For years now, I have been creating a list of accomplishments for the past year. I used to do it around my birthday, but in the last few years I’ve done it at the end of one calendar year before I set my goals for the next year.
I’ve already written about my goals for 2017, but I wanted to write a little more about my list of accomplishments because it’s been an incredibly useful tool.
I’m also facilitating a Goals Group for 2017, and the first assignment I gave the group was to make a list of 50 accomplishments from 2016. Yes, 50! It sounds daunting, but they did it. (You can, too.)
When you decide to write a list of 50 accomplishments, you start out with the obvious ones: “Posted x blog posts,” for example, or “won NaNo.”
But when you get down to #20 or #30, you have to dig a little deeper. At this point, even if I start out focused on writing accomplishments, I’ve started branching out into every other area of my life to find accomplishments. Stuff like, “hosted Christmas dinner for the whole extended family,” and “ran a half-marathon,” make the list.
Then it gets even harder—but, I believe, even more worthwhile.
The first time I made a list of #50 accomplishments, somewhere right around #49 or #50 was the accomplishment: “I became less defensive over this past year.”
Until I wrote that statement, I hadn’t been consciously aware that I was working on trying to become less defensive. Of all the accomplishments from that year, becoming less defensive was the one I was most proud of. And it was something I’ve continued to work on, consciously, in the years since.
I happen to believe, as Byron Katie does, that “defensiveness is the first act of war.” I’m still defensive at times, but much less so than I used to be. (I suppose I should check in with the people around me, to see if they agree!)
My defensiveness is just an example, but knowing that about myself—and that I had improved on it, motivated me to continue to work on it.
So try writing down 50 of your accomplishments from 2016. You may not believe you have 50, but I know you do.
You may be surprised how much what you learn about yourself will motivate you in 2017!
Diane MacKinnon, MD: I became a master life coach by way of being a family physician. These days, I coach, speak, write, and blog on life coaching topics. You can find my life coaching blog here and my website at www.dianemackinnon.com.