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Article  •  20 July 2021


Celebrate the small wins

The bestselling author of The Life Plan on the importance of noticing the little things that you accomplish each day.

Celebrating little wins will always help you feel more motivated. The power of progress, of small achievements, is a fundamental human need. I am my family’s, friends’ and clients’ biggest cheerleader and always want to encourage them to celebrate small victories. They help you build momentum and confidence and allow you to feel joy. They all add up to something greater, so take notice of them, acknowledge them, give yourself a high-five, share them with a friend, and watch the universe start delivering to you.

Celebrating the little things can make the biggest difference. Contrary to what we might believe, we don’t need huge wins all the time, and the thrill and satisfaction they provide often pass quickly. But it feels so good to celebrate our daily achievements: making a beautiful soup, finishing our tax return, tending to the garden, having a great work meeting, getting on the yoga mat at 6 am, or doing that task we have been avoiding. Start to pay attention to the small wins in your daily life.

During my darkest days with chronic fatigue, when I could not move, have a light on, or even find the energy to lift a finger, I remember my coach celebrating me walking to the letterbox and back. We thought it was incredible!

I knew there was a monstrously difficult journey ahead, and that I just needed to put one foot in front of the other, and that for a long time it would be a case of two steps forward, one step back – which is sometimes still the case today. The biggest challenge was working with my feelings and emotions and retraining my brain. Twenty years later these are non-negotiable daily practices, and I still celebrate all my little wins – there are many internal high-fives being had!

Every day I have a to-do list, which during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic I called a ‘joy list’ to remind myself to approach each task with joy. This helped me recognise small daily achievements as I tackled the challenge of reinventing my business model.

Small wins may include waking up feeling refreshed, walking for an hour, learning something new, being complimented on the dinner you made, getting your family to work or school on time, or reaching a minor milestone you set for yourself.


No matter what curve ball life throws at you, having a jar of small wins will help to keep you motivated, reassure you that you are able to pivot to Plan B, and help boost your confidence.

  1. Find an empty jar.
  2. Label it with a sticker or post-it note.
  3. Every time you try something new or have a small win, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in the jar.

As you do this, make sure you celebrate and reflect on your progress. Alternatively, you can create a small-wins notebook or journal to record your accomplishments in, even the most minor ones. Whenever you feel unmotivated or that you are not making progress, read the notes in your jar or open up your journal to find your flow again.

Value each win. Take note of them and celebrate them. The momentum will shift, and the wins will get bigger.

Quick reflection

  • What progress can I celebrate?
  • What do I appreciate about myself?
  • A year from now, I’d want my present-day self to remember . . .

Plan B Shannah Kennedy

Shannah Kennedy, bestselling author of The Life Plan, takes you on a journey to accept change, heal, reset and move forward with clarity, direction and purpose once again.

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