Remember the old ad catch-phrase for the Virginia Slims cigarette? “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.” The ad campaign was aimed at young professional women and how far they had progressed in terms of access to the workplace and equality in terms of pay and promotion, although I fail to see the parallel with regard to cigarettes. I have a different meaning behind the slogan today.
As any of my regular readers know, this is the time of year when I wax nostalgic for the days gone by, in this case, the days of 2012 that have passed by. I am a big fan of Jinny Ditzler and her “Best Year Yet!” book, and I write about this topic each year. As we near the close of 2012, I have begun the Best Year Yet! process by evaluating my year 2012.
For those readers who are new to this topic, here are links to my previous articles about Jinny's Best Year Yet! program and the questions she uses in her program:
The main reason I revisit Jinny’s program and her ten questions every year is to remind myself about question number one: what did I accomplish last year? We are so good at labeling the things that did not go so well and forgetting to acknowledge or even recognize that we did accomplish things, and in many cases, we accomplished a great number of things.
Busy as I am, I too forget to reflect on this question until Jinny’s program forces me to look once again at the underlying context that supports my answer to this question. What have I accomplished this year?
As it turns out, I have accomplished a great deal. I need not bore you with my personal specifics, but there were several significant events in my life this year, and I accomplished several major goals that surprised me. Funny how that is. We roll along our life’s pathway and think we are accomplishing something, then when we actually do accomplish it, we are surprised about it.
I have always wanted to write in general and to write a book specifically. I did that in the past year, in fact, I've actually written two books and part of a third. I did not expect to list any of that on my list of accomplishments this year, even though writing a book has been on my goal list for a very long time. I find it interesting to discover that somehow, deep down, I did not expect to accomplish it, that it just seemed like a good goal to have at the time. The late motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, used to tell the story of his mentor telling Jim to put “become a millionaire” on Jim’s list of goals because of what the goal would make of Jim in the trying. "Write a book" has been that sort of goal for me -- the sort of goal that would make something more of me for the trying. This tells me that perhaps I was not all that serious about my goal. This little insight will certainly alert me in the future if I should entertain similar thoughts or expectations.
As I made my list of accomplishments, I found my attitude brightening. My outlook completely changed. I felt lighter, more positive, and generally more cheerful. There is a value to this first step, and I highly recommend that you take a few moments to reflect on your own accomplishments this past year. The length of your list may surprise you, as it did me.
I have written before about Stephen Guise’s suggestion that we take a snapshot at the beginning of every month and then compare it to another snapshot taken at the end of the month (click here for the article). We should see movement between point A and point B. By answering Jinny’s first question, we are making a list of the items we have found in point B that were not there in point A. I find this exciting. My year seemed so much more productive once I focused my attention in this way. I found it so much easier to accept those disappointing lessons I also faced this year.
What have you accomplished in 2012? Look back to your starting point and celebrate the forward movement you have made. Chances are that you've come a long way, baby!