I don't know what you're like in your life, but I'm a classic A-type personality, and I have to fight against my A-type tendencies daily in one way or another. With many years of therapy under my belt, and being married to somebody who is the opposite of that, I've learned to be kinder not only to myself, but to those around me as well.
That said, there are definitely times where all that is seen as negative about being a strong, ambitious, driven, and (sometimes) aggressive person takes its toll on me, and that usually starts to happen near the end of every year. It has always been this time of year for me, since it's a natural time for reflection, looking back to see what changes need to be made going forward to achieve one's goals.
And regardless of how incredible my year has been, or the headway that has been made in my career, my family life, or my philanthropic work, I tend to lose the battle of viewing my life glass half full, and fall deep into the pit of all that I haven't accomplished. Even with all the positive self-work (trust me, there's been plenty) I've done over the years, my disappointment with myself still seems to sneak up on me.
My personal battle to see the upside is often lost at this time of year. And the cruel self-talk begins.
This year was no different. As December approached, I found my mood shifted noticeably to what I call "my dark side"... the part of myself where I'm literally unable to see all that is positive in what I've achieved. During this time, I spend too much in competition with myself and using a great deal of energy trying to convince myself that I sucked this year, and made no progress from where I was at this same time last year.
Whether it is my weight (anybody reading this who is in menopause like me knows what I'm talking about) or the strides I had hoped to make in my writing career, my personal battle to see the upside is often lost at this time of year. And the cruel self-talk begins.
This is no way to treat one's self, as you can imagine.
If you tend to become a Debbie Downer like me as the year comes to a close, I wanted to share a few tricks that help snap me out of my funk:
1) Share with a good girlfriend what you're feeling.
Not that girlfriend who tells you the sun is shining when it isn't, but the girlfriend who when you ask for an honest evaluation of how she thinks your year played out, will tell you the honest-to-God truth. The good, bad and ugly. You want a girlfriend who will tell you where you hit it out of the park, and where you might have been able to do things differently to achieve your goals.
2) Sit down and be honest with yourself, write out a list of all the things you have accomplished.
For example, I was just a guest on a radio show due to some traction one of my blogs received and it reminded me that this time last year I had never been on anybody's radio show, ever. Not even once. This year, I was on three times. I also became a regular online contributor, and I wasn't doing that in 2016. So, this is real progress. Tangible and true.
Remind yourself of the little baby steps you took every day toward your goal. I write a daily blog to hone my writing skills, to keep me on my writing toes. So, if like me, every day you woke and did something toward your end goal, chances are you've made strides; it is virtually impossible that we didn't. Sit down and make that list to encourage yourself and give yourself the perspective your soul needs and deserves to keep going.
3) Remind yourself that our time isn't always the right time; trust the timing of the universe.
For me, my top goal was to make headway in getting my first non-fiction book sold. The book hasn't sold yet, in fact I don't even have an agent for it, so right away that must mean it never will sell, because you know, if it didn't happen this year then surely it never will, right?
Wrong. Life takes time. The fruits of labour of a farmer are not recognized in one short year. I was visiting a vineyard in Napa in October and I learned that it takes four years after planting a vine for there to be wine produced from it. Four years. So why am I getting down on myself for not finding an agent for my book within one? Is it because we/I have become accustomed to the "drive-thru" lifestyle? You know what I'm talking about; the expectation that everything is provided for us the moment we ask for it. We can expect this outcome with our fast food, but not in our day-in, day-out lives where efforts are often not immediately rewarded.
4) Finally, remember to always do this one thing for yourself when your load gets heavy and it seems like you're not making any headway in achieving your hopes and dreams. Be kind to yourself. No matter what else you do, or do not do, the number one thing you must get good at nipping in the bud immediately is belittling yourself.
Every step forward is a step in the right direction, and just because a goal wasn't realized in a calendar year doesn't mean that that dream dies when the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31, and rolls into January. How about you look at it as a fresh new year to keep plugging away at your dream, to take the strides that you made in the last twelve months, and to build upon them, and to eventually end up with life of your dreams. Because after all, Rome wasn't built in a day.