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Why you should celebrate small victories

Connie has kept a detailed spreadsheet of her progress, highlighting her small victories.

Story highlights

  • Connie Sievers is preparing to complete her first-ever triathlon
  • Looking forward can be overwhelming, so Connie is looking back
  • Follow Connie's journey on Twitter @TriHardConnie

Just what did I get myself into?

There are times when I ask myself that very question. When I look too far ahead and think about swimming a half-mile in the ocean, or biking 18 very hilly miles, I have moments when I want to stop, turn around and run away.

Then I remember what I've learned about celebrating small victories.

After watching my children compete in a triathlon last September, I started learning how to swim. At that time, I could not swim more than five yards at a time without gasping for air, let alone swim in the ocean. I also started walking. I had not jogged or run since high school. That was more than 34 years ago.

I even pulled my 18-year-old mountain bike down from the bike rack in the garage and started riding it again. Yes, riding a bike is like, well, riding a bike. But my rear end and knees had to learn how to do it comfortably all over again.

During this training, I have been keeping a detailed spreadsheet of my progress. This spreadsheet has been critical in my journey.

    If I only look ahead, I might let the fear win and give up. The spreadsheet lets me look back at the improvements that I have made thus far. It empowers me to keep moving forward.

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    I keep a separate column on the spreadsheet for my small victories. I highlight the victories in bright colors, so I notice them often:

    "Day 1 = Off the couch"

    "First day to swim 25 yards without stopping"

    "Jogged 5 minutes without stopping"

    "Waist measurement down 5 inches"

    The list of victories goes on and on. When I realized I could jog for six minutes, I wondered if I could jog for a full mile without stopping. I DID! At that moment, I felt like I could accomplish anything.

    Just what did I get myself into? I have jumped off of the couch and set myself on a journey to wellness, accomplishing small victory after small victory. And with each victory comes the motivation to keep moving forward.

    A hundred small victories will push me to the finish line in Malibu!