What have I done?

Liz Sumner Goals, Progress Leave a Comment

This time of year we are thinking ahead to the new year and what it will bring. We make resolutions and set goals, but there is often a missing piece in our planning.

What have we accomplished?

Many of us are quick to overlook all we have done in the past year. Once our tasks are completed we forget what it took to achieve them. From the other side of the hurdle they seem less significant and we dismiss our efforts.

Kathy Hansen addresses this in her book, You Are More Accomplished Than You Think: How to Brainstorm Your Achievements for Career and Life Success. Some of the reasons Hansen gives for why we have a weak grasp on our accomplishments are:

  • We can’t remember what we’ve accomplished.
  • We’re not sure we’ve done anything worthy of being called an accomplishment.
  • We have difficulty seeing ourselves as others see us.
  • We’re worried about being perceived as boasting.

Last December I set the intention to clean out our house in New Hampshire and get it ready for renters. We did it. That seemed incredibly daunting a year ago, and from my current vantage point seems almost trivial. It wasn’t. But I have to remind myself what a big deal it was.

This time last year I also planned to get my Italian driver’s license. I thought it would be a matter of going to some ufficio and signing papers. It wasn’t. It was a seven-month ordeal, but we prevailed.

My third goal was to improve my Italian. I’m not satisfied with my progress on this one. That’s going on the list for 2018. (I did, however, learn a lot of vehicle-related vocabulary like yield, clutch, and shock absorbers).

I also hired a coach and dramatically grew my own coaching practice. That was a real breakthrough.

So find your list of goals for 2017 and let’s do an inventory of progress you made toward them.

Be sure to count your efforts on goals that arise unexpectedly. Maybe you got sidetracked or your priorities changed. Perhaps you needed to attend to a health issue or focus on community activism to counter a political crisis. Those are certainly achievements worth taking into account.

I recommend getting in the habit of noting your accomplishments regularly rather than trying to remember them all at year’s end (or when you’re writing your resume). I use a Self Journal that has a daily space for Wins, Lessons Learned, and Things I’m Grateful For. Another method might be to keep a running file of compliments received and things you’re proud of.

So how did you do over this past year? Are you on track? Do you have some exciting stretch goals for next year? What are you looking forward to?

I wish you all a joyous holiday season and a new year filled with love, light, and accomplishments.

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