“Life is often so focused on the ’what’s next?’ that it’s easy to forget just how much you’ve already accomplished. While it’s good to plan for the future, and to acheive those bucket-list goals, it’s also important to recognise your achievements and acknowledge special moments you’ve already experienced.” ~ Unknown
How many of us have long lists of experiences or adventures that we “want to do before we die?” Granted, having goals and dreams to strive for is what makes life meaningful. In most cases, these lists provide us the incentive that we need to make our dreams happen. Yet, all too often the lists mock us because they are unwieldy, frozen in time, or simply unattainable, and do nothing but create stress and regret. As a result, we are left feeling as though we have failed. Instead of a bucket list of things “to do,” how about a recounting of the many things that we’ve already accomplished?
A while back, I took a writing e-course about telling your story. Along with the bevy of course materials, I received a jar filled with small strips of paper. Each strip of paper contained a writing “prompt.” The idea is that when I am stumped for writing ideas, I reach into the jar for a ready-made writing topic. Thus, the jar contains a wealth of ideas.
With that in mind, what about a “jar of accomplishments?” I am referring to a jar filled with wisps of paper, each documenting a success, both the seemingly innocuous and the big, that we’ve enjoyed over our lifetime. Often, we tend to forget or downplay our accomplishments. None are insignificant, even those from our younger years.They, too, make us who we’ve become, and prepare us for what is yet to come.
From excelling at a musical instrument, art, the debate, team, sports, finishing the book “War and Peace,” graduating from high school, college, and postgraduate school, that 1st place soccer award, being chosen class president, growing beautiful flowers, finishing and publishing your first book, winning your first jury trial, becoming a wife, husband, mother or father, academic achievements, the list is endless. Everyone of us has overcome challenges, the odds, and exceeded expectations, to accomplish incredible feats.
These serve as reminders to each of us of all that we have already done. Often, we tend to forget, because we are too busy thinking of all that we have yet to do. Perhaps, if we take the time to appreciate all that we’ve accomplished, we would be inspired to meet our next goal.
With that in mind, the idea is to create a “jar of accomplishments,.” In it, you fill it, one by one, with a slip of paper on which you’ve written every achievement, challenge overcome, happy experience, moment of happiness, and people and things about which you are grateful. Place the jar in a prominent place where you can see it, and it serves as a reminder of all of your remarkable accomplishments. In this case, the past informs our present and future. It reminds us that there is no limit to what we are capable of doing.