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Notice the Extraordinary in the Ordinary for More Joy Each Day

Want a simple habit to bring more joy into your life? Being more aware of the small milestones and happy little moments of daily life is a habit that can be cultivated to increase our sense of fulfillment and well-being. It's easy to get caught up in the energy and anticipation of big events like holidays and weddings, but if they're all we focus on, we miss out on many joys available in our everyday lives. Taking notice of small wins helps us see progress, provides chances for connection as we cheer each other on, and allows us to make treasured memories. Here are some great ways to develop this habit and notice more of the extraordinary moments in our ordinary days.

Look For Those Small Joyful Moments to Celebrate

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The first flowers of spring of the season! The first time your child rides a bike with no training wheels! The day you built up the courage to ask for a date! These are moments that might mean a lot to you, but they're also not going to make the world stop. In the moment, no bells ring to tell you to pause. The ordinary chaos like laundry, dinner and paying bills will not take a break. Pausing to celebrate feels a little silly when things are so busy.

Now Might Not Feel Like the Time

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Now might not feel like the time to pause, but WAIT, if this isn't an important moment, what really is? Developing the habit of looking for these little moments requires a bit fo slowing down, but it's worth it. These small victories make up the stuff of life that we really want to remember. These are the little markers in our life that say, “You've done it!  Hooray!!” And if we don't slow down enough to celebrate them, no one will do it for us.

Celebrations Don't Have to Be Complicated

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Celebrations don't need to be elaborate or take a lot of pre-planning. Celebrating the small stuff is about making a commitment to take a little pause and say, ‘Hey, this is good.' Here are 10 ways to celebrate small wins in your family…

Hang a Banner or a Bunting

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Hang a banner, bunting or  streamers. You got a promotion? Your child passed a big test? Alright! Let's hang up the colorful streamers and have a visual reminder to enojoy that sense of accomplishment.

Take a Treat Outdoors

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Going outside to have a special treat sets it apart from the day-to-day and makes it memorable. You can have a picnic, a celebration tea party with some cookies, or simply brew up some tea or hot cocoa and take it out on the front porch.

Have a Celebratory Meal

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Make a meal that says, “We're Celebrating!”  Whether it's making pancakes and having breakfast for dinner, putting flowers on the table, or having ice cream for dessert. It doesn't have to be big; just a little out of your routine can make it feel special.

Make a Memory Keeping Box or Jar

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You can jot down lovely moments and store them in a jar or a box. If you make a memory box you can add little treasures or charms for these special moments. 

Light a Candle

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Light a candle at dinner. Include talking about the small victories of your day in your family's dinner time rituals.

Make Some Art

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Paint, draw or doodle about this milestone. Or ask your child to draw a picture to commemorate the victory and then display it proudly. 

Write It Down

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Write the story down. If you enjoy journaling, writing down small wins in a gratitude journal can be a way to take note of things that matter. If you have young kids, they may like hearing the story of their own accomplishments as a bedtime story.

Take a Drive

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Take a family drive together. Is there a beautiful location near your home? You can celebrate by taking a drive and looking at a beautiful view.

Share the News!

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Call Grammy and tell her! Share online in whichever space feels best to you! Let the people who love you celebrate with you. Write about it – or scrap-book it, or share wherever you like to share family news and then call your kids over and show them so they can see that you're telling people how great they are!

Make a Celebration All Your Own

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Whether it's buying yourself flowers, taking a hike, or doing a dance, finding unique ways to celebrate that feel good to you is worth it.

Celebrations of Meaningful Moments Build Connection and Resilience

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Taking time to pause and celebrate helps us build connections with the people we love. These moments can add to our sense of community and help us build resilience and a feeling that we matter.

If This Isn't Nice, I Don't Know What Is

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Are you paying enough attention to the small wins, or are they slipping away in the daily grind? Next time you notice one of these small moments of success or happiness, I hope, that you take a second to celebrate.  As Kurt Vonnegut Jr. put it, “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.”

Author: Alissa Zorn

Title: Trauma-Informed Coach

Expertise: childhood emotional neglect, perfectionism, parenting, journaling, comics, doodling, coaching

Alissa Zorn is the founder of She's a trauma-informed coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa has been featured on the Good Men Project, Wealth of Geeks, Motherly, and more.