No, this isn’t a post about Charlie Sheen (thank God). But it is a post about winning. Not that all-out uber-aggressive kind of winning either, but small wins. When learning something new or improving a skill you already possess, I’m finding that those tiny little victories are what make me keep going.

Take learning a new programming language, for instance. We all traditionally have learned “Hello World” as our first “words” in any language. Why? It’s simple, easy to understand, and gives you your first win. That win is what gives you the confidence to tell yourself, “Hey, I can do this!” Learning a new technology (or a new sport) can be daunting if you immediately aim for the hardest task out there. Start slow and give yourself LOTS of little wins along the way.

Training for my half-marathon later this year, I didn’t go out and run 13.1 immediately just to see how it felt — if I did, I probably would never run again! The meat of my training consists of small wins: 30 minute training runs three times a week, and one long run every other week. The long runs help you build up that base, but without those little training runs during the week, you’re apt to injure yourself and be off for a few weeks. My little wins during the long run consist of a few gummi worms after I hit the 5 mile mark. It’s just a little bit of sugar to perk me up and keep me moving, and it lifts my spirits a bit. Goofy, I know. :)

Treat yourself to some wins when you’re improving yourself. If that means a scoop of ice cream on a Saturday because you rocked every single workout during the week, GO FOR IT! But make sure you’re also treating yourself to some wins when you train though too (hopefully of the non-caloric variety). This could be picking a playlist of your favorite songs, or saving that fun podcast for your hard workout so you have a bit of distraction. If you’re programming, it could be taking thirty minutes and working on the code YOU want to work on, just for fun.

Capitalize on your victories, no matter how small and insignificant they might seem. Every single one is a confidence builder, and will keep you coming back for more. Go on, keep WINNING!