What personal healthy vitality goals are you currently working toward?  Is is losing weight, going fully whole food plant based or maybe it's adding a new exercise routine?  If we're serious about the goals we set for ourselves then we also create a simple (and hopefully written down) action plan of things we must do to reach our goals.  We also usually have fun visions of how we hope to celebrate with family and friends once we are "there!"

But - Are we slowing down often enough to acknowledge and celebrate all our little successes along the way?   Even with the very first step we take toward our goals, we have a reason for celebrating....the fact that we HAVE taken that first step!  Or, what about celebrating that we stuck with our action plans for one whole week already. And, we really need to at least pat ourselves on the back to celebrate those times we had to (and did!) dig deep for motivation to keep ourselves on track (e.g. a lack of sleep, our day is crammed full of must do's plus we have gotten hit with too many unplanned surprise to do's, etc.).  

It was during my first year of law school that I learned the HUGE value of staying aware of (and celebrating!) the small steps that make a difference in our journeys . Call them baby steps perhaps, but every single step we take toward obtaining our goals is very much a part of the fiber that ultimately weaves our success stories.  

If I had focused merely on graduating and the bar exam, I truly don't think I would have made it. Why not?  Because there were LOTS of times, both of those things seemed very, VERY far away with a zillion miles of challenges in between being in law school and becoming a full fledged lawyer.  

Law school as a Mom blessed with three awesome sons at age 35 came bundled with many challenges for myself and our family of 5.  I learned quickly, however,  to take note of, to be grateful for and to celebrate all the little stuff that my family and I achieved together and individually.  Even if the so-called celebration was merely a private moment of grateful awareness, I fortunately became very in tune with each forward moving accomplishment -- each step -- that inched me closer and closer to the final goal.

So what were some of those small step celebrations?  A few of them are shared below.

  • I survived the very first week of law school, then the second, then the first month, semester and so on ---- as did my family with adjusting to our new family dynamics, new surroundings and more. All were worth noting, appreciating and celebrating by golly!
  • Our boys got to reverse roles and play the parent when they caught me watching tv or relaxing when they thought I should be studying.  Most all of my studies and long hours of reading the law, however, were actually done after they were already in bed at night (good thing I was lots younger back then!).  Nevertheless, they got quite a kick out of reminding me that I had homework to do.
  • I got to enjoy after school time with our sons...something I did not get to do on the week days when working full time as a law office manager/paralegal in my pre-law days. Time with my awesome, supportive family and friends played a HUGE role in enhancing my daily mental health -- both essential and invaluable "steps" to my moving steadily toward the goal of graduating from law school.
  • This next one was not small at all, but one of the biggest gifts in my life and one that continues to warm my heart ----- My beloved father-in-law and I were very close before law school so it was a bit surprising that our bond grew even stronger in the midst of my law school journey.  While at first, he was actually very much against my going to law school, he ended up pretty quickly becoming one of my biggest supporters.  He would send me personal notes, legal articles, cartoons and all sorts of law related quips and quotes during my years at Carolina.  Once he saw that this atypical-for-the-80's family journey was not going to break us up and that we were indeed enjoying it (most days that is🤪) and we were pulling it off....well....let's just say his words at the family graduation luncheon said it all....he was explaining to everyone how thrilled he was to be celebrating my law school graduation with me and all our family.  At the end of his heartwarming, humorous and uplifting toast, and with a big smile on his face, he said, "I have never enjoyed eating crow more!"  I miss him and the very deep, loving relationship I was blessed to share with both of my husband's parents...our bond was and still is forever strong in spite of our many differences, different life styles and of course, age differences.  

By the way, as a family we celebrated the many small steps/successes we each achieved during the law school years in many ways (e.g. after surviving another semester, a son's good grades, my grades and so much more)?  Sometimes, we would go pick up a popular DVD rental movie (these were the ol' Block Buster days for those that remember) or we would spluge and pick up supper at a favorite take out.  

So whatever our goals may be for a healthier vitality life style or otherwise, let's not be so focused on the bigger ending or so busy that we lose sight of all our small successes along the way.  It may be our first 2 pounds lost, the half mile walked or perhaps our first whole week of plant based meals.  All these things and so many more are a big deal although they may look like and be called the small stuff or mere baby steps.  Not true --  for they are the foundation of what slowly but surely helps us get to those beautiful moments when our goals become our realities.  Bottom line - our small successes along the way are definitely worth staying aware of, being grateful for and celebrating by golly!🌻

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About the author 

Nancy Byerly Jones

Nancy Byerly Jones and her husband reside on their mountainside ranch (“Little Hee Haw Farm”) with an energetic “family” of horses, donkeys (large and miniature), dogs and cats. Their favorite pastime is sharing the joy and fun of their animals and ranch life with their family, friends and clients.

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