I remember the first time I heard the idea of ‘celebrating the small stuff’. I was working in a non-profit ministry where the gains of my work were small, few and far-between. The reality was, if I waited for any big, grand successes to come I’d be waiting a long while. In the midst of this setting I began to learn the importance of celebrating along the way.
I suppose I should clarify what I mean when I say ‘celebrate the small stuff’. First, what do I mean by small stuff? Simply put, those small or minor gains, triumphs, milestones, gifts or successes in life. Practically speaking, it’s not just the graduation from 12 years of school, but those small steps that take you there – papers finished, progression in projects, etc. Throughout graduate school my family and I would do small things to mark small successes (going out to ice cream was always my first choice).
Now then, what does it look like to celebrate? Again, simply put, do something out of the ordinary to mark or set apart. This could be as simple as treating yourself to a favorite restaurant, staying up a little later than normal to watch a favorite show, buying something you’ve been wanting, taking a road trip for a small getaway, or going to the park (or ice cream parlor) with the family.
Here are just a few reasons why I’ve come to find celebrating the small stuff as so important in any and all aspects of life.
Gratitude – By marking off those small successes along the way, you focus your attention on being grateful during the process. It’s often very easy to get so caught up with the end goal that we miss the little joys along the way.
Encouragement – What’s the easiest way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I have found that when I mark small victories along the way, I find myself more encouraged to continue working towards my end goal. Whereas, if all I have is my end goal in mind, I might easily get swallowed up in the thousand and one parts that it takes to get me there.
Attention – I can become so enamored with a project that my tunnel vision tends to exclude anyone or thing that is not a part of my primary goal. This is not entirely a bad thing, after all it gets a lot accomplished. However, when I stay in tunnel vision I tend to miss the other gifts along the way. Stopping to celebrate gives me the time and sight to pay attention to the smaller gifts I might have missed out on had I not taken a minute to celebrate.
Community – No one in life has ever achieved any kind of success without a community around them (whether they recognized it at the time or not). When I celebrate the small stuff I do so with those who have contributed- in however small a way- which in turn helps me remember that it’s not all about me.
Here are a few questions to help get you started:
What has been going well in your marriage/relationship over the past few months that wasn’t there before?
What have you seen as an area of growth in your child(ren) this past year?
What’s been going ‘right’ in your vocation that has helped you move closer to where you want to be?
What’s an area of life that you have seen personal growth and development in lately?
Leave some comments on how you have celebrated the small stuff.