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31 Little ‘Wins’ We Rarely Celebrate But Should

This month, elevate your life by acknowledging these small but mighty accomplishments.

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illustration of woman celebrating her personal wins
Alyah Holmes
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When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back for something simple like not hitting the snooze button or cooking instead of ordering out? Not recently? Never? That’s not surprising. We tend to be so focused on chasing the big goals that we often overlook the everyday victories.

Another reason we miss the small achievements? “As people, we have what’s called the negativity bias, where our brains tend to hold on and remember the negative information more than the positive,” says Catherine J. Mills, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist in Portsmouth, Virginia. “Celebrating small wins helps to counter [the negativity bias] and can help you live not just a happier life but possibly a healthier one since it should ultimately help reduce your stress,” she says.

Plus, acknowledging minor successes makes you feel good, boosts your confidence and motivates you to keep going, leading to more wins — big and small.

Check out these tiny triumphs that deserve major applause.

  1. You woke up feeling refreshed. That’s a sign your sleep quality is on point.
  2. This weather. Go outside. Now that spring is near, the warmer temps and fresh air are wins for all of us!
  3. You got in some physical activity. Even if it was only 10 minutes or not your best effort, you moved your body.
  4. You cleaned something. Not up for tackling your entire home right now? Cleaning one room or doing a single load of laundry is one step closer.
  5. Saying “no.” “Checking in with yourself and recognizing when you’ve reached your capacity or when something just doesn’t feel like it’s serving you is a win,” says Joy Pate, a licensed clinical social worker in Los Angeles, California.
  6. You ate fruit or veggies. Even if you didn’t get the recommended 4 to 5 servings today, you’re baby-stepping your way to a healthier diet.
  7. You faced the day. Sometimes, simply getting out of bed, taking a shower and making it to work is worthy of celebration, says Dr. Mills.
  8. You checked yourself. As much as you wanted to go off on you-know-who, you kept your cool.
  9. Crossing something off your to-do list. One task (or writing the list, period) is a victory.
  10. That mistake or wrong decision was a lesson. Did you learn from your mess up? If yes, awesome!
  11. Any drop on the scale. If you are trying to lose weight, dropping even a pound puts you closer to your goal.
  12. Stepping outside your comfort zone. “When you’re pushing yourself outside of what feels comfortable, that’s where you find the most growth,” says Pate.
  13. You talked to someone new. Chatting with someone outside your usual peeps can help you expand your social circle, boost your mood and increase your knowledge.
  14. You said, “Yes.” Bravo for being open to new opportunities or doing something you really want to do.
  15. Choosing the healthier option. Passed on a juicy burger and fries and instead went with roasted rosemary chicken and potatoes? Good job!
  16. Having something to look forward to. Anticipation can help you through challenging times since you know something goodlike meeting a specific goal or an upcoming birthday party — is happening in the future, says Dr. Mills.
  17. You finished work on time. Girl, get out of there and enjoy your day!
  18. Someone complimented you. Accept the compliment! You did that!
  19. You complimented someone. It's your turn to spread some positivity. Giving compliments boosts the recipient’s mood and makes you feel good, too.
  20. You hit the pause button to beat stress. “Checking in with yourself and recognizing what it is you need, and then honoring it, whether that’s a break, mid-day nap or day off, is extremely important,” says Pate.
  21. You learned something new. Yes, a random fun fact or TikTok dance counts.
  22. You saved a little. Even if you don’t have a stash that could cover you for three to six months, small savings add up.
  23. You let it go. Remember, holding on to anger or grudges is “like drinking poison and expecting the other person to be harmed,” says Dr. Mills.
  24. Something was funny. Laughter helps relieve stress and tension. If you haven’t laughed today, watch one of these funny Black TV shows.
  25. Finding a great parking spot. Yes!
  26. Time spent with family and friends. Cherish those moments.
  27. You read a book. Regardless if it's twenty pages or two, it's progress.
  28. Prioritizing yourself. Self-care comes with plenty of benefits.
  29. Drinking more water. Way to go! Especially if it means you downed less of the sugary stuff.
  30. You and your honey are A-OK. If all is good at the moment, enjoy!
  31. You asked for help. Seeking support, be it for a listening ear, advice or help from a mental health professional, may seem small, but it’s a huge accomplishment, says Dr. Mills.
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