Micro-Wins: Celebrate Your Progress

Most people rarely take the time to appreciate the small victories. Micro-wins are about celebrating progress, not just large successes.

Micro-Wins: Celebrate Your Progress

My family and I do something that, up until now, I thought everyone else did too. We celebrate micro-wins!

Celebrating big victories is not a new idea, but people tend to focus on the biggest achievements. Most people rarely take the time to appreciate the smaller victories. Micro-wins are about celebrating small accomplishments and enjoying the journey. Instead of celebrating successes, celebrate progress.

The Progress Principle

Teresa Amabile, a professor of management at Harvard Business School, conducted a study with people from seven different companies, in which individuals were asked to complete an end-of-the-day survey about their mood, emotions, and motivation levels. At the end of the experiment, there were over 12,000 entries and the researchers found some interesting trends.

Our hunt for inner-work life triggers led us to the progress principle. When we compared our research participants’ best and worst days based on their overall mood, specific emotions, and motivation levels, we found that the most common event triggering a “best day” was any progress in the work by the individual or the team. — Teresa Amabile

In essence, any kind of progress was the strongest indicator for a person experiencing a good day at work. In fact, moving forward occurred on 76% of people's best days measured by their mood. Researchers found that the feeling of progress had a positive impact on people's emotions, motivation, and their perception of their team and company.

How to Create Micro-Wins

You can apply the progress principle in a proactive way, rather than passively. If you find yourself procrastinating, use the two-minute rule to pick something quick on your to-do list and get yourself back on track.

These "minor" milestones will give you a boost of dopamine and trigger your reward system, making you feel more productive. These small tasks can act as catalysts to get you back in the flow and tackle more ambitious tasks. Instead of focusing on the far-off finish line, set your sights on the incremental steps.

Some examples of micro-wins in daily life include:

  • Applying to a job
  • Cooking a meal
  • Organizing your Notion space
  • Setting up a savings account
  • Planning a trip
  • Calling a friend

If you are working for a company, a micro-win could be finally getting a call scheduled with a client you have been chasing, or receiving a compliment from a customer about the experience of your product.

The best part of micro-wins is that the consistency will eventually make them compound, and you will get closer to those bigger wins. Micro-wins build long-lasting habits because they create positive feedback loops where you associate progress with happiness.

Celebrating Micro-Wins

Micro-wins become powerful when they are celebrated. It could be as simple as treating yourself to a nice cup of hot chocolate, or receiving encouragement from your family members!

Catch yourself doing something right and create those positive feedback loops. If you feel proud that you have managed to handle a difficult situation, treat yourself to a snack or a nice walk. You will feel happier, more productive, and more fulfilled.

What do you think of micro-wins? Let me know in the comments!