The Award Worth Winning

Competition is everywhere. We compete in activities with the goal of being the best. We celebrate when our children get first place in a contest. We cheer our favorite sports teams to victory. We even race to be first into the store on Black Friday. While winning feels great in the moment, I think there is a different prize that is perhaps even more rewarding in the long term: “Most Improved.” Admittedly, this isn’t as flashy as “Best” or “First,” but it actually represents a bigger victory, because:

Improvement requires true personal investment.

You can’t slide your way into “Most Improved.” Natural talent is irrelevant, as is luck. Instead, this distinction is about showing up every day and tenaciously refusing to quit.

Improvement represents progress.

Improvement doesn’t measure where you start or where you stop, but rather the distance between the two points. Few things feel better than looking back and seeing that you have come a long way.

Progress builds confidence.

Confidence soars when we try something we feel uncertain about and then have success. Of course, it is natural to stumble at some points along the way, but whenever we prove to ourselves that we can reach a goal(even a very small goal), it increases our willingness to reach a bit further.

The competition is primarily “in house.”

So often we get caught up in comparing ourselves to others.This can be very discouraging, partly because we never clearly see the insides of other peoples’ lives, and partly because each of us is walking along a unique path. No one is the “best” at everything. We all have strengths and weaknesses. When we pursue “Most Improved,” we can free ourselves from looking around and focus strictly on what we want to achieve.

Looking into the future

As we draw to the close of another calendar year, many of us start to think about things we might wish to improve or do differently over the next 12 months. I believe there is validity to the idea of starting fresh everyJanuary 1st. Over the past few years I’ve run a variety of different“Get Organized” challenges in January, such as The Digital Declutter Challenge, Thirty Things to Store and the GO! Challenge. You can access these challenges on my blog at any point – after all, there is never a bad time to get organized!

This year, I’m shifting focus a bit. My goal for January will be to motivate you to achieve whatever goal you may have, be it to simplify, to declutter, to get organized… or to do something completely different. Each day I will be posting an image and a motivating thought, both here and over on my Instagram feed.

Change is difficult. It requires us to shake up existing patterns, try new things and figure out how to overcome pop-up hurdles. We can all use a cheering section, and a reminder that we are not alone as we seek to learn, grow, improve and be healthier. Most of us start off with great intentions and lofty resolutions, but then discard them before the month is over. My desire for “A Month of Motivation” is to help you have a successful experience this year.

31 thoughts on “The Award Worth Winning”

    1. Thanks, Ellen. It can be hard to stay motivated, no matter what we are trying to achieve. Encouraging people is very energizing to me, so I am hopeful that this new initiative will provide that extra burst of “you can do it” to those who stop by!

  1. Ahhh. What a beautiful way to encourage each of us to begin the New Year. I’m looking forward to seeing your January motivation posts. Because truthfully, we can all use motivation and a cheering section, even the most motivated among us. Just last night I was reading habit change. Those ingrained habits (good and bad) are very challenging to alter, but there are ways to do it, with small substitutions. However, I also believe that the motivation or cheering you on piece plays another important role. So thank you in advance for being there for all of us in pursuit of new goals, better habits, and continual improvement.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…5 Tips for More “Happy” in the HolidaysMy Profile

    1. I am greatly enjoying this new direction for GO! Month. Encouraging people is one of my passions, so I am hopeful that this small initiative will provide an extra voice of motivation for everyone who stops by. So fun to have this chance to channel my inner cheerleader and come alongside those who are trying so hard and longing for a change!

    1. I keep trying to stretch in new directions. I am hoping these thoughts and images will help people stay on track and achieve whatever goals they are pursing. Thank you for your support and interesting, and I’ll be looking forward to your feedback:)

  2. This is wonderful! I’m the type of person who prefers sudden change to gradual transition, but I’ve come to realize that’s not always feasible. With the end of the year looming and holidays in the mix, I’ve realized that January 1 isn’t going to mark the beginning of new things, as I’d pictured it, but one more day of my life and business journey.
    Janet Barclay recently posted…Planning for Your Best Year EverMy Profile

    1. I’ve grown more and more convicted that “slow and steady” change is incredibly powerful. Sometimes we get “stuck” because can’t make the big changes that we want to make. So much better for us to embrace what we can do and keep stepping forward. Hindsight is often we can most clearly see the progress we have made.

    1. I love that motto, Hazel. I didn’t realize that was your tagline – how wonderful! Progress is always possible, and it really does make us feel happy:)

  3. I like how you write about ‘pop-up hurdles.’ We’re so busy improving and moving out of our comfort zone that we’re surprised when those pop-up hurdles appear and stop us in our tracks. With you as our cheering section in January, we’ll have no problem when those hurdles begin to appear. I look forward to your motivating images and thoughts!

  4. Most improved really is an amazing achievement that many of us overlook. I look forward to your motivational month of posts in January, that’s a wonderful idea to start off the year!

  5. I appreciate the reminder about keeping any comparisons “in house.” There are so many ways to evaluate the activities and results of a year. Even if it didn’t turn out as I had hoped at the beginning of the year, there probably are accomplishments that I didn’t anticipate. Each person is on their own unique journey!

    1. I agree that we need to focus on what we did achieve, instead of focusing on shortfalls. Sometimes life comes at us from a direction we didn’t anticipate. We shift to respond, and end up going in a direction we never would have planned. But we still learned and grew and accomplished, which is worth celebrating!

  6. I felt motivated from the beginning of your post. In fact I was thinking about how overwhelming it seemed when I started my professional career. I felt like I wasn’t good enough through so many intervals of my career. I now look back and see the magic I’ve had sleeping inside me all along. Your words of “most improved” are very inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I think most of us feel this way about our businesses, even if we have been established for a while. There always seems to be more we should or could be doing. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to look back and see how far you have come and all that you have accomplished? Hope you’ll enjoy the entire month, Elva!

  7. Though I think my favorite set of January posts is your video series, I think I’m definitely going to be a fan of this one! I’ll never forget my senior chorale concert in high school and the music teacher gave out awards. I received the “Most Improved” which I think some found surprising (my father was a wedding and singer and had his own band), but it just went to show that often times you aren’t born with natural talent, but have to work hard to cultivate it.

    1. I love to sing, and I find most people can sing, even if they don’t think they can. What a great prize to win! Hopefully this will be a fun series too:)

  8. Well, now I’m all excited for 2019.I love awards worth winning.
    Like Sarah, I remember your video series. I totally love blogging in January because while most of us remain consistent throughout the year, there’s still something about the tricks we all have up our sleeves to really bring it in the new year.

    1. It’s fun to try and think up something new to do each year. I start planning in the summer, usually with the help of my daughter who likes stirring the creative juices:) Looking forward to all you have to share in 2019 Tamara. Merry Christmas!

    1. I hope it will be a month of encouragement and inspiration as everyone pursues their resolutions:) I hope you guys have a very happy holiday, Jessica. Thanks for the great information you share all year!

  9. Seana, so inspired by this post! Competition with myself is my goal not comparison to others (definitely easier said than done). I also try to focus on improving skills and area that require effort rather than measuring God given talents (that while I am thankful for, I have no control over). Thank you for the reminder to focus on these principles in my life again.

    1. Something I need to keep reminding myself of as well, Susan. We all have our gifts from God, as well as opportunities for growth:) I know YOU have many gifts that you so beautifully share on your blog. Happy New Year, Susan!

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