Sure, if you just ran a marathon, or aced a TED Talk, you might be congratulating yourself—but I’m talking about acknowledging those baby steps that have inched you forward over the last week/month/year.
If you’re like most of us you spend far more time focused on what is still to be achieved, rather than celebrating accomplishments. It’s simply an affliction of our modern day world. So much to do, so much to aspire to.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if you could actually achieve MORE if you took some time to appreciate how far you’ve come?
It’s not so different from the practice of gratitude. We’ve all heard how powerful and life-shifting it can be to spend some time on the daily expressing appreciation for the blessings we enjoy.
This gratitude practice can take many different forms. Many believe that it’s even more effective when we physically write down the things we feel grateful for, and you can also add oomph to the practice if you rack your brain to find new things to appreciate each day.
Personally I vary between repeating my gratitudes and finding new ones. But, when I push myself, there are SO many aspects of my life I can appreciate.
I love to start tuning into the miracle of all these cells and capillaries and different biological mechanisms inside just my little finger, keeping the whole ship moving!
And…. the experts and gratitude teachers have something going for them – they’re right!
Tuning into the good things in your life definitely raises your overall vibration—bringing more energy, vitality and brain power into any given moment.
The trick of course is to REALLY tune into the feeling of the gratefulness. To actually remember how awesome it is that your legs propel you form place to place.
I find that when I truly get into it, when I start feeling it in my heart and my body, it’s easy to find things to appreciate everywhere I turn.
But this isn’t a blog about a gratitude practice.
This is about how it’s sometimes a tad more challenging to quit attaching myself to the ‘what’s next’ and the not-yet-done, and turn my head around to acknowledging and celebrating my own progress.
Physical accomplishments are one thing—an even more unlikely focus is noticing, naming and feeling pride for my emotional and spiritual growth.
This is an era of information overload—that’s no secret.
For self-help junkies like me, that means my in-box fills up regularly with updates on the latest greatest tools and techniques for deeper meditation, getting healthier and feeling more whole, more powerful ways to connect with spirit and with my fellow humans, how to stay present, and so on.
While I learn from many of these, sometimes I wonder about the downsides.
Are all of these newest, latest, as of yet unseen ideas just pointing me toward always needing more?
What’s Changed in Three Years?
This week we are celebrating my grandson’s third birthday. (That’s him up there blowing out his three candles on the dinosaur cake my sister made for him.)
Since I don’t live in the same town—or even state and country—every time I visit the growth and changes in him are REALLY noticeable.
Now he talks clearly in full sentences, expresses how much he loves me, and his attention span has grown to the point that he can build a full tower of legos.
Spending time with this joyful bundle of humanity got me thinking…. is it possible that even as adults we change and grow in a year just as much as a toddler does?
Three years ago I was in the process of selling and giving away a huge percentage of my belongings so I could move to Mexico.
I made it a point to be present for the birth of my first grandson. I remember toning for hours with his mom while she labored, and finally this little person entered the world.
When I returned to celebrate this birthday this year, it was the perfect opportunity to reflect back at the past three years…. and to truly marvel and how much my inner and outer life has transformed in that time.
Now, granted, this has been an era of serious reinvention in my own life.
Yet, the truth is, even during the years when everything seemingly looked the same on the outside, there have been cataclysmic shifts on the inside.
I invite you to do a 3-year review and find at least 10 ways that you have shifted and grown in the last 1000+ days.
It’s easy to notice changes when you haven’t seen someone in months or years–especially a toddler. It can be trickier to notice those microscopic shifts when you are right there day in and day out.
If you’re feeling like you can’t see much difference in the last three years, and/or if you rarely if ever make time to celebrate your own growth, it’s time to turn that around.
The Done List
Most of us have the To-Do list down. Well.. at least writing it.
But, that list is a tyrant, shaking it’s finger at the end of every day because we inevitably loaded it up with WAY too many things that could fit in the allotted hours.
Start now with your “Done” List. Each evening, physically write down at least three things that got done today. (You can type it into the computer or phone if you really want to, but I believe there may be more brain rewiring with the act of actual writing.)
Ditch the To-Do list for this one. Did you tie your shoes? Done! Did you wash the dishes? Done! Did you say some affirmations? Done! Did you treat yourself to a power nap? Done!
Extra points for self kindness actions! This one little list has really changed things for me.
Weirdly—and in all honesty—I forget about it for spells of time. But, as of now I’m bringing it back.
Do a 3-year review of your growth and start your Done List today! And let the forward movement flow.