Have you been reviewing last year and feeling like you are coming up short on what you have done or what you have accomplished?
It is actually fairly common to feel/think that ‘not enough’ was done because we live in a world that is so task/productivity oriented. Productivity culture can be toxic, because it doesn’t factor in our humanness, which includes responding to our body’s need for rest and recovery…yes, you heard that right — rest and recovery DO NOT have to be earned, they are simply a necessary part of being human.
If this resonates with you, or perhaps even if it doesn’t, I have a suggestion for an exercise you can do…one that will increase your self-awareness and help you SELF-guide toward things that make you feel GOOD in 2022.
Simply take 5–10 minutes to make a list of the GOOD THINGS that happened and EVERYTHING YOU ACCOMPLISHED in 2021…
But be REDICALLY GENEROUS with yourself. EXPAND BEYOND your expectations of yourself, as expectations have a tendency to be limiting to growth…
And what I mean by BE GENEROUS and EXPAND BEYOND EXPECTATIONS OF YOURSELF is to recall things you accomplished that may not have been on your ‘to-do’ list, such as:
- Holding space for people
- Being kind to people, animals, or the Earth
- Being kind to yourself
- Allowing yourself to rest and recover
- Drinking water or taking your meds
- Reaching out for connection
- Binging a (few) great show(s) on Netflix
- Just waking up in the morning
- Putting on pants
- Getting through hard days/situations however you did it
- Anything else you did, even the most miniscule effort is still EFFORT…and many of us had days/weeks/months this year (and last) that were so challenging we are just barely hanging on
Here are the simple steps to making your list and celebrating you:
Step 1. You made the list? Okay, cool… If not, go make your list now. Use my examples if you have to. If ‘good’ isn’t obvious, look for ‘neutral’ things that happened this year. Ask for help if you need it, sometimes we all need a different perspective. Either work forward from Jan to Dec 2021 or backward from Dec to Jan 2021, whichever way works best for you…HELL, start in the middle if you have to, whatever it takes to do this thing.
Step 2. Now take a moment to acknowledge your accomplishments, your effort, your energy…YOU. Reading through your list is step 2.
Step 3. When your list is complete, celebrate ALOUD with a “I’m AWESOME!” or “I ACCOMPLISHED SO MUCH IN 2021!” or “I DID THE THINGS!” or “GO ME!!” or any other self-celebratory statement you wish to shout to the universe.
Step 4. Take a few breaths and step back in the present moment with all of 2022 ahead of you knowing that you are celebration worthy ALL.YEAR.LONG and that no matter what you face, you will be okay because you are here now and you don’t have to quantify your worth with tasks. That is someone else’s conditioning talking through your subconscious — you are going to do great because you ARE great.
Why is this exercise, and ESPECIALLY THE GENEROSITY PART so important?
Because the human body is WIRED to pay more attention to the negative/bad things than to the positive/good things. It is a natural part of our survival system…which works are pretty damn good at (if you’re reading this, we can surely agree that survival is working for you)…
That being said, THRIVING in a human body is so much harder. They just aren’t wired for it, which means we have to actively work for it. We are internally wired to ‘notice the threats’ and externally conditioned to do more of the same…
This means our survival system wiring makes it more difficult to NOTICE THE GOOD THINGS…this includes our natural ability to notice what IS GETTING DONE vs. what ISN’T getting done. This is why it so often feels like you’re not getting shit done, or like things are piling up, or like you take 2 steps forward and 10 steps back.
But you are accomplishing more than you think you are! How do I know?
a) I have been stuck in this pattern in the past up to my eyeballs and I STILL find myself getting sucked into it from time to time
b) I see so many clients, friends, and family caught in the same cycle…you are absolutely NOT alone in this
c) I understand how the survival/protector systems work (nervous system, perception, communication, and the physiological/psychological reaction/response to this natural human biology)…I also know how to work WITH it and listen to it (hint: identify needs) and the message of this pattern is to give yourself grace and CREDIT for just BEING.
Many people crave a thriving life where we DO ALL THE THINGS and FEEL ACCOMPLISHED but without supporting our nervous system we are likely to MISS OUT ON ALL THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS THAT ALREADY EXIST.
This past year you showed up, you did the things, you faced things, you probably made *someone* smile, you are shining your light in the world (even if it is feeling dimmed or like it is flickering). THAT DESERVES ACKNOWLEDGEMENT and A MOMENT OF CELEBRATION, you deserve being celebrated by you! Even if you could only think of ONE thing to put on the list, CELEBRATE THAT ONE THING and if negative self-talk or self-judgment arises, SAY ‘NO’ to that and redirect back to CELEBRATING YOU.
How can this exercise *ACTUALLY * help you?
With regular practices like this one, it can retrain your nervous system to see the good, to see beyond all the perceived threats or dangers that become obstacles/limitations in your everyday life. It helps you honor who you are and all you’ve done, instead of applying judgment or feeling like you come up short in some way.
I spent so many years NOT SEEING what all I have accomplished and NOT CELEBRATING myself for JUST BEING ME…and I know so many of you do the same. It sucks. It LITERALLY sucked the wind from my sails and the breath from my body (I seriously hold my breath when I’m stressed/overwhelmed or actively in my survival/protection response!)….
I want to help you SEE and CELEBRATE you right now…not AFTER you do all the things — NOW!
THIS IS YOUR INTRINSIC VALUE…you are ENOUGH RIGHT NOW, even if some of the things didn’t get completed, you are STILL AMAZING!
Even if you choose not to complete this suggested exercise, I hope you take away that you are a human being, not a human doing…meaning that your value is not attached to how much you do. You have value just because you exist. Wanting to do better or be the best version of you simply means you have growth needs, perhaps to accomplish something or to give back in some way…or perhaps just to feel better, improve your self-relationship, or to attain a goal, dream, or desired outcome.
If you feel like you always fall short on how much you do, I hope you consider that you may be subconsciously operating by someone else’s set of rules and conditions…and they are making you feel ‘not enough’, which means they aren’t a good fit.
Breaking free from past conditioning (personal, familial, cultural, etc) is something we can all choose by learning to pay attention to our uncomfortable body sensations, emotions, struggles, and stuck-ness (ok, so I made that word up — it is that feeling of being stuck, limited, held back, or small) and learning how to make small adjustments to how we respond that retrains our nervous system.
It is nervous system support that is the absolute most fundamental, life changing form of self-care. Your body is the key to growth, healing, and transforming your life…and we ALL have bodies, which means we just need to learn how to access the keys to this vessel!
This exercise is a good starting point if 2022 (or ANY year, as it is ALWAYS the right time!) is your year to shine…and the world NEEDS every single one of us to shine as brightly as possible right now.