It is that time of the year when we start looking at our life and assessing how far we are from where we want to be.
We begin setting new goals and targets for our personal and professional life.
While all this may be necessary, there is also a great way to complete a year and welcome the new one, and that is reflecting on how far we have come!
In this article, I will share with you the importance of counting small wins to your yearly success, and how to reflect on the past year.
Why The Small Wins?
We are ambitious creatures and always aim for the better, which can sometimes make us lose sight of what we have already achieved, what has manifested into our life, and our big and small successes. Besides getting that promotion, finding the right job, reaching our ideal weight, buying a new car/house, or having a happy relationship, there are the small, yet significant accomplishments that we may overlook because they are not grand enough for us and people to acknowledge.
Here are some accomplishments that you may have overlooked this year:
Waking up every morning and showing up to that job you don’t necessarily enjoy.
Smiling when you don’t have a reason to.
Powering through a health challenge.
Having a tough conversation that you didn’t think you’d survive.
Getting told off by your boss, but still doing your work and smiling whenever you saw them.
Cheering up your friend when you could have used a shoulder to cry on.
Showing up to an interview after several rejections you faced that month.
Dressing up and going out even though what you really wanted was to order pizza and watch your series.
Delivering that presentation even though you were nervous.
Speaking to a stranger even though you hate networking and meeting new people.
Spending several weekends alone.
Posting a fun Instagram picture even though you were not having fun.
Treating someone with kindness.
Saying NO to something you don’t want to do.
Dealing with heartbreak.
Spending your last dime on a terrible movie your friend convinced you to go to.
Showering with cold water.
Doing something for your family you find aggravating.
Forgiving someone you didn’t think you could forgive.
Waking up in the middle of the night to feed your one-month-old baby.
Cooking a homemade meal.
Breaking the ice after a fight, even though it was not your fault.
Being there for your loved ones.
Preserving your kind heart even when the world is calling you to change.
Sharing a funny meme with your friend because you know it will make them laugh.
Holding onto your dream even though you are not there yet.
Reading that book even though you wanted to stop at chapter 1.
And the list goes on. You might think these are trivial things and question the point of including them in a success list. You are right, they are small wins but on the other hand, have you noticed how easy it is for us to dwell on small mistakes?
How easy it is for us to punish ourselves over and over again for the same trivial mistake?
If we can dwell on small mistakes, then why can’t we acknowledge the small wins? Why do we disregard them and look for a big win…
Do you think that is fair?
Here is my success list for 2017:
I stuck through two big challenges, even though I really wanted to give up.
I took care of my health (baby steps, but I am proud of how far I’ve come!)
Some days, I woke up before sunrise, got dressed and went on with my day even though I wanted to stay home and hide.
I found appreciation in situations that brought out the worst in me.
I showed up for the people that mattered.
I went on the most terrifying roller coaster… twice!! Even though I wanted to die before, during and after.
I forgave myself for messing up even though that was a very hard thing for me to do.
I did my best in unfamiliar situations.
I stretched out of my comfort zone.
I cooked dishes my grandma used to make.
I learned to appreciate things that I usually took for granted.
I made new friends.
I reached out for help when I needed it.
I did not finish a single book I started this year, but I learned so much from the few chapters that I actually read.
I discovered podcasts that added joy to my commute.
…Oh, and I made so many mistakes
I said the wrong things, failed in tasks, was behind in many projects, acted childishly when I could have handled things in a mature way and so on… but without these so-called ‘failures’ I don’t know where and who I would be… which brings me to one of my biggest successes: I finally see a mistake as an opportunity for learning rather than the end of the world!
What if we started to take these mistakes and failures as learnings?
What if we celebrated the small wins together with the big?
One helpful way to reflect is to ask yourself some powerful questions.
You can journal your answers, share them with a friend, upload them in a blog post, or just give them some thought…
What was your dominant energy or line of thought this year? How did it serve you?
What was the biggest obstacle you faced this year? How did you deal with it?
What is the one situation you were really worried about? What happened? Was it as bad as you thought?
What small wins can you acknowledge?
What are your big wins?
What are you proud of?
What are your biggest learnings?
What/who are you most thankful for?
What was the nicest thing someone did for you this year?
What was the funniest moment of your year?
It is sometimes challenging to look back at the end of the year and remember small moments that created a lasting impression.
Therefore, you may choose to keep track of your wins and learnings throughout the year… it can be a fun process!
You can create quarterly/monthly reflections or, as my friend and I do, weekly reflections.
I cannot begin to tell you the impact of those reflections. I am more aware of what is working and what is not on a personal as well as professional level and I recalibrate as I go!
Now are you ready to welcome a new year? What are your intentions for making this a great year? How will you keep track of your intentions?
I wish you a year full of light, ease, fun, and lots of love!