As we usher out the old year and prepare to greet the new, it’s a natural time to reflect. Were our goals fulfilled? Our dreams met? Did we prosper as we’d hoped, or merely survive? Did we stay true to ourselves? Did we live our roles as citizens, children, parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, and bosses in a way that makes us proud?
I believe in the power of goals and dreams—and I believe that without them, I would not have accomplished half the things I have.
But our expectations of ourselves seem to grow larger every year, and it’s all too easy to assess our performance and come up short. Perhaps the sting of our failures lasts longer than the pride in our accomplishments, but it’s often easier to remember the New Year’s Resolutions we didn’t keep than the successes we logged. Or to berate ourselves for the mistakes we made, rather than tally the all the smart decisions we made along the way.
I journal, and at this time of year, I’m especially grateful that I do. Because many of my successes are small—tiny steps taken toward a larger goal—and when I look back using only my memory, I don’t see them. So, I spend a few moments every December re-reading my journal entries for the past year, refreshing my memory about the small things.
Yes, I published my first book this year, and I’m very, very proud of that. (I haven’t stopped smiling). But I also attended all of my daughter’s band concerts. I helped an old man who’d fallen on the ice and couldn’t get back up. I successfully wrapped up my father’s estate. I designed my own online ads for Drawn into Darkness. I turned in Bound by Darkness on time. I stuck to my budget. I gave generously to the Salvation Army. I baked gingerbread men for the first time in years.
Little things, but important things. Things that shouldn’t be forgotten.
What “little” things are you proud of accomplishing this year?