2017, for many of us, may have not been a great year. Unless you were one of the lucky ones, it has been a roller coaster of emotions and challenges. Disregarding everything that happens worldwide, we come out of each year thinking about our successes and failures on a personal level. And if you were like me, our personal lives were honestly not looking the best.
Every new year, there is a sense of trepidation, uneasiness and sometimes a mini mid-life crisis. We tell ourselves that it is just another year or another day, but the fireworks and champagne makes us all want to buckle up and wait for sign that this new year is going to make all of our goals attainable and that we are going to be a better, newer version of ourselves. Most of all, we enter the new year with high expectations for ourselves and what we should be accomplishing.
The crux is that we cannot predict what will happen in the new year, nor should we try to. Although we may try our best, we can't control when our lives will take a major turn for the better or worse.
Additionally, it is difficult to really see the big picture of how much you accomplished in 365 days. Not just the “I got an internship” and “I graduated” type of accomplishments, but the ones that helped you grow the most. For some of us, it could be something major such as studying abroad or hitting a relationship milestone. But for others such as myself, it was the unexpected and daily challenges that really defined our successes in the past year.
For me, it was trying to get out of bed before 10 a.m. for five months because I had depression and grief. It was forcing myself to go on a run on a weekly basis and seeking out the professionals that could give me guidance and care. It was getting into the routine of keeping track of my health and having the courage to try new things. And it is looking back and realizing how I went from being barely functional to being slightly more functional while becoming way more confident in myself.
I’m going to be honest: sometimes, I feel like 2017 really raked me over a bed of hot coals. If it was the same for you, it can be disheartening to feel like you didn’t meet all of your other goals for the past year.
You probably came into the year thinking that it you would keep the hustle and follow your dreams - but life got in the way.
The feeling that you need to accomplish all of your life goals in the next few years or start that project that you’ve always wanted to work on is pervasive; it is something that we can never entirely look past because we always see other people succeeding.
This is why we always try to push ourselves to the limit without acknowledging the multiple ways in which we have grown.
For each of us, we must end up setting our own goals for ourselves. Because when life throws a hard ball at you, the biggest accomplishment that any of us can do is to simply make it through. Although it may not seem like a big success to just function like a normal human being, these small successes lead to bigger ones, and then even larger ones down the road.
We may expect ourselves to become a new person or get that goal done that you’ve always wanted to in the new year; and while this may happen, the best thing that you can do is adapt to whatever challenges you face and make this a year of growing. Give yourself some grace, and let 2018 happen as it will.
So, ask yourself this question when you are counting down the new year: How much have I grown this year? Not "how much have I accomplished?"