Surgeon, public health researcher and writer Atul Gawande set out to find a solution to decrease problems in the operating room, and the answer was simpler than you may think.

He found that in situations where surgeons were making errors, it wasn’t more training that they needed; it was checklists. He found that complications fell by 38% and death rates fell by 48% simply by adding a checklist with simple things like introducing yourself to everyone in the room and making sure you’ve confirmed which side of the body to operate on.

So how does that help you and me?

Well, if you think about the basic things that happen to you on a good day, you can make a checklist of those occurrences, to ensure that you have more good days. Not only will it help you remember what your basic needs are, it will help you to feel good about making daily progress in areas of your life that really matter to you. Every day, check off the things on your list that you attain, and you will feel successful.

Keeping what is important to you at the top of your mind every day will help you win your day and experience the power of making progress in areas of life that are important to you. When you collect consistent small wins, it boosts positive emotions and self-motivation. Life is the accumulation of days, and the small meaningful wins lead to a life well lived.

If you think about it, most of the areas we want to improve are not improved by one big act but by the small things we do every single day. So, ask yourself: What has to happen today to help me feel successful? And then make a check list to guide you every day.

Here is an example of my Great Day Checklist in 3 areas of my life:

Body and Health
– Work out at least 30 minutes 6 days a week
– Drink 64 ounces of water
– Meditate at least 15 minutes
– Keep a food journal

Parenting
– Read a bedtime story to the girls
– Wake up at 6am so I am ready when they wake up
– Spend at least 10 minutes alone with each child
– Praise each child for at least one job well done
– Stop working when kids get home

Relationship
– Express gratitude or appreciation at least once daily
– No working after 5pm except when doing monthly webinars
– No work on Sundays whenever possible
– Date night once a month

Write down 3 – 4 key areas of life and think about what are small wins you can make every day that will help you experience the power of progress in your life. Here are some areas to consider:

– Body / Health
– Parenting
– Relationships
– Finances
– Education
– Spirituality
– Service
– Creativity
– Time management

Make that checklist and keep it somewhere you can see it often. Notice how good it feels when you check off a box; it’s positively addicting.

Let me know how it goes. I would love to see your checklist.