Personal Writing

Wrap up 2023 like a clock


Somehow we’re in the final days of the year, and I find myself reflecting on all I hoped to accomplish, all I thought I’d have checked off the list by now, all the surprises and disappointments, all the wins and losses. And the failure side is winning…BIG TIME!

Are you feeling that way, too?

Taking stock of a year is no easy feat.

Twelve months, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes…sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?

Shouldn’t we easily be able to accomplish all we need and want to in all those minutes, hours, days and months?

Turns out, often not so much.

It’s so easy to see where we failed and let ourselves and those we love down.

Perhaps this was the year you vowed to shake up some aspect of your life because you know you’ve been far too comfortable for far too long. And now you’re at December and you realize you’re exactly where you were this time last year—still too comfortable.

Maybe you’ve not just stayed comfortable but you’ve fallen backwards. You’ve put on weight, dropped healthy habits you’d adopted earlier, didn’t stand up for yourself in a relationship, allowed your schedule to be hijacked by others’ expectations of you and your time.

Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.

– Sam Levenson

What if there’s another way?

Before we all start to wallow up to our necks in this pity party, let me encourage you to consider a different approach to these last few weeks of 2023.

Every day for the rest of the year (that’s 29 days), wake up and actively consider 2-3 things you’ve done well, either the day before or throughout the year.

✓ Remembered to water your plants or drank enough of the ol’ H2O yourself? Great!

✓ Called a friend on her/his birthday instead of sending the obligatory, and somewhat meaningless, Facebook greeting? Super!

✓ Picked up a little trash while on a walk or at a park? Outstanding!

✓ Finished a book you’ve had on your nightstand for ages? Incredible!

✓ Made dinner at home when you could? Unbelievable!

✓ Meditated periodically? Good job!

✓ Went to bed when you were tired more often than not? Bravo!

✓ Told someone you love them? Inspiring!

✓ Said hello to a stranger when you passed her/him? Delightful!

✓ Cleared your cart or put down something you absolutely don’t need to buy? Wahoo!

✓ Held your tongue when someone said something political you disagree with because that wasn’t the time or place to start a fight? Touchdown!

✓ Held the door for the person behind you? Way to go!

✓ Let someone pass in front of you on the highway? Spectacular!

✓ Remembered your travel mug and reusable grocery bags more often than not? Glorious!

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. None of these are remotely groundbreaking, but collectively, whether you accomplished many or only a few, they prove you aren’t a loser. You haven’t failed this year. You are taking strides in the right direction, and you are moving forward.

But it’s so easy to discount these little wins when the big stuff feels so much more important.

Now, consider when someone did something small for you throughout the year. Held the door, said hello, let you merge into their lane. Those small things often made the difference between a bad and good day, didn’t they?

You have 29 days to re-frame your year and your role in it. Are you willing to take up the challenge and see where it gets you?

You already know how easy it is to berate yourself. Let me encourage you to try this approach and see if it doesn’t help you end your year feeling pretty darn good about it and looking ahead with joyful anticipation to what you will accomplish in the new year, too.

Those small moments and actions are actually where most of our lives are lived. And when we count the little steps, we can pretty easily see that we’ve traveled a far distance and accomplished great things. And that is extraordinary!

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *