For a lot of us, the entire New Year’s celebration can be fraught with unmeetable expectations. For the year ahead and for the previous year's review: the mental and emotional accounting of the previous twelve months and what we did and did not accomplish.
Goals are great.
They point us in a direction, provide motivation, and put us on a path toward something we want to do. However, there’s a perilous dark side to goal-setting. There is the potential for self-flagellation when we don’t clear those high bars.
There’s another way to view your year.
Instead of focusing on outcomes, which allow for only success or not a success (a.k.a. failure), consider giving yourself credit for whatever wins you notched—big or small—and celebrate the process of self-improvement, which is full of fits and starts.
Consider my own experience this past year.
As a long-time runner, I’ve wanted to not only complete a second marathon, but improve on the first one in terms of time and overall experience. Going into the race, all signs pointed toward a personal record and a potential Top 10 finish for my age group (one of the many the benefits of being older!) Then, in November I ran (I think I was still running) across the finish line, cursing and crying after things went sideways starting back at mile 5. Nothing prepared me for what I experienced during that race. It was worse than I could’ve ever imagined, and I was upset about the experience for days afterward.
Time has allowed me to view that race—miserable as it was for most of those miles—through the lens of process. By moving past the outcome of how long it took me to get to the finish line, and instead, focusing on what it took to get to the starting line illuminated a long list of wins for which I’m very proud. I have also learned a lot about myself and have come away from the experience with a few new lessons under my belt that I can apply to next time. Those are absolute wins in my book.
You can do the same thing, however your 2021 looked. We humans are cursed with something called negativity bias, which is exactly what it sounds like. Acknowledge it and move on. It’s not doing you any favors.
Instead, celebrate the wins, big and small.
Didn’t eat vegetables EVERY SINGLE DAY? OK, but did you eat more than usual? Win!
Perhaps your foray into yoga didn’t have the nama-staying power you hoped. Yeah…but you tried something new. That’s personal growth! Win!
Not accomplishing every goal is a part of life. Don’t beat yourself up. Hopefully we learn from it in the year ahead, and all the ones after. After all, it’s a process.
Connect with a Wellview Health Advisor and lets celebrate all of your wins from 2021. The list is longer than you think! Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– Jeanne Torre, MSW, LCSW, NBC-HWC
Health Advisor, Level II RRCA Running Coach | Email Jeanne