December Thoughts: What I Accomplished This Year

As December is coming to a close, I'm getting really excited about making New Year's resolutions and starting fresh with a new year.

Earlier this week I was feeling sort of down about what I had done or accomplished this year. Every other year prior it felt like I had reached some milestone or was working toward a goal, and I didn't quite feel that way about this year. For example, in 2013 I graduated from my master's program. In 2014 I got a job at my current employer. What did I do in 2015?

I spent a good amount of time yesterday quantifying my year. I had started a list back in May detailing fun things that SH and I had done - I called it my, "in case you want to feel awesome," list. So I decided to continue with that list but I added two other categories, work and health. I have a big desk calendar so every day at work I update it with the basics - any appointments I have, time scheduled with friends, work events, etc. so at a glance it's very easy to see the "big" things that I have done all year for each month. I kept all the old sheets from January to now, (I finally just threw them away yesterday after taking a picture of each!) so that was really helpful in making notes about what I had done, who I had spent time with, what doctor's appointments I had, etc. It sounds basic and I know a lot of people keep those events in their phones or on an electronic calendar, but for me I just love paper and having a tangible desk calendar helps me stay organized. I typed everything up and broke it down by month so I could see "at a glance" what each month held for me in three categories: fun, work and health.

It's amazing how much one person can do in a year. I don't even consider myself a very "busy" person-- I work 9 to 5 and then usually go home and blog or spend time with SH, friends or family. But man, quantifying all the things I had done made me feel really accomplished! I don't know if any of you have read Gretchen Rubin's "Happiness Project" but she talks a lot about needing "gold stars" (you know, like parents might give to little kids on a chore chart?) I guess quantifying my year was the equivalent of "gold stars" for me. I'm an academic advisor, and seeing how many student appointments I had had all year... it made me feel good! It made me realize that I'm actually helping people. It also helped me see things big picture- for example, no wonder I got sick in November, that was my busiest month in terms of student appointments!

Anyway, I just wanted to share some personal thoughts and feelings. I want to validate anyone out there who feels like I did... Try to let go of those "what did I do all year?" judgments and just accept and love yourself the way you are.

I'm ready to start a fresh new year with a bang. I can't wait to share some more thoughts on goals and resolutions later, but for now, have a wonderful Friday, and thank you, as always, for reading and following along.

Maple and Mint Quick Tip: Keep a list or calendar of the "big" things you do every month. (Again, my categories are fun, work and health.) I keep notes of the "big" things in each of those categories. Some of you might be thinking, well, the little things are the big things in life! And to you I would say, you're right. For me personally I like making notes of date nights or dinner with friends on my calendar because then my memory is jogged when I look at my calendar and I think, "oh yeah! That's when we went to that fantastic restaurant!" Hope that helps!

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