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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 28 December 2020
  • Kayla Meier

How to Celebrate Small Wins During a Hard Year

As 2020 draws to a close, it is tempting to put this year behind us and move on without reflection. But even though this year was difficult, it still left us with moments to celebrate small wins. If you steered your small business through this hard year, take a little time to acknowledge all the small wins that you and your team worked to achieve. If you need suggestions for how to celebrate, look at the tips below.

person on video conference

Create good habits

As working professionals, it might be difficult for us to acknowledge small wins, let alone celebrate them. That is why it helps to create good habits around small-win celebrations. When working on tasks with multiple stages, see if a colleague or friend is willing to be your accountability partner. Set deadlines for yourself so you can report back to your partner when you complete a task. This will allow you to celebrate your accomplishment with another person and to think of it as a small win, not just a box checked on your way to a grand achievement.

Stop comparing yourself

It can be tough to celebrate small wins when it seems like everyone around us is getting ahead by leaps and bounds. Our social media feeds are filled with the huge wins of others, often making our personal successes feel inconsequential. When we’re endlessly scrolling, it is important to realize that success does not happen overnight. The road to big announcements is often paved with small wins. Take a break from social media, and put your energy into tasks that will help you reach a larger goal. Set minor, achievable goals for the day, like writing for 20 minutes or dedicating an hour to a task you have been putting off. Block out your calendar and set a timer, then relish the feeling of accomplishment during a well-earned break. When it is finally time to announce a major business update, you will know that your small wins added up to something big.

Write it down

While there is a feeling of accomplishment that comes with crossing out a line on your to-do list, you can make it even stronger by writing down the day’s small wins. Take time every night to write an accomplishment list. Whether you prefer writing in a journal or in your phone’s notes app, adopting this practice can help you end the day on a high note and show you just how much you actually accomplished. It can put you in the right frame of mind to build on those small wins the next day rather than reinforce the things you might have failed to do. It can also help you recognize milestones in the life of your small business. As a small business owner, you are always learning and growing, and keeping a record of all your small wins can be a useful tool for continued success.

Get personal

Research shows that genuine, specific praise can be a great motivator. And motivated people can achieve even more small wins. In a year when many are feeling isolated and burned out, praise from a manager can create a safe, inspiring environment for your employees and help them celebrate small wins. Whether you are working in person with or remotely from your employees, you can take a moment to compliment them personally and specifically. Let them know you recognize their efforts, skills and small wins in this hard year with a statement, email or call.

Acknowledge in your annual review

The end of the year is a time to reflect on what we accomplished, what we can improve and what we would like to achieve in the future. Encourage your employees to celebrate their small wins in their annual review. Ask them to share concrete examples of what they achieved this year. They might be surprised at how many small wins they have under their belts! An annual review is also a great opportunity to offer constructive criticism and feedback. Use this time to help your employees turn weaknesses into small wins through goal setting. Schedule check-in meetings for the new year to reassess goals and praise achievements. Do not forget to ask others for feedback on your performance. They might help you identify small wins you missed and opportunities for self-improvement.

Elevate the moment

Even if you and your team cannot gather in person for a traditional year-end party, there are still ways you can celebrate small wins with everyone. Organize a video chat where you acknowledge the team and their effort. Make sure each team is celebrated and point out specific small wins and moments where their work made a real difference to the business. If you can, send your employees small gifts or organize an activity for the call. Providing your team with a fun, heartwarming moment can give them a break from the stress of the season and create a sense of unity around their small wins.

Once you get into the habit, it will become easier to celebrate small wins — for yourself, your employees and your small business as a whole. There are so many simple ways to give yourself and others much-needed gratitude. So look back at your small wins over this hard year, and bring that spirit of positivity with you into the new year. You might achieve more small wins as a result — and that is a reason to celebrate.

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