Workplace Wisdom

Can You See How Much You’ve Accomplished?

New Year’s resolutions often don’t work because we get a little distracted, lose focus, lack persistence, or slack off. Sometimes we let events or other people’s needs get in the way. But all too predictably, once we stray from our intentions, we feel like failures and quit altogether.

It’s a pity that we don’t give ourselves credit for our partial successes. Too often, if we don’t succeed 100 percent, again, we feel like failures. We bemoan our inability to grow and change, instead of seeing that we actually have begun, little by little, to grow and change.

Luckily, it’s possible to hold back the tide of disappointment and disillusionment.

Begin with a Single Step

Instead of fussing about on what you haven’t accomplished, just look at what you’ve done!

  • Maybe you tried something new for only a few weeks before you petered out. But that’s no reason not to try again. Your first experience got you down the learning curve, and now you know what to do and you’ll start from a higher-level launch pad!
  • Maybe you began trying the new thing toward the end of last year, so you haven’t seen many results yet. Well, acknowledge yourself for getting where you are now — and then decide if you’d like to take it further.
  • Maybe you’ve been intermittent and inconsistent about your new efforts. But now you know what you do and don’t like, and what does and doesn’t work for you, so you’ll move ahead faster next time.

See? You may not have noticed, but you were already on a path forward. Maybe you took a break, or you haven’t gone very far or very fast yet, but you’re still on that path, where you can continue moving ahead.

Even if you’re only thinking about a change you want to make and haven’t tried anything new yet, you’re still making progress. Pre-contemplation and contemplation are the first two stages of any change process.

Take It the Next Step

Now can you tell that you’re already on your way? Shift a little to a more comfortable spot, reach a little higher, stick with it a little longer, and see just how far you can go.

You may not be fully successful yet, but you’re not finished either. Remember to check your progress, even if it doesn’t feel like you’ve made much. Let it be a productive year.

Onward and upward,

LK

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6 thoughts on “Can You See How Much You’ve Accomplished?”

  1. That’s a great reminder Liz. I keep trying to remind myself that it’s not where you start that counts, but where you finish. Slow and steady usually wins the race.

    Randy

    • Randy, there’s a funny Muppets rendition of the song “It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish” that you might like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIXRTQGWZE0.

      In this case it actually is the speed, as you’ll see, but in the real world, it’s really about trajectory, and whether or not you’re heading somewhere worthwhile. Slow and steady is fantastic! And even fits and starts are a kind of progress.

      All the best to you in 2013. As the song makes clear, there are lots of ways to end up on top!

      LK

  2. LOL…that’s a great video. I had never seen that one.

    You’re right about the trajectory of your course and having a worthwhile destination. If you don’t know where you’re going, then any path will take you there and it doesn’t really matter at what speed you travel.

    Happy 2013,

    Randy

  3. Ideas, tips, suggestions – building blocks that we can use to get us where we want to go.

    As I was reading this post, I was thinking about the Stop! Start! Continue… post I wrote several years ago – (http://wp.me/p2QjLQ-56). Your well-articulated suggestions would tie in beautifully with this exercise.

    I’m definitely all for celebrating our successes, regardless of size or scope. I think our failures need to be honoured, as well. As much as people hate that “f” word, we can learn a lot from it when we are open to it. Do we need to change course? Try a different approach? Go back to basics? Find a teacher/trainer/coach/mentor/support? Let go?

    Failure also signifies action. If we never work on anything for fear of failure, we don’t grow.

    Here’s to reaching, stretching and growing!

    What a great post to start the year!

    • Yes, Marianna, I agree with your “Stop! Start! Continue” approach. I’ve also used more of/less of/different from.

      I do wonder if we could shift the idea of failure (failing faster, failing forward, etc.) to the idea of mistakes (make ’em early and get them out of the way). Less monolithic and less moral weight, more practice, improvement, and progress.

      A wonderful 2013 to you. May we all benefit from it — and have a good time, too!

  4. Yes, I agree with your word substitution! (There’s a reason why you have the word “wisdom” in your blog title!) 🙂

    Here’s to more fun and laughter in 2013!

 

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