One of my favorite professors of psychology at Wichita State University introduced me to the concept of small wins.
I was in my second year of a four- to five-year program and was feeling stretched thin and overwhelmed. I wanted to be a community psychologist, because my goal was to help large groups of people and have an impact on their lives.
However, many days I found myself defeated by all that was still to be accomplished. My professor was constantly reminding me to measure my goals in terms of small wins. I was not going to eradicate teen pregnancy in the community in one fell swoop, but the small wins of accomplishing something mattered.
Over the course of my graduate studies and beyond, I have relied on this advice.
I was not going to write my dissertation in one day, but settling on a topic was a small win. I was not going to understand statistics perfectly at the end of every class period, but if I left a little less confused than the day before it was a small win. When I had my daughter I was exhausted from lack of sleep. I knew I was not going to get her to sleep through the night immediately, but even a 20-minute nap was a small win.
The concept of small wins can be applied to so many areas of our lives. Completing your bachelor’s degree, you will get there day-by-day, quiz-by-quiz, paper-by-paper, class-by-class and semester-by-semester.
Life is a series of small wins. These accomplishments, while not Earth-shattering, are enough. They are enough to push us through to the next day, to encourage us not to give up and, eventually, those small wins accumulate.
And we accomplish our larger goals.
Get more information about staying balanced, focused and healthy during college and beyond in our recent blog post, “Maintaining Life Balance – Part 1.”