Especially in a year like 2020 when everything is in upheaval and we aren’t leaving our homes much, and we feel like things are static, it’s easy to think we didn’t get much done, and didn’t move our lives forward. But I respectfully suggest you probably got more done and made more progress than you think. Here’s why.
When you list all your accomplishments – and I do mean ALL – enumerating as much as possible, you realize how it all made a difference. This is a process I do myself and recommend to my coaching clients.
Look at the various components of your life, then, look at the through lines, which I’ll explain in a minute.
First, here are some examples of things to include in your accomplishments list:
Finances: What much did you earn – from any source? This includes payments from clients, your job, loans or lines of credit or grants (including from the government), real estate sold or rented. If you own stocks and bonds, include gains in those, and any bonuses or other unexpected payments you received. Did you credit score go up? Bravo! Include that. If you were paid to write an article or column, or to give any speeches, include those amounts and what from. How much did you reduce your credit card debt? Did you pay off a loan? Or Buy a new home or car? Include any donations you made too, even rounding up your grocery bill for a cause or donating clothes or books.
Career: Think about any new skills you learned (virtual meeting tools included!) and any new clients you obtained, or if you have a job, think about the projects you did, including new assignments or committees – and if you were promoted or got a new job. Count any new jobs you applied for; it’s an accomplishment because you put yourself out there (note any interviews for them, too). Were you a guest on someone’s podcast, TV show, webcast or news program or quoted in an article? Note those. Did you join a new board of directors, for-profit or nonprofit? Add that. If you pivoted your business to adapt to the covid economy, note that too. If you took any professional tests, such as the bar exam, GRE or GMAT or sat for your Ph.D. dissertation, or got new certifications, note those. (Also update your LinkedIn profile, résumé and bio and keep any links and clips.)
Professional relationships: You probably grew your network by attending a zillion virtual events, meetings or conferences you might not have otherwise been able to attend, so add those. If you gained new mentors, advisors or sponsors, include them. Did you take on any new mentees or interns or hire anyone? Add those, and include any new virtual assistants, graphic designers, videographers, consultants, bookkeepers, agents or coaches, too. If you took on a new business partner or collaborator, note that too. If your email list grew, count those. Even the number of followers you have now on social media.
Content created: Add any articles, blogs or columns you wrote and where they were published (paid or unpaid). Did you write some of a book, or a chapter for someone else’s book? Add that, or if a book you wrote got published or picked up by an agent or publisher. Did you create any courses, online or in-person, for a university or for sale online only, note that too. Include any videos or podcasts, webinars or webcasts you produced or hosted.
Personal relationships: All those virtual events and “parties” can help you make new friends, and so does volunteering to help others in some way. Add those. Did you enhance any family relationships, or get engaged or a new boyfriend or girlfriend, or go on dates (even virtually)? Add those. If you moved on from an unsatisfactory relationship, that’s an accomplishment too, because it moved you forward. Add any pets you adopted, too.
Health: Each of us can add surviving covid-19 to our accomplishments! Did you find a new exercise routine that doesn’t require going to the gym (to keep covid-safe)? Add that. You probably took walks. Maybe you went running or even took up yoga. Estimate how often and the miles you walked or ran, and any other exercise you do, like lifting weights or using resistance bands at home.
Personal development: You can say something like, “I learned a lot by…” and include how many books you read, courses you took (with or without earning certificates or degrees), the many webinars you probably attended. If you listen to podcasts, include those. If you met with a life coach or therapist, that’s an accomplishment too – it’s taking care of yourself. Did you spend time in nature? Include that too. (Normally, we would add trips taken, so if you did, add those, but I suspect the pandemic delayed those.) Maybe you learned to bake bread or new recipes.
Congratulations! You did all that!
Find the Throughline
Next, look for the connecting thread in all these accomplishments (besides having to stay home and do everything virtually). What do your projects, or job opportunities, have in common? Any particular topic or expertise? Which types did you pursue and which types were offered to you? What types of people stayed most active in your work and your personal life this year?
Notice what excited, interested or resonated with you most this year, which activities earned you the most income and enabled you to work with the people you enjoyed and learned from – and who supported you – the most.
Now, think about how those patterns might affect your goals and priorities for next year. Where do those breadcrumbs guide you?
This piece first appeared on https://www.forbes.com.