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A Gold Star Moment

As part of my goal to practice wellness during the work week, I committed to do a short mindfulness exercise.

I downloaded a Mindfulness app and began using it for a 10-minute practice three times a week. For the first three weeks, I completed all three practices. But during the fourth week, I found myself practicing only 7 minutes each of the three days, and by the end of the work week I had declared myself a failure.

How come we typically only view progress or success as reaching 100% of our goal?

First, many of us adhere to perfectionism, or the idea that it’s all or nothing – that middle ground just doesn’t cut it. Second, research shows that our “brains are designed to look for” failures because our ancestors “who were negative worrywarts were more likely to survive” in the wild, according to Dr. Kristin Neff, professor of psychology, UT Austin.

Taking credit is all the more difficult when we are not getting external recognition and we have to celebrate our achievements on our own.

Dr. Teresa Amabile, Harvard Business School professor and co-author of The Progress Principle, says “you can still enjoy psychological benefits from celebrating your own achievements. They don’t have to be big breakthroughs or huge successes – even small wins can lead people to feel terrific.”

Recently, I took Dr. Amabile’s advice to heart! I don’t like swimming in lakes, but had an opportunity to do so. I put on a swimsuit under shorts and a top and made my way to the lake. While I didn’t quite “swim,” I did get into the lake and pushed through my comfort zone (see above photo). So, credit to me for a small win! And while I am at it, I will take credit for those 7 minute mindfulness practices, as well. I am feeling better already . . . .

What small wins can you take credit for this year? What gold star moments can you claim?

For those of you interested in executive coaching and who might like to join a group, please drop me an email or call at 215.260.4881 so we can chat about what you need. I am here to support you, and just an email away.

Wishing you small wins,
Gail

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