Celebrating the little wins

Updated: Mar 9

Do you wait for the big pay off or do you actively celebrate the little wins?

For ourselves

It's easy to set ourselves a goal, maybe its to loose a certain amount of weight, maybe it's to achieve a certain level of success in our career or getting to a championship with our horse. Maybe it's something different entirely, setting these goals can be very motivating, but studies have shown that our brain and ultimately our body doesn't tell the difference between a success thats of huge magnitude compared to a success of something slightly smaller.

The body still releases the same happy hormone, that feeling that makes you tingle a little bit with pride, it doesn't release only a praportion of it when you loose 1kg of weight and then a whole lot more when you loose 10kg, it just releases the 'feel good' vibes and you get a moment of feeling chuffed.


But so often we don't celebrate the 1kg, (I realise you may not actually be trying to loose weight, but go with me) we generally wait and only allow ourselves to celebrate the big goals, the 10kg or even more. But by doing this we miss out entirely on ten oportunities to give ourselves a good old pat on the back and a chance to feel those 'good vibes'.


I know I'm a huge culprate at times to wait until the 'big' wins for a little bit of feel good vibes, and then I don't even pop a cork and pour a glass, I kind of note them but immediatey jump to the next thing. I don't take a moment to really allow that good feeling to marinade, I just Push on to the next goal!


Are you the same?


This year I'm making an effort to not just focus on the big goals, but to look for the tiny wins, the moments that can make me feel good for the little achievements.


For me it's in my riding and training of the horses, instead of looking for the qualification or the big championship goal, (it's still there) but I break down the 'how do I get there' bit and look for the smaller successes along the way.


I make sure whenI feel small improvement I talk about it to someone, instead of a quiet nod towards it I actively engage with it and tell someone about how 'that transition has improved' or how I'm much happier I am with.......


This I have found brings a lightness to my days, a slow tick towards where I want to be, but with little successes thrown in.


And what about our horses


Again, we tend to only give our horses a “well done” once they achieve something to perfection, or achieve the whole “ask”.

Say for example we are working on a transition, we will wait until the transition is fully achieved before rewarding, we may even wait until the transition has been repeated a few times before rewarding.


But there’s a saying in horses “reward every try”, if we only wait until the complete goal has been achieved we also miss out on making our horses feel good, it would be like only telling a child well done once they could write a whole word rather than the gentle encouragement and celebrations we have when they can draw a single letter!


If we don’t reward the small try’s, the horse can easily loose motivation, they ultimately don’t know the whole goal that you have in mind, they just know they’re trying their best to figure it out and are waiting for the nod to say they’re on the right path!

It’s much harder to spot the small ’trys’ it takes more focus to note when the horse attempts the start of something, it’s easier to miss these and only see the final picture, but those small trys are what make up the big picture, hundreds of tiny try’s coming together to form the task you’ve asked of your horse.


In order to keep your horse motivated and happy, rewarding its smallest of try’s in the right direction are key to staying on track and staying connected.


Maybe try it this week, in your life or in your riding, find some little things that would normally go unnoted and celebrate them.


Maybe pop in the comments below what you're celebrating too.....


My celebration…..yesterdays dressage showed a lot more energy and lift, we nailed some transitions and our rein back was soooo much better than a few weekends ago….and even better we stayed between the white boards this week, which I failed to achieve a few weeks ago….whoop!!!