I always forget to focus on progress

I tell people to focus on progress like it’s my jam, yet just recently found myself bereft because I forgot to do that same thing for myself. Here’s how it happened. There’s nothing like a New Year to make you take stock of what you’ve done, or what you haven’t done. See, I have a mentor I do goal setting with once a week. We both have our own list of projects, work, personal and spiritual goals we’re always checking in on. We keep each other thinking about our goals and accountable for action items. At times, we remind each other of things we’ve said or patterns we see, which is incredibly helpful for people who are always trying to do many things at once. Last year, we made a list of goals we wanted to accomplish, so naturally, I decided to look at this list over the holiday weekend to see how I did.

Better to be a work in progress than live in the same boring dysfunction

It’s not about the time, it’s about the progress. For example, if you want to say write a book, then efforts need to be made towards that goal. If you do no work on that book and a year later there’s no book, then there’s no one to blame but yourself. If a year later, there’s a book, or even an outline but no huge book deal, well, that’s a success. You’ve done the part you can control. To feel bad about the piece you can’t control is pointless. So, the truth is, I had made progress on all those goals. I’m closer to each one today

Am I closer today to those goals than I was a year ago, hell yeah tremendous progress has been made. My character defect is to only see what I haven’t accomplished–to punish myself over the things I can’t control. That is useless and insane. Working on changing this currently. The perspective I want to have is, wow, I accomplished a lot and am closer to all these goals. Yay for me! We’ll see how that initiative goes.

What can I do today that I couldn’t do a year ago?

This is the other perspective that brought me relief this week. I’m a constant improver, which means I’m always trying to get better. At everything. Improve my spiritual life, improve my health, physical being, recovery, relationships, and on and on. When I think about that, I’m overwhelmed with what I’ve accomplished this past year. I have improved my health. Seriously, I learned to drink water this year, improved my diet, and cut out so much processed food I shocked myself. And, what everyone says is true. You feel better when you eat right. I also got into the best physical shape I’ve been in since my spinal surgery a decade ago. That is an accomplishment too. Truth is, I did everything I said I would do on that goal list. I just didn’t get all the results I want.

The moral? Goals need to be things you can achieve on your own. The results are a whole other matter. The feeling of failure is not helpful when you feel bad about things that you can’t manage.

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Lindsey Glass

Lindsey Glass is the co-founder of Reach Out Recovery. Her 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World Of Recovery, has helped to lift the stigma from addiction and recovery and is used in recovery programs nationwide to show what life is like on the other side of addiction. Lindsey's teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, was distributed to PBS stations nationwide by American Public Television in 2014-15. Lindsey has written dozens of popular articles on recovery. She is a recovery advocate and frequent keynote speaker. Lindsey is the author of 100 Tips for Growing Up, My 20 Years of Recovery, 2019. Before focusing on recovery, Lindsey was a TV and screenwriter. She has worked in publishing, web development, and marketing.

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