Does this scenario sound familiar? You crawl into bed at the end of a long day. You close your eyes and try to focus on your breathing, maybe even listen to a guided meditation.
Still, you can’t help but think of all the tasks you didn’t accomplish.
You drift off to sleep with your thoughts settling on what you need to tackle the next day. You wake up, reach for your phone and feel the need to dive straight into work.
You do the best you can to work on your business, answer emails, engage on social media, only to crawl into bed at the end of the day and start the cycle over again.
The reason I can describe that scene so vividly is because for a long time, that was my daily routine. No matter how much work I did, I always felt like it wasn’t enough at the end of the day.
After months of feeling like my efforts weren’t good enough, I started applying a new process to my nightly routine that literally changed my life. It’s a simple journaling exercise that I call it the “Three Small Victories Project.” This process has sparked a profound boost in my self-confidence and tripled my productivity overnight (literally). As usual here on the blog, when I create a process that has a positive impact in my life, my next step is to share it with you. Are you ready to try the journaling exercise that takes less than three minutes, yet has a major impact on your productivity? Keep reading and I’ll show you how.
The Three Small Victories Project is a simple journaling activity that I created to end the cycle of self-defeating nightly thoughts. Each night, before bed, I open my journal and list three “small victories” that I accomplished that day. The idea here is not to look for big accomplishments but to focus on smaller moments that would otherwise go overlooked. For example, my small victories list might say:
These moments may feel like nothing to brag about, but taking time to focus on what you are able to accomplish, versus what still needs to be done, is a very powerful tool (more about why this is so effective later).
Simply put, the Three Small Victories Project is a list of moments you write down at the end of the day to celebrate yourself and your accomplishments, no matter the size.
Okay, so you may be thinking: The Three Small Victories Project sounds nice and all, but how will it increase my productivity? Consider me the test subject who has tried to this process for several months and is returning to you with the lab results!
I started this small but mighty list as a gratitude exercise. I thought that by writing down three small wins from my day, I could drift off to sleep more peacefully. It came as a complete surprise to me that this short list could have such a huge impact on my productivity and overall self-motivation. Here’s what I realized pretty quickly: Focusing on what you are able to accomplish each day, no matter how small, is a way to practice self-love. It’s a way to show yourself that even on the most non-eventful days, you are still able to celebrate your abilities, rather than dwell upon your shortcomings.
Taking the time (and we’re talking about less than five minutes) to focus positively before bed led to me waking up the next day with a renewed sense of self-confidence. As I continued to write down my small victories each night, I noticed something else. My small victories were getting bigger! It was never my goal to “outdo” myself, but it was a surprising side effect. When I took my focus away from what I was not able to do, and instead celebrated what I had already done, there was a snowball of productive energy.
To be clear: The idea of a “small” victory is entirely relative. I’m sensitive to mental health awareness and therefore feel it is important to make this distinction. If “got out of bed,” or “took a shower” feel like small victories for you, then write them down! Please don’t judge yourself based on how small your victories are. On the same note, your “small” victories might be more complex than mine, that’s great too. We’re all at different points in our journey.
Some of you might prefer to share your small victories out loud during dinner, or just say them out loud to your partner before bed. These are great strategies as well. However, the reason I suggest keeping a written list each day is that the act of writing your victories down helps to solidify the habit. Also, if you’re having a crappy day, it’s nice to look back on your victories for a little pick me up.
Grab a notebook and pencil/pen and put it by your bed. Each night, before bed, write down your three small victories. Some days you may have more than three things on your list and that’s great. Always make sure you have a minimum of three wins on your list. Do this for at least one week and see what happens when you set aside time in your day to celebrate yourself. Notice how you feel when you wake up after doing this exercise several days in a row.
Remember, (I can’t stress this enough) to find small moments. Here are a few more examples of what might land on your list:
Celebrate what you are able to accomplish each day. Even on challenging days, push yourself to find your three small victories. Try to stay as consistent with this process as possible, and watch as your productivity grows overnight!
So, how did I do? Have I convinced you to try out my secret to more productivity? Let me know what you think in the comments! As always, feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.
PS. Take a snapshot of your 3 small victories list and tag it with #3smallvictories to be featured on my Instagram!
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Thanks for reading! Until next time, celebrate even your smallest victories.