While reading The Power of Habit, I came across the very interesting concept of: small wins.

A small win is a concrete, complete, implemented outcome of moderate importance. By itself, one small win may seem unimportant. A series of wins at small but significant tasks, however, reveals a pattern that may attract allies, deter opponents, and lower resistance to subsequent proposals.

In other words, if you manage to chain small wins, you can keep a strong momentum in place and achieve a big win.

The bad kind of Small Wins

Small wins are all around us, but sometimes, they are the bad kind of small wins. Here are some areas in which we experience them:

Social Media

Facebook is the king of small wins. Every new like, comment, message, post by friend etc. is a small win.
This is why we keep on opening that new Facebook tab.


Email, Whatsapp, push notifications, Instant Messaging all provide realtime ‘win’: Someone out there is interested in you.

TV, Series, Shows, Movies

Harry Potter might have aged 10 years throughout the 7 movies, yet you can watch all of this amount of time digested in a couple of hours.
Same goes for series or news on TV. You get the gist in a very short amount of time.
Its very easy to digest and as such, becomes addictive.

That’s why many folks are couch potatoes.

The impact of Small Wins

I’m a heavy gamer and for a while now, you could find me playing League of Legends AND Ogame in the same time. Usually spending a couple of hours worth of time gaming. Yet as I was focusing on Watson I decided to remove both games on Sunday.

What happened next blew my mind away; I realized that games were providing me with small wins. At multiple times during the day.
So, without realizing it, I had gotten addicted to it, and when I spent a full day without my dose of small wins, my moral was depressively low.

Using the Right Small Wins

So, many unconnected small wins are wins that may focally have a good impact on your moral, but may NOT result in a bigger win on the long run, and hence result in the real negative moral in your life.

Accordingly, what I’ve been trying to do focus on the right type, those that make part of a chain and lead somewhere:

  1. Figure out what my end goal is.
  2. Break the goal into multiple simple sub tasks that are measurable and time bound.
  3. Solve each sub task ONE at a time.

What’s also important, is to give credits to the good type of small wins, no matter how small they are.

Do you experiment with small wins in your daily life?

You can also reach me on twitter: @yordaKhof


Content originally appeared on Piotry Blog, adapted with permission for thesociolog.com.