Want to succeed? Be happy? Increase your confidence?
If you answered a resounding, “YES!,” then I have the world’s simplest solution for you – a solution that’s backed by a Scientific Study.
Buy a notebook.
Each night, before you go to bed, record each of your daily accomplishments – no matter how small they might seem.
But most of us are programmed to self-criticize. We brood about the things that didn’t go our way. We text, post, and Tweet about our unhappiness. We call sympathetic friends and ruin THEIR day by whining about the guy who cut us off on the freeway, the lover who never called, or the co-worker who missed her deadline, forcing us to work an hour late.
The Harvard Business School conducted a study called, “The Progress Principle.” Researchers concluded that focusing on “small wins” activates positive chemistry in your brain that allows for a more rewarding life.
For approximately 15 years, Harvard’s Teresa Amabile and study co-author, Steven Kramer, looked at psychological experiences on the job. They surveyed people about their emotions, moods, and motivation levels. Participants were asked to keep diaries and record the events that stood out in their minds.
Amabile and Kramer learned that the daily practice of recording “small wins” helps people appreciate their daily progress. This appreciation can boost a person’s confidence, which can lead to bigger achievements and future successes.
Remember the saying, “Life’s not about the Destination: it’s about the journey?”
Yep. Harvard proved that.
The study reports that Progress shouldn’t be defined solely as the accomplishment of long-term goals and major breakthroughs. While big wins can be exciting, they tend to happen far less often than “small wins” – like taking the vacuum to the repair shop (finally!) Thus, we should reframe our thinking. We should define “Progress” to include the positive, small events in our lives, like honoring our pledge to wean ourselves from caffeine or to start writing pesky Chapter 6.
Amabile and Kramer wrote, “Any accomplishment, no matter how small, activates the reward circuitry of our brains. When this pathway is opened, some key chemicals are released that give us a feeling of achievement and pride. In particular, the neurotransmitter, dopamine, is released, which energizes us and gives us a feel-good aura. This chemical enables us not only to get that sweet feeling of reward, but (it) also motivates us to take action and repeat what we did to trigger its release in the first place.”
Best of all, the payoff is HUGE: Positive feelings, confidence, success — and another FABULOUS reason to sit down and write!