Onion rings in fries

Green Lights & Onion Rings: How Tiny Triumphs Fuel Our Happiness

2024 ResolutionsI think it’s only fair to kick off this week’s blog by confessing that I, too, have fallen prey to the dreaded resolution curse. Remember in “The Resolution Revolution: Break the Mold with Seinfeld and Robbins” when I shared that a staggering 47% of all New Year’s resolutions are toast by the second week of January? Well, despite our best efforts, you and I didn’t quite make it through February, thanks to the seasonal sickness that gets many of us at the start of the year. I know, I know—while you may have been here and ready to keep your resolution to read this blog weekly, my inability to muster the energy to write meant your very noble intention went down in flames as well. And for that, I owe you an apology.

That aside, this week I wanted to shine a spotlight on celebrating the small victories in our lives and in business. Take, for instance, the fact that we’re back to our regularly scheduled blogging—now, that’s a small victory worth celebrating. But let’s not stop there; let’s dive a bit deeper.

Have you ever had that moment when you grab your favorite jeans out of the closet. You know the pair. They fit you perfectly, they have just the right fading and enough wear and tear to be cool. As you are going through your day you discover a crumpled-up piece of paper in your pocket. You fish it out, expecting a forgotten receipt, only to find a freshly laundered Andrew Jackson. That’s right, a double sawbuck, you thought you lost.

Suddenly, the sun is shining a little brighter and you feel a rare joy. The same joy you once felt when you found that perfectly cooked onion ring, snuggled in your basket of fries or the time you were running behind to meet a friend, but you caught every light “GREEN!” It is these rare moments of delight, that you wonder if you should test your luck further by grabbing your share of PowerBall tickets. Why not? It’s your lucky day.

But why do these simple, unexpected moments create such bliss?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

Without having to don our white lab coats or diving into complex double-blind experiments, let’s take a moment to appreciate the magic of behavioral economics at play. It tells us something fundamental: we humans are big fans of immediate rewards. When we celebrate these small victories, our brains release dopamine. Yep, that feel-good chemical that makes us ready to conquer our next mini-Kilimanjaro. It’s kind of like the buzz you get from those energy drinks the ‘yutes’ are always chugging minus the heart exploding amounts of caffeine or the buckets of sugar.

Do you ever catch yourself puffing out your chest because you are proud of making your bed three days in a row? (What! Do you think you are better than me? Seriously, who does that?) But let’s put a pin in that; this ritual isn’t about neat sheets or because you had a military dad. It is about setting a positive tone for your day. These seemingly small victories can create a ripple effect, enhancing your decision-making and boosting your motivation. This is crucial, whether you are navigating the world of marketing, running a business, working up the courage to get out of your sleeping clothes, or soldiering through a “case of the Mondays.” It’s about recognizing that these moments can lead to big changes in our attitudes and actions.

So now that we understand that there is some science behind celebrating small victories and it isn’t just Stuart Smalley saying, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it people like me.” How do we make this useful and actionable in our lives?

Stuart Smalley Doggone ItLike we have talked about in the past let’s start small and work to be consistent. We aren’t creating Rome overnight but shooting for small incremental change to build over time. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Celebrate the Small Victories: “Wait isn’t that what we have been talking about?” Yes, but next time you find a great spot close to the store, acknowledge it. Or next time you find that “Jackson” in your pocket, pay for someone else’s lunch magnifying the dopamine effect.
  2. Set Some Realistic Goals: Do something like ‘Get Your Socks Out The Night Before.’ It might not seem like much, but it can have a significant impact on your life. By motivating you to walk thus increasing your health.
  3. Track Your Success: Be a Seinfeld until you can become a Robbins. Recording your success could be your way of creating a pattern of daily success and happiness until you recognize you are the “new” you.
  4. Share Your Victories: Create your own team of accountability partners. By sharing with your family, friends, and even your “friends” on social media you might be surprised by the support and encouragement (even more dopamine) you will receive.

No matter how you decide to celebrate your small victories, just do it. We are each bombarded, daily, with things that seem to be energy vampires and just suck the life out of our joy, but now you can fight back with “SCIENCE” and your own little moments of sunshine, like finishing this blog.

Till Next Time!



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Onion rings in fries

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