Wisdom//

10 Small Wins That Have Helped Us Improve Our Well-being

When we’re focused on a far-off deadline or a lofty goal, we forget to slow down and celebrate the smaller milestones along the way.

Undrey/ Shutterstock
Undrey/ Shutterstock

Here at Thrive, we talk a lot about Microsteps — those tiny, too-small-to-fail actions that can lead to long-term change. And sometimes, when we’re focused on a far-off deadline or a lofty goal, we forget to slow down and celebrate our smaller wins along the way. But pausing to recognize those tiny milestones is important: Experts have even found that when we acknowledge the little habits we’re proud of, we encourage ourselves to keep going, and create other habits that help bring us closer to our goals.

We asked our Thrive community to share with us thesmall recent wins they’ve achieved, and how it’s inspired them to keep improving their well-being. Which of these wins resonates with you?

Starting a daily to-do list

“I recently resigned from my extremely stressful day job and took a leap of faith to dive into my passion, supporting people in their career paths by assisting with their resumes. To ease into the major shift, I started keeping a daily to-do list, which has not only helped me manage my time, but also manage client deliveries. It’s a small win, but it’s a habit that helps me set daily goals and gives me a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.”

—Bhakti Talati, resume writer, Mumbai, India

Unplugging before bed

“My small win has been the ability to be very deliberate around putting my phone down well before I fall asleep to ensure I set myself up for a good night’s rest.  Previously, I would scroll endlessly until I was physically not able to keep my eyes open anymore. This led to poor sleep and feelings of fatigue the next day. It was a vicious cycle that I needed to end. This has not been an easy habit to break, but one I committed to and feel the results with each new day.”

—Jaclyn Strauss, founder of My Macro Memoir, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Giving ourselves permission to rest

“As a serial entrepreneur and life-long people pleaser, I have always attached my worth to my productivity. In January, I decided I was going to invite more rest into my life. Since making the decision, I have been taking time off of social media on the weekends, leaving my house without my phone, and taking days off to rest. This might not sound like much, but as I am a full-time mom who is also enrolled in graduate school and running two businesses. Giving myself this permission to rest has been amazing. My family and I are reconnecting and I feel like I am now doing a better job in all of my roles.”

—Allison Alexander, life coach and business owner, Aspen, CO

Switching to a standing desk

“I was having pain in my neck and my shoulder, and the discomfort was causing me to lose sleep and limit my exercise. One day, I realized the problem came down to my posture at my desk, as I work while scrunched over my laptop and stay immobile for hours. Simply shifting to a standing desk has lifted my energy, helped me lose weight and gain muscle tone, think more clearly, move more, and feel better.”

—Rachel Anderson, personal and leadership coach, North Yorkshire, UK

Starting family Zoom workouts

“I recently started a weekly Zoom workout session with my sister and my niece. Not only is this ritual a fitness win, but it’s also an overall connection with family win. They live in Atlanta and I live in Orlando, so working out virtually is the only way we can do it together. We spend 30 minutes leading each other in different workouts. We all value our health and even have varied fitness goals, but most importantly, we show up. I am grateful for our commitment and growth together.”

—Lynnette Phillips, coach and speaker, Orlando, FL

Embracing work-free weekends

“I used to think that in order to succeed, I had to be working harder than everyone else. Over the past few months, I have committed to taking the weekends off of work. It was a terrifying step to take, but I realized my fear was based on the idea of failure, not actual failure. So, I stopped working on the weekends — just like that. The Microstep felt daunting at the time, but it as become a blessing for me and my business. As a business owner, I finally gave myself permission to clock out and go home. It has been the biggest tiny step I have made this year.”

—Curtis Danskin-Ainslie, CEO, Tampa Bay, FL

Meditating in the morning

“One small win I’ve experienced lately is establishing a morning routine to set my day up for success. I have three young kids, so it was put on the back burner for many years opting instead for extra sleep whenever I could get it. Now that all three of them have a consistent sleep schedule, I get up a bit earlier to meditate, and do some journaling and stretching. It’s given me the space to focus on my goals outside of motherhood, and prioritize the most important ones.”

—Kathy Heath, autism awareness advocate, Alberta, Canada

Making sure we’re drinking enough

“I bought a marked water bottle for the first time to keep me mindful of how much water I’ve been drinking. I’ve never needed this in the past, but since wearing a mask, I find myself decreasing my water intake without realizing. Since I always recommend that my patients drink half their body weight in ounces per day, and I always did, I found it quite interesting to experience an array of symptoms since decreasing my water intake. This small win will help me stay accountable.”

—Patricia Ladis, PT, CBBA, holistic physical therapist and author, New York, NY

Journaling at night

“Recently, I found myself having a tough time winding down at night. So, after receiving a new guided journal, I challenged myself to close out every single night with reflection and writing down my best three moments from each day. Since starting this new ritual, I find myself expanding — noticing more and more moments of joy. Capturing my best three moments has proven to be a delightful way to decompress, discover joy, and close out each day on the right note.”

—Jenn Smith, career coach and consultant, Buffalo, NY 

Making time for our joy triggers 

“At the beginning of lockdown, I realized that although I was still working, I had gained three extra hours in my day without my regular commute and deciding what to wear to the office every morning. Deciding what to do with the three hours was a challenge, and I didn’t want to add extra stress to an already stressful time. I started to use my extra time in my afternoons to spark joy. I began reading lots of fiction, gardening, playing with my cat, watching movies, taking baths, cooking, and practicing random acts of kindness. While life is moving back to normal today, I am still not commuting, so I try and continue my practices to be more present each day.”

—Amanda Renwick, HR and change specialist, Johannesburg

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