or 500, I always lean back in my chair, interlock my fingers behind my head and smile. That’s it. Just a little smile to reinforce the good work that I’m trying to accomplish. It takes all of five seconds. If you don’t have five seconds for a small win then you are in the wrong business.

Take the Time to Plan a Little Celebration

This is all just a trick of the brain. Even a child that knows when she completes a drawing one of her teachers, parents or friends will get all excited (mini-party) clapping their hands, praising, and showing the child that when she works hard she will be rewarded with positive emotion.

When you finish a report you can reward yourself with a minty piece of gum. By taking the time to take your mind off of your work, reaching into your drawer, unfolding the wrapper and putting it into your mouth, you are creating a mental bridge that will help create excitement before you begin the next report.

Make a habit of your mini-celebration routines and you’ll notice the work that you do will bring you more joy and success because you are creating positive emotion after you complete each task.

What do you do to celebrate your small successes?

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Image courtesy of Mauricio Pellegrinetti


  1. Mini celebrations – I love that idea! And it something I’ve not done, and have had those days where it seems like I’ve got a few things accomplished, but still, I’m glad it’s over and I just want to go home and forget about it. This sounds like a great way to pump a little excitement into the ordinary achievements – which can lead to big things down the road. In fact, I’ll be using the 5 second smile when I hit the submit button here – it’s a great way for me to start this habit now.

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  2. Great article! It’s usually what gets me going.

    I promise to do just a little and then I reward myself for it.

    Dr. Cason’s last blog post..Proof that Photos Don’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful

  3. Hey Dr. Cason, when we reward ourselves just a little it spurs us on to accomplish our next task.

  4. Karl, I just leaned back and smiled, reading your post was worthy of a mini-celebration on my part. Good for me for being smart enough to take 5 minutes and read a worthwhile post! 🙂 I hope that others will read and apply your advice. Our lives are so much richer when we recognize the small moments. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. I love the idea of mini celebration, I celebrate my little success by keeping a list of what I have done in the day, it is amazing how much I forget and manage to beat myself mercilessly at the end of the day. Now, my list will be coupled with some fun reinforcements, that sounds cool.

    Great post,


  6. Hi Lance,

    I think this is such a great idea, after all, in each of our big accomplishments are many mini ones. When I accomplish small tasks, I often allow myself time to reflect, or now that I’m blogging, I will take a few moments to read a favorite blog.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..A.S.K. – Liz Strauss – How Do You Inspire Your Readers To Join Your Community

  7. Hi Karl

    Probably for the really small successes, I would go and tell my partner about it, and he would do the same – which is possible because we are together most of the time (weird but true).

    We also make a point of celebrating “medium” successes with a drink, often champagne. We were having about one significant success (with champagne) a week, but lately we haven’t been doing it. Probably the weather – we’re fed up with the long winter (we had colds – probably our immune systems were down from so much champagne).

    Cheers – Robin

    Robin’s last blog post..On Overcoming Obstacles

  8. Very positive message Karl. I loved it! Stumbled.

    Marc and Angel Hack Life’s last blog post..70 Things To Do Before Having Children

  9. Hey Lance, let me know how those mini celebrations help out. I would love to hear if it changed your motivation.

    Hey Karen, the little details are where most of the beauty hides.

    Hey Tabs, when we beat ourselves up it seems to only create more stress. Let me know how it works out for you.

    Hey Robin, sharing your small successes with someone else is a great way to celebrate. I’m not a big fan of champagne (headaches), but you have to do what works best for you. If your immune system has taken a hit then maybe you can celebrate medium successes with a cup of hot tea, warms you up and still sets the tone of the celebration.

    Hey Marc, thanks for the Stumble. It really helps draw traffic to my site.

  10. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work says:

    I’ve been a big fan of celebrating mini rushes of positive momentum for some time. I use them as gratitude enhancers. I generally whistle a happy tune or tap out and affirmation using EFT. We so frequently resort to excellent methods when challenged but it’s even more powerful to use them when feeling good!

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..How to Honor Your Commitments

  11. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work says:

    Karl sorry about that I forget that not everyone is familiar with EFT. Here are some wonderful videos to check it out.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..How to Honor Your Commitments

  12. Hey Tom, it sounds like you have a great emotional response to small wins. I was curious about EFT, so I googled it. Emotional Freedom Techniques are ways to deal with a situation to help you transition through it. I’ve never heard of this before, but I’m glad Tom wrote a comment about it.

  13. Hey Tom, thanks for the EFT Links!

  14. Nice blog, thanks! Paying attention to the small stuff can reap huge rewards indeed! The joy a small child can have with just a balloon…