We’ve made it to June - the halfway point of the year. Are you celebrating your accomplishments or are you beating yourself up because you feel like you’ve fallen behind? Have you reached your desired success benchmark or are you focused on your failure to accomplish even the smallest goal? No matter how you look this time of year, if you only focus on your destination, you’ll miss the importance of all the steps in your journey.
You’re not as behind as you think you are.
The problem is we feel like we’re behind because we don’t take time to appreciate what we’ve already done. We dismiss achievements - the small ones are forgotten since we’re onto the next distraction. The big accomplishments often get a shrugged shoulder because someone needs something else from you. We don’t have time because we don’t give ourselves time. We run ourselves down on the list of things we haven’t done instead of acknowledging what we have. We are so focused on the next thing - the next deadline, the next grocery run, the next doctor appointment or the next meeting at work that we don’t have time to think about what’s already been accomplished.
Here’s what my year’s midsection looked like:
Thrashing myself with ugly thoughts about how I haven’t spent enough time working on my novel or that I haven’t written as many personal blog posts as I had scheduled. I relentlessly remind myself that I’m a no-talent hack because I haven’t won any* of the writing contests I’ve entered. *Three. There were three contests, but it felt like 452. My brain neurons fire messages that I’m clueless when it comes to writing on a professional level and I’ll never make the transition from hobby to career. I torment myself over pro-bono work instead of paid gigs.
So. That’s super fun and explains why I wear a one-piece with tummy control.
We tell ourselves that we’ll lose the momentum if we stop working towards big goals and rest on the laurels of the achieved smaller goals. What are laurels anyway besides Sweet Bay leaves you wear on your head? Or what’s worse, if we only focus on what we perceive as failures, we’ll sink deeper into unproductivity. This is an awful mind game we are destined to lose. The first week of June is the best way to stop the nonsense of judging yourself too much or not enough. Or better yet >>>STOP judging! It’s a perfect time slow down for a minute, take a deep cleansing breath in through the nose, out through the mouth and reevaluate your destination. When we give ourselves time to pause in the middle of our journey and acknowledge the steps they’ve made, we can remember the small wins and it’ll intensify our momentum. People have been known to tweak their ultimate goal, develop eagle eyes on their target or change it completely. June is the half-way mark and you have permission to make half-new year fresh start resolutions. (It’s allowed.)
So when I followed my own advice - guess what I discovered?
I’ve written three book reviews for Southern Lit Alliance and started volunteering in their office. I was selected as a contributor for Chattanooga Moms Blog as an official contributor. I’ve written a piece for Inside the Gates, a local neighborhood magazine. I might not have won yet, but success can be putting my work out there and submitting to writing contests and publishing opportunities. Experience is part of the journey. I’ve participated in writing webinars and attended author speaking events like the Rose Glen Literary Festival. I’m in a book club and in a writer’s group and I’ve recently joined LinkedIn which is great since I’m networking and honing my skills.
Gimme’ a minute - I found my laurel patch and I’m resting on it.
Make that list
Pour yourself a glass of sweet tea or something a little stronger. Dig out a notepad and pen from the junk drawer and find the nearest comfy chair. Open your calendar, daytimer or smartphone app and use the search engine in your brain to recall 6 months of memories. SIX months is harder to remember than 10 years ago but I promise it’s possible and recoverable. It’s human nature to start out with the fluff, but allow yourself the time and space on your notepad to free flow. Maybe jot down a few awesome places you’ve visited. Even if you haven’t vacationed, you might have tried the newest restaurant in town or gone to a concert. Maybe then you can think about the ‘selfies’ you’ve taken with special people. When you start with a small list the words help free up your memory space. What’s amazing is that all the little things build your character and reveals how much you offer to the world. When you tried that new restaurant, you might have made a connection with someone who you might collaborate with on a project down the road. That photo you took might have been taken in a hospital waiting room. You were there for someone and that’s a big accomplishment. Write it down. Write it ALL down.
You'll start to remember the appointments you made, the tough deal you closed and uncover the blessing of the money we raised for a friend in need. You'll remember the late study nights and the child you helped leveled up in school. Once we get through the fluff stuff that we post on social media we start to realize that we have A LOT of check marks and crossed out “to-do’s.” We can sit up a little straighter, smile a little brighter and know that we have a little more badassery in us than we thought.
You’re not finished so don’t slow down.
This is definitely not the time of year to start eating guacamole and lounging on a pool floatie. Okay. Maybe it IS exactly the time of year to do that - but your list showed us that you’ve worked hard during the first six months of the year. You’ve survived the cold Winter weather and managed to get crap done through the Spring allergy crisis. It’s okay to have an afternoon snooze on the porch and enjoy some fun at the beach but allow time and energy for yourself to get ramped up and finish the year strong.