I think many people spend the first few days of the new year figuring out how to improve themselves. Resolutions are a pretty classic example of how we try to improve ourselves. While I believe that it’s important to strive for self-improvement, I think very few people take the time to acknowledge their accomplishments from the previous year. I’m one of these people.
Looking back over what I’ve been through in 2018, I feel as though I haven’t accomplished much. I still work at the same place, and I feel as though my freelancing career hasn’t been as busy as I had hoped it would be. I barely updated this blog, which I hoped to do on a weekly basis. I didn’t go to yoga at least three times a week like I had vowed to do at the beginning of last year. On top of that, this year, we’ve had fewer accomplishments when it comes to trialing in dog sports. In fact, we cut down on the number of trials altogether. When I look at the list of things I didn’t get to achieve, I realize all of my shortcomings and failures. And I’m sure many readers feel the same way when reflecting on the last year. But I think many of us fall victim to setting impossible standards for themselves, and many of us play down our accomplishments to a point where it’s no longer being humble, but being self-deprecating. This is something I’m learning about a lot in therapy.
So, when failure is all one can see, especially the first day of the New Year, I try to be the supportive friend that I strive to be–not just for others, but for myself as well. I try to be kind to myself, even though at times, it may be easier to be a critic than a supporter. The truth is that everyone fails, and expecting nothing short of perfection from yourself is a really good way to minimize your accomplishments and diminish all that you should be proud of.
Failure is just a part of life, but it doesn’t negate anything else you have accomplished either. Yes, I totally slept in instead of going to yoga every day and I totally had days, weeks, or months where I got very little done. But that doesn’t mean that I did a whole lot of good. And every little thing counts.
Did you manage to get up on time and make it to work? Fuck yeah, you did a good fucking job at that. Do you know how difficult that is when you’re going through a bad bout of depression or anxiety? You’re a friggin’ superstar for even being able to get up.
Did you manage to finally make that appointment with a therapist that you’ve been putting off for months on end? You’re doing something HUGE for yourself, and you should be proud of what this means. It doesn’t mean you just made a phone call–no, it means you are accepting help from someone (which is incredibly hard to do), you’re acknowledging that you have things you need to work on, AND you have started a treatment plan to get better. This is huge, and no number of missed yoga sessions should make you feel less accomplished about this.
Have you managed to get up every morning, walk your dog, and feed them? Well, that’s a huge responsibility you’re taking on every day. You’re making sure a sentient being that depends on you is getting all of its needs met. This is an amazing accomplishment.
So, while I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish this year, what I’m most proud of is being able to say I survived. I survived, and I like to think I helped others survive. Be proud that you lived another year, and celebrate everything you’ve managed to do.