Failure. Burnout. Feeling discouraged. Overwhelm. Setbacks. Overspending. Deadlines. Not enough time. Though these things are all part of your journey toward success and mostly inevitable at some point, they can still feel painful and fill you with anxiety and fear. How can you effectively overcome these often crippling emotions? Do you dwell on them? Take a step back? How do you encourage yourself to continue when your ultimate goal seems so far away?
There are several ways to get yourself back on track, but I’d like to focus on one highly effective technique today: taking an inventory of your successes and accomplishments. Yes, it will require a little bit of work and going back in time, so to speak, but you should do this periodically so that you remember how far you’ve already come as opposed to focusing entirely on how far you still have to go.
Although a great time to do a personal inventory is when you’re setting your goals or reworking your plan, you can do this at any point in time and take stock of what you have accomplished so far. It’s so easy to forget what you’ve achieved when you’re so focused on the future and what you want to accomplish in life. Although it’s good to focus on achieving your goals and working toward them each day, it is equally important to make sure you remember where you came from, where you began.
Why Looking Back is a Good Thing in This Case
Constantly looking ahead and being laser-focused on accomplishing your next task can feel exhausting. You may feel like you’re spinning your wheels sometimes; there’s always something else to do, always the next step in the process, always the next task to complete. It can feel endless, and that may cause you to get anxious, overwhelmed, or burn out. Your exhaustion may catch up with you or you may throw in the towel for a few days just so you can take a breather.
However, what you really need is some encouragement... inspiration and motivation to keep going. One of the most effective ways to do this is to look back and remember how far you’ve already come. You may feel like the entire mountain is still above you when really you’ve already scaled over half of it. Looking back can seem scary because you aren’t sure how far you’ve come, but it’s better to know and encourage yourself than to face your exhaustion and overwhelm without anything to balance it out.
Here are some questions you may choose to ask yourself when you look back at what you’ve accomplished:
· When this goal was just an idea, what was I doing instead?
· Was I happy doing that or did I start this journey partially because I needed a change?
· What are ten things I’ve done and succeeded at that pertain to achieving this goal?
· What are ten things I’ve learned since I began?
· What are ten things I can do now that I used to be afraid of or didn’t know how to do?
We like to think that we can’t look back at all because it’s discouraged as far as dwelling on negative past experiences goes. However, when you take a personal inventory of your accomplishments so far, in life or specifically for one goal, it’s different from dwelling on the negative. In fact, it can offer you encouragement and reignite your determination to keep going. This brings us full circle back to a previous post about perseverance; a personal inventory of your achievements can work wonders for keeping your perseverance fed, alive and kicking so you don’t feel tempted to give up... or give in to those feelings of overwhelm.
What have you accomplished so far in pursuit of your ultimate goal? What have you accomplished throughout your whole life? Over the last ten years? Twenty? Looking back at these achievements will help to propel you forward, so take some time this week to do just that... and defeat those feelings of overwhelm and burnout.