As I write this, there are 2 weeks left of the year (and decade!) and you’d have to be living under a rock not to feel the build-up. The countdown has begun and we’ve been receiving plenty of messages to hustle or crack on in order to finish our goals. That it’s not too late and there’s enough time to accomplish it all before the ball drops at midnight on the 31st.
I’m sure these messages are well-intentioned, but they leave me feeling anxious and like I should be doing more these last weeks of the year and I have this overwhelming feeling I haven’t accomplished “enough” this year. Instead of looking at everything I’m proud of this year, it has me looking at how I missed the mark. How I could’ve done more, and certainly could’ve done better.
I look at how I haven’t reached all my goals in life, love, health, and business. I’ve fallen short and as a recovering perfectionist this can hit hard. It can feel like I’ve failed. That I can’t follow through with my commitments. That I’m not where I’m “supposed” to be (those pesky expectations). And that I’ll never ever be where I want to be. And the stories continue…. (and boy, they are boringgg).
Luckily, I know at this point not to trust all of my thoughts. When I pause and stay present with what I’m telling myself, I can question the validity of these thoughts. Instead of beating myself up for everything I haven’t accomplished or done, I can feel proud of the 2019 version of me and grateful of what this year entailed…the lessons and heartache, the laughter and tears, the growth and setbacks, and everything else in between. I know I did my best and that’s enough. I tried not to grip onto my goals and plans tightly with both hands, but instead kept my palms (and heart) open knowing that what Life has in store for me is usually better anyway.
We can remind ourselves that we’ve done enough and have accomplished plenty. You are where you’re meant to be. If you were supposed to be somewhere else, you’d be there. So instead we can accept and even embrace where we are now and acknowledge how far we’ve come. Slow and steady progress.
In the next week, carve out some time to make yourself a nice warm cup of tea or coffee, grab your journal, get cozy and explore some of these questions to thoughtfully end the year with the feeling that you’ve done plenty, and hopefully you can start to celebrate how far you’ve come. I’ll be doing the same.
- What can you be proud of this year and pat yourself on the back for? Think of ways you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone, healthy habits you’ve implemented, boundaries you’ve placed, difficult conversations you’ve had, projects you’ve started or completed, anything you’ve accomplished, ways you’ve stretched yourself, etc… When you’re finished have a look through the list and pat yourself on the back. How can you celebrate all that you’ve done and who you’ve become in the process?
- What lessons have you learned and opportunities for growth have you had? Go through each month and write down the lessons and themes that were present for you. This can be a hard question to answer depending on the year you’ve had (for some people 2019 was a rough one). How can you integrate and use these lessons as you move forward into the new year?
- Make a list of all the joys, blessings, celebrations, favorite moments and everything you’re grateful for this year. Just when you think you’ve completed the list, keep on writing. You’d be surprised how long your list can get with all the tiny joys you’ve had this year. By the end, you’ll be glowing like a Christmas tree.
- Write a letter to yourself one year ago. In this letter, write everything you’ve learned, overcome, and what you’re most proud of from this past year. Include how far you’ve come, how you’ve grown, and the things you never thought were possible for you.
- Word of the year. I often choose one word at the beginning of the year as my intention or what I want to focus on for the upcoming year, but I was thinking it would be interesting to choose a word at the end of the year. This word will encapsulate your year as well as you can (I know, MUCH harder than it sounds). Maybe your word is growth, boundaries, compassion, acceptance, etc. I wouldn’t over think this though. Trust the word that pops up for you initially and note how this word was woven in and out of 2019.
- Redefine success. Our society may have a different definition of success than you do and that’s okay. Success is much more than the money in your account, the number of followers you have, your relationship status, or your job title. It’s important to get clear on what living a successful life looks and especially feels like to you. When you reflect on this year, maybe you didn’t get that promotion you wanted or that ring on your finger you’ve been longing for. Maybe you didn’t accomplish all of your goals. But instead you were true to yourself and are living a life aligned with your values surrounded by the people who you love. That’s what truly matters anyway.
I hope by the end of these journaling prompts you notice all that you’ve accomplished and done, the lessons and themes this year has brought you, the growth and progress, and the blessings as well. Hopefully you have the feeling now you’ve done enough and certainly are enough.