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Why you should celebrate small victories

By Connie Sievers, Special to CNN
updated 7:00 AM EST, Fri February 7, 2014
Connie has kept a detailed spreadsheet of her progress, highlighting her small victories.
Connie has kept a detailed spreadsheet of her progress, highlighting her small victories.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Connie Sievers is preparing to complete her first-ever triathlon
  • Looking forward can be overwhelming, so Connie is looking back
  • Follow Connie's journey on Twitter @TriHardConnie

Editor's note: Connie Sievers is one of six CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program. Follow the "Sassy Six" on Twitter and Facebook as they train to race the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on September 14.

(CNN) -- Just what did I get myself into?

There are times when I ask myself that very question. When I look too far ahead and think about swimming a half-mile in the ocean, or biking 18 very hilly miles, I have moments when I want to stop, turn around and run away.

Then I remember what I've learned about celebrating small victories.

After watching my children compete in a triathlon last September, I started learning how to swim. At that time, I could not swim more than five yards at a time without gasping for air, let alone swim in the ocean. I also started walking. I had not jogged or run since high school. That was more than 34 years ago.

I even pulled my 18-year-old mountain bike down from the bike rack in the garage and started riding it again. Yes, riding a bike is like, well, riding a bike. But my rear end and knees had to learn how to do it comfortably all over again.

During this training, I have been keeping a detailed spreadsheet of my progress. This spreadsheet has been critical in my journey.

Fit Nation team starts journey to tri

If I only look ahead, I might let the fear win and give up. The spreadsheet lets me look back at the improvements that I have made thus far. It empowers me to keep moving forward.

I keep a separate column on the spreadsheet for my small victories. I highlight the victories in bright colors, so I notice them often:

"Day 1 = Off the couch"

"First day to swim 25 yards without stopping"

"Jogged 5 minutes without stopping"

"Waist measurement down 5 inches"

The list of victories goes on and on. When I realized I could jog for six minutes, I wondered if I could jog for a full mile without stopping. I DID! At that moment, I felt like I could accomplish anything.

Just what did I get myself into? I have jumped off of the couch and set myself on a journey to wellness, accomplishing small victory after small victory. And with each victory comes the motivation to keep moving forward.

A hundred small victories will push me to the finish line in Malibu!

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