I am writing my list: the list of all the things I am proud I have accomplished in 2011. It sounds kind of inspiring, but in fact it encompasses mostly modest things like giving up running yellow lights, reducing my sugar intake and taking good care of my dog after his leg surgery.
The list titled "Things I Am Proud of in 2011" also includes slightly more challenging accomplishments such as obtaining my NLP training, recovering completely from a chronic muscular imbalance and sticking to the thrice-weekly yoga program. Some of the things on my list are purely professional, like writing a 3,000 word article for every issue of Motivated Magazine, or creating a totally new keynote address, but most are personal.
I started making a yearly list six years ago when I was up skiing for the New Years holidays. My friend and I got talking about New Years resolutions, primarily on how many we hadn't stuck to. We both had a tendency to create resolutions that were primarily aspirational, things so big that they would take years to actually accomplish.
In our culture we simply don't celebrate enough. We don't reflect enough about what we are proud of, what we are grateful for, what we have already accomplished. Before making a new list of what we want to achieve, I think it is essential that we take some time to reflect on what we have already achieved.
My yearly list highlights where I have spent my energy, what I have prioritized and what has gotten my attention. It is very easy to let a year slip by and not acknowledge how much that year has actually held, how many small victories have been won, the advances we have made in the direction of a dream. Most people think of an accomplishment as something really big, but I think an accomplishment is anything you have done to move you forward in your life, whether it is leaving a destructive relationship, taking a course, or writing your first article for a magazine. I have succeeded in many of my goals by acknowledging the teeny weeny steps I have taken, by patting myself on the back and celebrating the smallest of accomplishments.
We spend much of our mental energy beating ourselves up for the things we are not, for the times we have failed or disappointed ourselves. I think we could put that energy to far better use by changing the focus to find some things we are proud of. That brings me back to the list: Things I Am Proud of in 2011. Why not make your own before starting a second list: "Things I Would Like to Achieve in 2012."