Everyone is thinking about the future. We cannot help but think about what it will look like, what will we be doing in a few years…
This can be very stressful, as there is really no way to know what the future really holds for us. I'm sorry to break the news, but we can try our best and make sure we do certain things, but there are just no guarantees. The sad thing is that while worrying about what we cannot control, we are missing the small joys of the here and now and not appreciating where we are physically and emotionally. So stop. Just stop right now and look in your rearview mirror.
Think about the challenges you faced three years ago, two years ago or even just last year this time. Look in your rearview mirror and see that you have traveled a long distance, seen and experienced so much and achieved things you probably thought were impossible. Looking in your rearview mirror is a gift to yourself. You can keep forging ahead, achieving your goals, but if you don't stop and look at how far you have come you will find yourself in a miserable state. It is exhausting to keep running and not stopping to look back. Look in that rearview mirror and see how far you have come.
This is particularly true during your college years. As a sophomore, junior, or senior, look back on the previous year and think about how new everything was, how you settled in and made a home for yourself. Think about all the small achievements that made this happen. Think about how just when you thought the workload couldn't get any more difficult, it did. Think about how you did it. How you survived.
Stop. Appreciate yourself. Pat yourself on the back. Give yourself credit for the growth you have made. It really is amazing all that we achieve in a year, week or even a day.
Providing yourself with your own positive reinforcement is so important. Have positive conversations with yourself, like, "Wow, I never thought I would finish that paper. I'm getting really good at cranking them out." Make it a weekly, or even better, daily activity to look back and embrace your achievements no matter how small.
Something even as simple as, "Huh, I'm getting good at mopping up the beer off the floor."
Positive self-talk is really helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed. Tell yourself all the successes you have had in the past. You may even want to keep a list on your phone. When you are in a real funk looking at a concrete list of accomplishments can only give you hope that you will overcome this current challenge. Stop. You have done this before. You've got this. Just look in your rearview mirror.