It’s all about the journey in life, not the destination. I mean where are you even going anyway? What if you never get there? Will you be disappointed? What happens when you get there? Then you just move onto the next thing you want or the next goal. Are you living in the now, the past, or the future?
I feel like I’m grounded in the present more than I’ve ever been before in my life, but I still struggle with this concept of appreciating each step of the journey.
Appreciate Each Year
For roughly the last three or four years at the end of December or right away in January, I create a list in a journal outlining positive things for the year. I go through my calendar on my phone and record in a hand-written journal all the exciting things that happened for the year. I include any new adventures, trips, personal goals I accomplished, wellness changes I’ve made, a new hobby, new things that happened for my husband, and any career goals I’m proud of. It sounds like a lot, but I write it as a list so it doesn’t take much longer than an hour.
The goal is to be able to skim through it quickly and see all that has happened in a year. It always makes me smile to think about all the cool things I did, experienced, learned, created, or accomplished.
This blog is related to your mental health and your spiritual health. It is about being grateful and appreciating your life journey… appreciating your past, living in the present, and not being too focused on future goals that you don’t appreciate everything you have learned and accomplished along the way.
Did you have a rough year? Flip the script!
Did you know our brains are wired to focus on the negative vs the positive? So why not flip the script. Journaling about all the positive stuff for the year will help you to see all the good things, not the bad things. I recommend avoiding writing anything negative, even if you had a rough year. Unless you learned a really valuable lesson that you want to remind yourself of. If you really didn’t have a lot of positives this year, then you might do a grateful list. Make sure you write down some specifics.
The beginning of this year was a very rough one for me. I felt a bit stuck, I was sick of the cold and depressing winters, I dealt with a lot of disappointments, and I needed a change. But that’s not what I’m going to focus on. I’m going to focus on the positive things from this year. My husband was stressed with his job – he got a better job, we wanted a new home with a bigger kitchen and a checklist of other things – we got it, we wanted more adventure – we moved to place perfect for our adventure lifestyle, and we wanted warmer climates – we got it. I can say we did a good job making a change, but it just went to smoothly to not say… God delivered.
I didn’t meet all my professional goals, but I did learn and do a lot to move myself in the right direction. I choose to focus on all the things that went right vs all the things that didn’t go the way I wanted them to.
As time goes by, I will look back at my journal and feel grateful for all the positive things that have happened, and the negative things will take a back seat.
Appreciate the Journey Toward Your Life & Career Goals
Do you have life or career goals? You should have some.
Don’t get so caught up on your end goals that you don’t appreciate all the small steps you took to get there (I’m telling myself this too!). Appreciate every small step you have taken to get closer to your goal. It is not always easy to do that, but what happens when you reach your goal? You celebrate, or maybe just go “okay that’s done” and then you move onto the next goal. But you should actually celebrate every step of the way. The journey is just as important as the destination. What we have learned, all the small accomplishments, and how we have grown is just as important as the goal itself.
There is this meeting for this community where you celebrate your wins and I struggle so much with it. I feel weird talking about my successes. I’m humble, I’m kind of a perfectionist, and I don’t appreciate the little things enough. I want to share a big huge goal I accomplished, but I feel weird about that as well. I actually prefer to share with my husband who knows the work I’ve put in or challenges I’ve been through and how I’ve overcome them.
When my husband and I go hiking, we usually prefer a destination such as a waterfall. We are so excited to hike the trail to see what kind of scenic view we are going to find at the end of that trail. We like an end destination, but we also love the journey. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t hike at all. Instead we might just go to waterfalls right off the side of a road and not bother with the hike. But both of us don’t enjoy those as much. Having to go on the journey to get to the waterfall actually makes us appreciate the waterfall even more.
“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
Accepting Disappointment on the Journey
In my journal, I also take a few minutes to record 4-5 goals for the next year. These are both personal and professional. I usually have at least one wellness goal, one professional goal, and one fun goal. I’m not the person that enjoys writing out detailed S.M.A.R.T. goals for the whole year. I don’t like to get into specifics, every time I do that I always end up disappointed. When I get real specific my goals are always set too high. But I don’t find it helpful to set my goals too low. It’s a personal preference. I’ve realized I don’t struggle like some people do to be self motivated. I’m usually very motivated and determined. I work hard to make things happen, it is just life that gets in the way.
In my experience, goals are usually not reached because life has different plans for me than I have for myself. I’ve faced challenges I didn’t account for, I went about my goals all wrong, circumstances change my goals, or maybe I’m supposed to learn something before reaching that goal. Can you relate? We can also have health disruptions that get in the way of accomplishing goals, family stuff, or deal with political or economic barriers. We can’t control everything.
So this year I’m going to focus more on journaling a bit on what I have learned in my career and in life vs my accomplishments. I actually learned A LOT this year.
Why Not Focus MORE on Growth vs Accomplishments?
I think it is definitely important to have goals both professionally and personally. But I think our society focuses too much on professional accomplishments. Why not celebrate all that we have learned, how we have grown as a person, and how we have helped others. Every year I think… I could have done more, grown more, learned more. I have high expectations for myself. But maybe I learned way more than I realize, maybe I helped way more people than I realize, and maybe I have grown as a person more than I realize. I just need to take some time to actually reflect on these things.
A little something extra…
My husband told me he was listening to a podcast this week, and it was all about how when you have a big goal placed in your mind and it is always there, God has already given it to you. You already have it, you just need to take the steps to make it happen. I love that!
I am a business owner, marketer, innovator, writer, and artist. I have a passion for wellness with a wealth of knowledge surrounding: wellness, flaws in healthcare, root causes for chronic illnesses, and alternative treatments. My expertise includes over 5 years of marketing, research, and developing content for holistic health businesses. Plus, my own personal journey of becoming chronically sick: understanding what went wrong, and finding a way to heal and live a healthier life.