How to Track Your Success in Life: Keep a Victory Log

Don’t overlook the positive steps you’re taking

Keeping track of the good along with the bad. Image by Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

A Victory Log reminds you that you ARE making progress, even when you feel like you’re beating your head against a wall. Because it doesn’t matter what you do. Engineer. Doctor. Writer. Teacher. Parent. Everyone gets discouraged.

Little things go wrong. Think Shania Twain, “Honey, I’m Home and I’ve Had a Hard Day..”

The car won’t start, it’s falling apart
I was late for work and the boss got smart
My panty line shows, got a run in my hose
My hair went flat, man, I hate that

Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse
I realized I forgot my purse
With all this stress, I must confess
This could be worse than PMS…

I broke a nail opening the mail
I cursed out loud ’cause it hurt like hell
This job’s a pain, it’s so mundane
It sure don’t stimulate my brain…

Big things go wrong, too. Divorces and deaths. Financial problems. Medical emergencies. Disobedient children. Ailing parents. Home repair problems. Co-worker conflicts, relationship issues, and a general lack of time.

When you feel like problems are overwhelming you… If you’re thinking that nothing you do is right… If you feel like you’re working as hard as you can and getting nowhere, start a “Victory Log.”

What’s a Victory Log?

The impetus for my victory log came from a biweekly conference call with two of my long-distance writing partners. They were both making money as writers. While I’m writing every day, marketing myself, and searching for clients, I’m not making any financial headway. That’s when my friend suggested I keep a victory log.

A Victory Log is a personal journal of the small good things that happen to you and indicate growth. If you’re a parent, you might remember those Baby Books where you recorded the “firsts” of your infant’s life. “Oh, today he cooed.” “She said her first word. I swear she said, ‘mama!.’” First laughs, first crawl, first roll-over, first steps. You get the idea.

A Victory Log is like that. You record those baby steps and over time, you’ll see the growth, momentum, and forward progress in your life. Our assignment was to keep a list of feedback, compliments, positive actions, comments, relationships, awards, publication, or new networking opportunities — whatever GOOD things happened to us that week.

Charting Success Instead of Failure

One of my fellow colleagues on Medium, Danny Forest, wrote about the need to keep a Fail Journal. His starting premise is the same as mine:

No matter how successful you are in life, you’ll always have moments where things won’t go as well as you expected them to.

But he takes it a step further by saying that the more successful you are, the more you’re like to fail. Danny Forest says,

In fact, I’d even argue that the more successful you are, the more “failures” you accumulate. People who do more achieve more, but as a consequence, they also “fail” more.

That makes me feel a little better, but I don’t agree with his premise that I need to keep track of my failures. Believe me, I remember each and every one of them with stunning, painful clarity.

So I’ll take the opposite approach and chronicle the little victories of my life which I tend to overlook.

Baby Steps, Baby Steps…

Try it. You’ll find that you can’t see the big picture of personal and professional growth unless you note the tiny, incremental steps you’re achieving to get there.

  • Did you meet your work goals this week? Write down what you accomplished.
  • Did you meet your fitness, or finance goals? Note what you accomplished.
  • Did you have a great conversation with a friend or a colleague that opened the door to a better relationship or working opportunity?
  • Were you able to go out and eat at a new place? Prepare a new food dish? Lose weight? Stay on a diet?
  • Did you learn any interesting facts, read a compelling article, or enjoy a great book?
  • Did anyone give you a sincere compliment?
  • Did you help anyone or make someone else’s day better?
  • Did you have any new ideas? Come up with new strategies?

So far, my Victory Log includes the curation of a couple of pieces, a free hour to read in the sunshine, five completed posts, a couple of job applications, a mention by a fellow Medium writer, Helen Cassidy Page, a productive, uninterrupted day of writing, and a husband supportive of my writing career, (non-lucrative to this point,) who brought me lush, deep red roses as a token of his love.

Writing down my baby steps to success made me feel better. I see that I’m not standing still. Every step I make, every day I work, every moment I spend growing my business is valuable. (It may not be FAST, but it’s valuable.)

Tracking my small victories is a way of tracking my success in life. It reminds me that people are not often overnight successes. They succeed after years of hard work, after overcoming challenges, and after persevering, one baby step at a time. I can do it, too.

Discouragement can be temporary-or it can destroy our life. The choice is ours. If we refuse to deal with discouragement head-on, we are opening the door for it to completely dominate our life. — Charles Stanley

I choose to deal with discouragement head-on with a Victory Log.

My booties….I mean, boots… are made for walking. Just watch me stride toward success, one small step at a time, ready to take a victory lap whenever possible.

Walking toward success: Photo: Shutterstock

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Writer, teacher, speaker, and observer of human nature. Creative content for the literary world. Follow me at, Twitter, or Facebook.

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