I like to plan things and solve problems. These are great for a resume, but sometimes these attributes are surprisingly unhelpful. For example: recently, our team at Take Root Therapy put together holiday care packages for homeless folks in our neighborhood. Though the process of gathering supplies for care packages should be relatively simple, it became complicated in my mind very quickly. I didn’t want the packages to have a negative environmental impact (no plastic), and I wanted the supplies to do more than meet basic needs. I wanted folks to feel seen and cared for. I spent hours researching items to include and actually lost sleep thinking about it. After the fact, I still worried about whether we had done enough.
There’s a lot of pressure each December to celebrate the holidays and begin planning for the upcoming year. This is especially true for those of us who are natural planners. We often think about what we want to improve upon, what we want to tackle next, we make resolutions, etcetera. But a lot is lost when we don’t take time to reflect on what we actually did well. Oftentimes, moving into what’s next with a feeling of accomplishment can actually energize us and give us a feeling of excitement. Achieving without celebrating is like pouring from an empty cup. It steals the joy from the process.
Celebrating our wins is also something we can do on a daily or weekly basis, not just at the end of the year. A number of the folks I work with already have a gratitude practice. Practicing gratitude in concrete ways can improve sleep, increase positive mood, and even strengthen our immune s systems. One way to do this is to keep a private journal of things we’re grateful for. Something I have encouraged clients to do that is similar is to keep a book of wins or things they’re proud of. Entries can be as simple as “I’m really excited the succulent I bought is still alive a month later,” or, “I smiled at a stranger today.” Smiling at a stranger takes courage! Keeping a plant alive is no easy feat (ask my plants)!
Being a planner and problem-solver means it’s likely that you have probably accomplished a great deal already. In my case with the care packages, I had to consciously stop myself from wondering what I could have done better and simply feel content that I did something positive. What can you consciously stop yourself from sizing up and criticizing about yourself? Can you find a way to celebrate it instead? Here’s to throwing some celebratory confetti your way!