I was straightening up my bedroom yesterday and going through a pile of old stuff when I came across a tiny notepad.
Now, I have a penchant for collecting small notepads and journals, so I expected this to be yet another blank one I had yet to use. But when I cracked it open, I was surprised to find there was already some writing inside.
I peered down in amusement at the pages of bulleted notes, and quickly I remember what I had used this notepad for.
At the beginning of 2018, I made a number of New Year’s resolutions. I kept them small and manageable; things like “do Duolingo lessons every day”, “read a little from a book every day”, “no electronics after 9 pm”.
And another resolution was to write down my accomplishments for the day, each night before I went to bed. They didn’t have to be big things. They didn’t have to be anything life-changing. They didn’t even have to be things that others would consider accomplishments. They just had to be the things that I was proud of.
There were big(ish) things like:
- Did a long walk at Point Isabel.
- Organized all of the jewelry, purses and accessories for my Out of the Closet donation.
- I did a mortgage loan application and got pre-approved for more than I thought.
But there were also the small things:
- I took the recycling out by myself.
- I called my dad.
- I put together a nice outfit.
Like many of my resolutions that year, the exercise didn’t last long. I don’t quite remember why. I probably just got busy. I perhaps forgot to do it one night and the habit was broken.
But I do remember that when I was documenting these small victories, I felt good about the day I had just gone through. It was a peaceful, positive way to end the day. And it’s got me thinking that it might be a good activity to resurrect.
There have been weeks during this sabbatical when I felt like I didn’t accomplish much. Like I haven’t made progress and I’m no closer to discovering the path that’s right for me. I mean, it’s not every week you work on a film shoot or launch a podcast.
People say it’s a good idea to write down the things that are worrying you or stressing you out, right before you go to bed (and yes, I should probably take up that practice, too). But I think there is also a benefit to reflecting the things I’ve accomplished that day – big or small.
These things won’t always be related to my sabbatical. In fact, there will likely be quite a few days when my accomplishments are solely centered around personal, family or creative goals that have nothing to do with my career exploration.
And yes, there might be days when I forget to do this exercise altogether. But I don’t want to let that derail me from taking more time to sit back, reflect, and appreciate the small victories.