• Kathleen Kiefer, CPDT-KA

Little Wins


When was the last time you started your day with the sun shining, rocked your workout, ate a healthy breakfast and managed to get to your first meeting with time to spare — coffee in hand? That all sounds like the start of a good day. On that day you set yourself up by setting your alarm, having the fridge packed with the right options and perhaps even making sure that new dress shirt was ironed the night before. You feel like a boss. But it takes more than just waking up like that, a little prep goes a long way. We have to set ourselves up for little wins.


Little wins start to become more than just the rare bit of luck. Because once you know that you set yourself up and it worked, you know how to set up to start winning more frequently. If I want to make good nutrition decisions I don’t spend time near the bakery or in a donut shop, instead I’d visit a farmer’s market. I also wouldn’t go to the grocery hungry.


Reinforced behavior continues. Period. This means we also should be aware of what reinforcement is. Reinforcement makes a behavior more likely. Reinforcement isn’t just praise, or food, or that blue ribbon; Reinforcement is the process of (the learner, or dog, or subject) recieving and valuing and striving to get that (reinforcement experience) again. Some people find travel reinforcing, others prefer the sofa and the novelty of a new show on Netflix. Reinforcement is something we seek out.


It’s still sort of the beginning of the year, and I’m usually not much for hard resolutions but I’ve decided It’s high time I begin keeping my body (vessel) in ship-shape. I‘m starting to excercise on the treadmill. Instead of thinking of excuses on my whiteboard I’m tracking my own personal reinforcers for each workout. And knowing what worked might just motivate me to go down and watch that webinar I’ve been putting off. Knowing (and tracking) what my little wins are helps me set myself up for more wins.


“Luck is what happens when preparation meets oppurtunity. “ as said by Seneca the Younger, a Roman Philospher


Quite a bit of what I do when I work as a dog trainer is setting the humans up for little wins. This is what we behavior nerds refer to as “Antecedent Arrangement”. We want to set the stage for the action to be nearly effortless, or if not effortless than easy.



Welcome to my blog, and let me know what you think of this post.


Track some little wins and I’ll catch up with you again soon.

© 2020 Created by Kathleen Kiefer of Louisville, Kentucky USA