A New York Times op-ed piece I read talked of the book The Confidence Code, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. The Times explained the best advice for self-confidence is not “believe in yourself” but rather “look at what you’ve done in the world.”

This syncs perfectly with two things I’ve written about. In this piece, I wrote about what I learned from Cassie Solomon—that the motivation theory of change is wrong. In the case of the goal of building self-confidence, success would not come from a New Year’s resolution to “believe in yourself,” rather from a system of behaviors to build your self-confidence. And according to the Times piece, and The Confidence Code, the best results would come from looking at your accomplishments.

Why Celebrating Your Progress is Important

Making time to regularly list positives in your life is a proven happiness strategy. (I post a reminder on Facebook to do so each week and if you “Like” the Six Simple Rules Facebook page, you’ll get the reminder each Saturday.)

Celebrating your progress is not only a good thing, it’s also an important thing. Most of us have a tendency to ruminate on the negative things in our lives—the failures, frustrations, and problems. Proactively celebrating your progress helps to balance out or, even better, to overpower the negative thoughts.

While I encourage people to maintain a running list of goals—changes that you would like to make for a better life—I want to be sure that list is not a source of frustration. What I mean is this: Do look at your list of goals for inspiration. Do not look at the list and get frustrated by all that you haven’t done. Instead, regularly celebrate your progress, measuring yourself against where you were, rather than where you want to get to. That will lead to self-confidence, and success will beget success.

I’ll say it again: Measuring where you are against where you want to be is good for inspiration, but do not let it be a source of frustration. Measuring where you are against where you were is celebrating your progress.

Use the Worksheets

On this page you will find two worksheets that you can download and print to work on new habits.

The 21-Day New Habit Tracker worksheet will help you work on one goal at a time. When posted in a prominent location, it will help keep your goal top of mind.

The New Habits and Progress worksheet is used to create two lists: (1) the running list of habits you would like to adopt over 21-day periods and (2) habits you have adopted (to celebrate your progress.)

What are your experiences? Join the conversation with your comments…

Best regards,