It’s easy for us to get caught in the trap of: “I haven’t done enough this year”.
Sometimes we feel like we’re behind the eight ball, that we’ve failed. Sometimes we think we haven’t really achieved anything; that the year has been plagued by setbacks and illnesses and derailments more than the ticking off of goals and dreams.
Maybe you are behind on your original plan.
Maybe you’ve failed multiple times at what you set out to do (I know I have). Maybe you’ve fixated on those moments and lost sight of what you have achieved. That’s normal. We’re our own worst critics and tend to get tunnel vision on the negative aspects (e.g. I didn’t reach my deadline. I didn’t reach my word count again. I had to push my publish date back. I haven’t got as many reviews as I hoped). If we focused on all the things we didn’t achieve, we’d be here all bloody day, falling deeper and deeper into a veryyyyyy bad place.
Scenario: I published my first book this year. THIS year. I saw Hazy Love stocked on the shelves of a local, independent bookstore. I HAVE A BOOK IN BOOK FORM. And yet, I forget that I’ve done it most days. I spent so much time worrying about the next one and living up to expectations I placed on myself and growing a newsletter list and keeping up with social media and making reels that I MADE MYSELF SICK and wanted to pack it all in and give up.
What good did that do? Nada. Zilch.
We all KNOW that sort of thinking doesn’t do any good and yet we all do it. Again, normal human behaviour. The reality is it’s not something we can just stop doing. Maybe after a lot of learning how to re-wire your brain and therapy you could do it, but it’s not going to happen overnight.
My point is, rather than focus on the things I haven’t done (ahem – writing the sequel, getting lots of reviews – ahem), I try to go back to the moment when I published the book. When I did all my own promotion and figured out ad-stacking. Where I connected with fellow authors who rallied behind me. When I took a social media detox and spent time with my dog at the beach. When I made the decision to quit my corporate job. When I travelled overseas for the first time in three years. I may not have hit all my writing marks, but I was still out living. I was filling my cup in other ways.
I’m here to remind you that, like myself, you have also done enough this year.
Think about it. Even the days where it felt like such a goddamn effort to show up – and you still did – that’s a win. Think about the days when you decided not to show up – good, you listened to your body. Think about how much of a toll the past few years have taken on you and the world. It’s been an ordeal in so many ways – just getting through certain patches can count as a victory.
Maybe you stretched yourself. Maybe you smashed your goals beyond your wildest expectations. Maybe you got lost in books that filled you with joy for hours on end. Maybe you spent quality time with friends and family. Maybe you made new friends in the writing community. Maybe you travelled again and reunited with people you’d been aching to see. Maybe you saved money. Maybe you spent money. Whatever you did, I’ll bet you’re a different person and in a different place from where you were a year ago, even if it’s not what you expected. And that’s not a bad thing. It just is.
Before the year is out, take some time to think back to what you’ve accomplished: big or small.
Think of the growth you went through and give yourself a fucking round of applause like they do at golf tournaments for being a fucking star. You deserve it.