This Year In Review

This Christmas, as I set out to do, I wrote a few people letters, physical and virtual of varying lengths. They didn't all get to the people yet, but they will. Most of the letters contain thanks for things they've done for me or that I've learned from them. Not only was it really nice to get to thank people who've inspired me over the past year, but it was great to look back over the last little while and see the changes that have taken place in my life. See how relationships, talents, goals, actions have grown.
Photo by keremtitiz

Still, I think it can be difficult not to feel a little underaccomplished at times. The dawn of the new year is a marker that can easily make a person think of where they should be, where they're not, and reach frantically towards many goals at once. I think that reaching beyond ourselves definitely has a place, but first we have to give ourselves credit. As I begin this series on setting and achieving goals, I think the first step should be looking at what we've done.

What did you do right?
Think about it. Did you rebuild a friendship? Work on honesty? Help a stranger? Tell a story to a kid? Quit smoking? Spend more time with family? If you did something good- give yourself credit.

Photo by Joshua Davis
If you did the wheel of life exercise, you probably rated your current state in your important categories. Some of them may have been 9, some 3, but if you were being honest, probably none of them got a complete zero. What kept them out of there? Even if you didn't make it to the finish line, if you got partway, that's still something. You must have been doing something good.

Recognize your achievements, even if they seem distant or small. If you've done it once or on a smaller scale, you learned many skills to achieve that goal. You can use what you've learned for similar or completely new goals.

What did you do this year? What happened to you? New experiences, tragedies, learning, failures, promotions, changes in behaviour? If you keep a journal, it's easy to look back at the things you did or you can make a list now. Whether you chose the experience or not, you thrived or even just survived it, perhaps doing things you didn't think you could. You made it through.

Thank some people. By writing my letters, I found that I not only appreciated what others had done for me more and learned some things I wanted to do, but also learned how I had been effected. I learned how they had influenced me or helped me find a better path. They helped me get there, but I am there.

Photo by SashaW

We're always somewhere and reflection should not just include where we're not. As we move into the new year, move with confidence, hope, and appreciation. Here's hoping you have a wonderful and healthy new year.

How do you remember your achievements and balance them with your goals? Leave a comment and, if you like what you read, be sure to subscribe- Up next a series on setting and achieving goals.


  1. I think in the past I've naturally found too many opportunities to examine progress over the course of the year (between New Year's, my Birthday, End of Semester/Graduation and then the special events that friends and family go through, like weddings, promotions, etc). It tends to make me anxious to do so, so this holiday season was less for me about analysis than just "getting through it!" and keeping it simple.

    That said, I felt inspired reading this post, and pulled out a paper and pen to jot down two or three things I really put effort into with positive results. And in so doing, it immediately brought to mind an issue I've been having trouble with, only it came to me in a much clearer, less judgemental way.

    I think it's important to remember that a lot of the problems we have in our lives, personal difficulties we struggle to figure out, come from a good or well-intentioned seed. Figuring out what that seed is can suddenly illuminate all the chaos that stems from it, and a corrected path can be mapped out.

    So I'm in agreement - whip out those pens and notepads and take a moment to pat yourself on the back. You'll be surprised what suddenly seems clearer.

  2. @Anonymous

    I agree that there are too many triggers for sometimes frustrated examinations and I like the idea of keeping it simple during these times. Not every opportunity is necessarily the right one, nor has to be taken :P, but I'm glad to hear that some good came from your reflections.

    I like what you're say. I hear that even though our good intentions might not always pan out how we like, if we remember the intention, we can feel good about that and create a new plan. Sounds like an important thing to keep in mind in everything we do. :)

    Thanks for the note and I hope you have a wonderful new year.


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