Chris Bailey over at A Life of Productivity wrote a great piece recently on Creating an Accomplishments List. At this time of year, it’s all too common for us to start thinking of ways we can make next year “our best one yet!” But how can you be realistic about goal setting if you don’t know where you currently stand?
While Chris’ approach is to create a list of just accomplishments, I really like Leo Babauta at Zen Habits’ way of doing it: this year, he very honestly listed out his successes and failures for 2014. It’s definitely a little scary to publicly admit the ways in which you didn’t succeed (okay, no sugarcoating it) failed, but I firmly believe that the only way you can grow as a person is to admit when you did something wrong, and learn from it. I don’t know if I’m quite brave enough to go into a lot of detail on some of the ways in which I failed this year, but I’ll try to at least generally mention each one.
Success: Moved out of New York. I had wanted to move to Colorado for years, and finally took the first big step by packing up my apartment and shipping everything out to Colorado.
Success: Completed a major go-live at work that had been the result of 2.5 years of work! This was a huge win and I was really proud of the work I did to get us there.
Failure: Drank a lot more alcohol than I would have liked, in part because it helped me get to sleep when I was working crazy night shift hours, and in part because I find it hard to abstain at social events where everyone else is drinking. Wine/beer is yummy, and I want some too! Night shift is now over (at least until another project requires it), but I’d like to work on the latter, which certainly isn’t good for my health with all the socializing I like to do.
Failure: I planned to run the Pulheim Marathon in Germany, but after some flight delays, ended up not running at all and just hanging out in Paris for the weekend. And, I ended up mostly using it as a relaxing vacation rather than making the most of Paris and seeing all I could. At the time, I thought it was a good thing and that I needed the rest; months later, I wish I had done more while there.
Success: Signed a lease on an apartment in Colorado. I was still about a month away from moving in, but… baby steps.
Success: Spent Valentine’s Day in Nice and got to run the RNR Nice 10 Miler. Ran strong and only missed PRing by 11 seconds… oops!
Failure: Spent the entire month either in Dallas or traveling instead of immediately moving into an apartment in Colorado. I told myself that it was a great idea to save the money on rent (thereby paying for the move) and also get a lot of traveling out of my system (since I knew that once I moved, I should travel less and spend more time making friends). Unfortunately, I spent the month feeling really up in the air and unhappy. Not worth the money saved.
Success: Visited New York and ran the NYC Half Marathon – a race I had actually never done before! I had an amazing time and it was the perfect way to say goodbye to my old city.
Success: Finally moved into my apartment in Colorado, and pretty much immediately fell in love with Colorado.
Success: Hosted my housewarming party. Traveled to Florida to surprise my college friend Kelli by showing up at her doorstep when she wasn’t expecting it! (Okay, that sounds bad, but I coordinated beforehand with her boyfriend.) This was a good month for connecting with friends.
Success: Decided to get back into running and do some full marathons in June. Wrote a training plan, stuck to it, and ran the Westminster Half as part of my quest to build up mileage. (Failure on their part: never including me in the results, and not responding to my inquiries asking what happened.)
Success: Made the 300 club in Flywheel! I was really proud of that accomplishment. Also successfully ran the Colfax Marathon, although slower than the last time I did it.
Failure: Never wrote my Colfax Marathon race report. More on this in a bit.
Success: Traveled to Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, which I think was my favorite trip of anywhere in the world that I’ve ever visited. The people were amazing and the island was beautiful. While there, I gave some speeches I was really proud of, ran the marathon and finished relatively quickly and took second place female (yes, it was admittedly a small field), and went fishing and caught more than 25 pounds of amazing Alaskan fish to stock my freezer at home. I wish I could go back there every year – that was just an amazing, perfect, wonderful trip.
Failure: I also didn’t write my Prince of Wales Island Marathon race report (or the Estes Park Marathon race report that I ran in June). You’ve heard me talk a lot about letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, and that’s in large part because I’m so bad at avoiding that. I didn’t want to write my Colfax report until I could really sit down and take the time to make it long and detailed and like my typical race reports. Then I didn’t want to write my Prince of Wales Island race report until had written my Colfax report, because otherwise it would be out of chronological order. Result: I wrote neither one 🙁 I feel really bad about this one – I’ve done this exact thing so many times before, and it really makes me feel like a failure of a blogger. (Especially because Prince of Wales Island Marathon is my new favorite marathon, and I wish I had somewhere to point people to in order to learn about it!
Success: Fell in love with hiking, after getting not-so-scared of it at the Blend Retreat and then venturing out for my first Colorado hike a few weeks later. I never thought I would be a nature girl, but sometimes you surprise even yourself!
Success: Received a huge promotion at work, that I’ve been trying to get for two years. Since then, I feel like I’ve really grown into the role. I’m so much happier with the work that I’m doing now, and I’m also realizing that I know more than I think I do (good old imposter syndrome – I’ve got it!) and am finally confident that I can successfully pursue the partner track, if I want to, and be able to balance it with my personal life.
Success: Completed our second (and final) go-live for my monster three year project in Dallas. This also marked the beginning of the end – over the next two months, I transitioned my work over to client counterparts and eventually stopped traveling Dallas for good at the end of August. Bittersweet! Though there’s a good chance I’ll be back in 2015…
Success: Bought my very first car, a Jeep Cherokee. I don’t think I did the best job negotiating, but I was really proud that I did it all by myself. (Living in NYC for so many years meant that I knew nothing about cars and had to learn the absolute basics.)
Success: Shot a gun for the first time in my life. Not something I enjoyed, and I doubt I’ll do it again, but I was proud of myself for having the guts to do it.
Failure: Hiked my first 14er, but almost didn’t because I was a baby and wanted to go home after tons of car trouble on the way there. Sometimes I can be really bad at going with the flow and being spontaneous – that’s something I really would like to challenge myself to work on going forward.
Failure: Ended several relationships (romantic, friendship, and family) that I thought weren’t healthy for me. At the time, I thought it was absolutely the right thing to do, but in the last few months, I’ve been second guessing some of those decisions and kind of wish I could go back and do it differently.
Success: Headed west to Palisades, Colorado, and successfully completed the Den Grand Fondo. For me, it was a 50 mile course that I managed to do all by myself! That said, going back to the lessons learned at Mount Princeton, I wish I had been able to be more go-with-the-flow and laid back… I don’t think I was very much fun on the trip, and wish I could change that.
Success: Went out to Breckenridge, Colorado, to spend a weekend with complete strangers… who became friends. I didn’t think of it as a big deal at the time, but now in retrospect, I think it’s kind of neat that I was comfortable just going out there solo and meeting whoever I could meet. (A lot of people came with a friend or two already.) I’ve done this other times, too (most recently with a girls’ trip to Breck!), and I’m proud that it’s not only something I can do, but really enjoy. Hooray for making new friends!
Failure: Was a baby again about hiking at altitude. It seems like a lot of my failures this year were about having a bad attitude or being too much of a burden on others… something to work on going forward.
Success: Started sending out a (usually) weekly email to a big group of friends, inviting them to do whatever activities had caught my fancy for the weekend. I love that this allows me to connect with a big group, rather than trying to make tons of one-off plans, and since I send invites so frequently, no one has to feel bad if they can’t (or just plain don’t want to) come join. Stay tuned for my 2015 goals, but they’re going to be a lot around this!
Failure: Went to Mexico to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and then didn’t get to spend nearly as much time with her as I would have liked. In selfishly thinking about what I wanted to do on the trip, I passed up some activities that I didn’t like but where we would have been actually spending time together. I’ve also done that a few times since with different friends – passing on the activity but in doing so, inadvertently passing up on quality time with my friends. I think partially because I’ve started offering so many opportunities for other people to join me in stuff, I forget that to make it fair, I should really join their stuff sometimes too. Need to work on this going forward.
Success: Hosted Thanksgiving for a group of friends, including keeping my calm when there were a few extra people at the last minute 🙂 Still not good at going with the flow, but I feel like I did a decent job that day.
Success: Went out to the ski slopes a few times and am starting to feel good about my skills. I haven’t tried a black diamond yet, but it’s early in the season. I’m excited to see what’s to come!
Success: Had surgery on my arm, and managed to coordinate my friends to provide all the help I needed (driving, eating, dressing, etc). It hasn’t been easy these last two weeks, and now even with my splint/wrap off, things are pretty tough – my arm is probably only about 10% functional right now. I can’t bend it more than about 30 degrees, and I can’t hold/lift anything heavier than my cell phone… but I’m hoping that will change quickly with the physical therapy I’m starting next week! I know that “having surgery” is fairly passive, but all the recovery was really difficult on my part, and I’m proud of myself for getting through that and the holidays on my own.
Success: Of course, getting through surgery wasn’t totally on my own – I am incredibly grateful to so many of my friends who helped out in giving me rides, bringing me food, helping me with chores, or sending me well-wishes to cheer me up. It’s hard to believe that a few years ago that I was suffering from depression and thought that I didn’t have friends I could count on; now, I feel incredibly lucky to have so many friends who I know are there for me no matter what. I hope I can be as good a friend to them as they are to me.
My goal for this year was to “settle” into life in Colorado – and I feel like I’ve done just that. I’ve made a lot of new friends and tried a lot of new activities, and I feel really at home with my new home. But when you start getting comfortable – that’s when it’s time to do something big, right? As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m looking forward to 2015 as a year to start engaging and preparing to find my next big quest… whatever that may be.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! May midnight tonight signal the start of a great year for all of us 🙂