Originally published on my website, 22 Mar 2022
The problem with setting goals for yourself is that your world fills with incomplete or half-completed tasks. The view becomes the mountain yet to climb.
I look at my diary. Day after day, week after week, there are reminders of what I would like to achieve. What I plan to achieve.
I am very good at setting very ambitious and dramatic goals. This year, I want to spend just as much time celebrating and reflecting on my wins. I don’t mean the modest splatter of projects that have found a home published somewhere. I have very little control over when and if this happens. I mean celebrating the every-day goals, the day-to-day kicking of ass!
I’m trialling a few new win-focused routine/habits.
1. White board: I have set up a Win Wall on a tiny white-board at my creative workstation. On this board I write all the new projects I completed, edited and submitted this month. This is a far more useful way of tracking my progress than a wall full of cards showing all the stories I HAVEN’T finished!
2. Affirmation: I am using the extra space in my page-to-a-day diary to jot down an affirmation, reminder or observation that feels relevant to me that day. This could be: “kicking ass”, “I am DOING this” or something as simple as “writers WRITE”. I take a moment to identify, write, decorate and reflect on this.
3. Wins: I am jotting down a few highlights for the day in my diary, a “Kicking ass by…” section. Each day I take a moment toward the end of the writing hour/hours to identify what I did that I was particularly proud of today. This could be pushing past a block, staying with a task or completing a project.
Why is this important?
It is far too easy to measure success and progress by external landmarks set by others: something being accepted, discussed, commented on, liked or purchased by an external party. This can spin us into a bleak and miserable places as we sail through the doldrums of not receiving any sort of feedback or acceptance.
What we can do, what is in our complete control, is setting up mechanisms for internal recognition, reflection and praise.
Imagine having a best friend sitting on our shoulder, pointing out all the cool things we do, all the goals we kicked ass with, all the wins in our every day. Imagine if we had a little voice going “way to go!” for walking that extra mile, for doing that kind thing, for completing that task.
What if we were our own biggest fans?
It starts small. It starts with taking a moment to recognise what we are doing. Recognise that task we completed, that extra push we gave something, that little win.
What reminders do you have to celebrate your wins?
What ways do you have to recognise your progress?